The African Union (AU) says it has suspended seven members of the Economic, Social, and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) over alleged misconduct.
In a statement on its website, the organisation said the affected members, including two Nigerians – Tunji Asaolu and John Oba – were suspended after they were found to have committed misconduct and breached its legal norms.
Others suspended include Abozer Elmana (Sudan), Abdurrahman Mokhtar (Libya), Roll Ngomat (Gabon), El Hacene Mbareck (Mauritania), and Shem Ochuodho (Kenya).
Read the full statement from the AU below:
The African Union Commission (‘the Commission’) hereby makes reference to the investigation conducted by the Office of Internal Oversight (010), pursuant to Executive Council Decision EX.CUDec. 1115(XXXVlll) of February 2021, paragraph (ii) which requested “The Commission to conduct an independent investigation by the relevant Department of the Commission into current and future alleged violations of the African Union Code of Ethics and Conduct by members of the ECOSOCC General Assembly, and to recommend appropriate sanctions through the Bureau of the Chairperson of the Commission.
Having complied with the due process of law, whereby the subjects of investigation were given a right to be heard in relation to the allegations levelled against them, the Investigation Report of the 010 made findings of misconduct/infringement of AU legal norms (violation of Rule 8 of the Rules of Procedure of ECOSOCC and provisions of the AU Code of Ethics and Conduct) against the following subjects of investigation:
Abozer Elligai Elmana, Sudanese
Abdurrahman Mokhtar, Libyan
Roll Stephane Ngomat, Gabonese
El Hacene Abdallah Bah Mbareck, Mauritanian
Tunji Asaolu, Nigerian
John Oba, Nigerian
Shem Ochuodho, Kenyan
The above-listed subjects of investigation have been implicated in the following misconducts as specified:
Abuse of authority/office and unlawful signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) with third parties on behalf of AU ECOSOCC (Mr. Abozer Elligai, Mr. Roll Ngomat and Mr. Abdurrahman Mokhtar;
Illegal convening of the General Assembly and destabilization of ECOSOCC (Mr. Ngomat, Mr. Mokhtar, Dr. Mbareck, Dr. Shem Ochuodho & members of the Group of Eight).
Misuse of ECOSOCC letterheads, logo, and stamp/seal (Mr. Abozer, Mr. Ngomat, and Mr. Mokhtar).
Illegal appointment of Ms. Evelyn Joe by Dr. El Hacene Mbareck as an AU ECOSOCC Global African Diaspora Forum on Migration and Development in Washington DC.
Illegal opening of a bank account in the name of ECOSOCC (UBA: AU ECOSOCC PROJECTS, Account No: 1022334209) in Nigeria (Dr. Tunji Asaolu).
Illegal signing of an MOU with DROMI, a Nigerian-based NGO, and another MOU with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs of Nigeria, on behalf of ECOSOCC (Dr. Tunji Asaolu)
Illegal appointment by Mr. John Oba of Mr. Otunba Wanle Akinboye, the President of Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort in Nigeria as an AU-ECOSOCC Advisor on Culture and Tourism.
The improper behavior of Dr. Sheri Ochuodho as a member of ECOSOCC, which conduct is in violation of Article 8 (1) of the ECOSOCC Rules of Procedure and section 4 (1) and (2) of the AU Code of Ethics and Conduct.
Based on the findings of the Investigation Report of the Office of Internal Oversight, the above-listed subjects of investigation have been suspended immediately and indefinitely as members of ECOSOCC, in compliance with the Decision of the Executive Council (EX.CL/Dec.1143(XL)), in which it was decided in relation to the Investigation Report on ECOSOCC members by the Office of Internal Oversight, wherein the Executive Council directed the AUC Chairperson “To expedite actions to prevent further damage on reputation and asset of the Union including; to immediately and indefinitely suspend individuals found to have committed misconducts or any breach of AU legal norms including the infringement of AU Intellectual Property Rights and act of forgery. ”
Accordingly, the Commission wishes to advise that the above-listed subjects of investigation cannot represent ECOSOCC in any capacity nor take part in the activities of the African Union and all its organs/institutions during the period of suspension.
In compliance with Rule 8 of the Rules of Procedure of ECOSOCC, the matter shall be referred to the disciplinary committee of ECOSOCC to inquire into their conduct and determine the appropriate sanctions to be imposed upon them.
The investigation by the 010 was conducted pursuant to Executive Council decision EX. CUDec. 1115(XXXVlll) of February 2021, paragraph 3(ii) which requested “The Commission to conduct an independent investigation by the relevant Department of the Commission into current and future alleged violations of the African Union Code of Ethics and Conduct by members of the ECOSOCC General Assembly, and to recommend appropriate sanctions through the Bureau of the Chairperson of the Commission, and also pursuant to the Assembly decision Assembly/AU/Dec.757(XXXlll) of February 2020 which directed the Commission ” ..to continue to take effective actions to address all acts of misconduct in the African Union, and to use his financial and administrative statutory oversight authority over all non-Policy Organs and Institutions of the Union, including the Pan-African Parliament, the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights, the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights, and their elected officials.