SERAP Asks FG To Investigate Privatisation Corruption Allegations
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, (SERAP) has sent an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari requesting him to revisit allegations of corruption in the privatisation of public enterprises in Nigeria between 1999-2011.
The group in a statement on Sunday said President Buhari should refer the corruption allegation to the anti-graft agencies, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for further investigation.
In the letter signed by its Executive Director, Adetokumbo Mumuni, the organisation urged the president to reform the Bureau of Public Enterprise, to remove opportunities for corruption in privatisation process, and to instruct the EFCC and ICPC to ensure the recovery of proceeds of corruption.
The group claims that many cases of presidential directives/interference during the period under review (1999-2011) affected the process of core investor selection.
“The BPE was negligent and ineffective in the monitoring of privatised companies. In some cases, BPE never monitored the companies for the entire lock-in period and in other cases, their reports were a complete opposite of what was on the ground.
“It is in the public interest that any sales of public assets will get the best value but the Senate report shows exactly the opposite. By revisiting the privatisation process and referring the allegations of corruption documented in the report to the EFCC and ICPC, your government would be demonstrating that it’s willing and able to fight impunity of perpetrators of corruption, which is responsible for legacy of grand corruption and abuse of office in the country,” the statement read in part.
SERAP claims that a total sum of N301billion was realised as proceeds of privatisation from 1999 to 2011.
“N900 million of that was used as loan to Nigeria Re-insurance Plc for recapitalisation, in violation of section 19(2) of the Public Enterprises (Privatisation and Commercialisation) Act 1999. Folio Communications Limited pledged the assets of Daily Times Nigeria Plc to obtain a loan from bank(s) and utilised the loan to pay for the share of the company.”
The group then threatened to begin a legal proceeding to compel the government to act if President Buhari does not take the requested action within 14 days of receipt of the letter.