Nigeria Whistleblowers To Get Part Of Recovered Loot

Kemi Adeosun on Whistle Blowing Programme The Federal Executive Council in Nigeria on Wednesday approved a Whistle Blowing Programme to check improper activities and aid the fight against corruption.

The programme by the Ministry of Finance is designed to encourage anyone with information about a violation, misconduct or improper activity that impacts negatively on the Nigerian people and government to report it.

According to the Ministry there is a reward for persons that will give relevant information under the programme.

Briefing reporters on the nature of the programme after the Council’s meeting on Wednesday, minister of finance Mrs Kemi Adeosun, said “any person who voluntarily discloses information in good faith about a possible misconduct or violation that has occurred, is ongoing, or is about to occur will receive a certain amount of financial reward from 2.5 to five per cent of the amount recovered”.

whitle-blowing-programme-in-nigeria
The Nigerian government promises a reward for anyone that will give information on the portal provided for the Whistle Blowing Programme

She says a secure online portal will be opened where the information can be submitted

“It encourages anyone with information about the violation of government regulations, mismanagement of public funds, assets frauds, financial malpractice and other associated conduct to report it.

“It covers disclosure of information leading to the return of Nigeria’s stolen or concealed funds and assets.

“Anyone who has already submitted information can also check the status of his report on the portal,” she said.

Mrs Adeosun told reporters that the programme was in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General of the Federations and would be backed by a law to be enacted by the National Assembly.

According to her, the whistle blower would be protected against sanctions and would be accommodated under a reward scheme should the whistle blower be sacked from office as a result of the information provided.

Since President Muhammadu Buhari took over office in 2015 he has left no one in doubt that he is out to fight corruption in Nigeria.

Council members were said to have supported the programme which kicks off as a stop gap until the National Assembly comes up with a law to back the fight against corruption in the country.

Many concerned Nigerians are, however, waiting to see who will be blow the first whistle.

The Council also approved an emergency repair work on the Tamburawa Bridge in Kano which has been in a state of disrepair as well as continuation of work on the second Niger Bridge in the south east.

Lai Mohammed Defends FG’s Anti-Corruption Drive

Lai Mohammed, CorruptionAs the Federal Government’s anti-corruption fight comes under intense criticisms, the Minister of Information, Mr Lai Mohammed, has blamed corruption for Nigeria’s recession.

Mr Mohammed also insisted that the measures taken by the government were within the ambit of the law.

Speaking at a forum in Abuja on Thursday where the arrest of some judges was addressed, the Minister defended the action.

A former Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Obadiah Mailafia, also acknowledged that the cost of corruption has brought unimaginable consequences.

He, however, noted that there should be a balance and urged the government to provide a clear blueprint for economic revival alongside the war against corruption.

A former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr Nuhu Ribadu and a member of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Advisory Committee, Femi Odejide, also gave their view on the corruption fight.

Buhari Expresses Worry Over Delayed Corruption Cases

Corruption CasesPresident Muhammadu Buhari has expressed worry over what he calls the delay of corruption cases before various courts across the country.

The President, on Monday called the attention of Nigerians to deferred corruption cases in his speech, during the anti-corruption summit in Abuja, on the role of judges in the fight against corruption.

He said that the expectation of the Nigerian public was yet to be met with regards to the removal of delayed cases filed before the courts.

President Buhari noted that it was unfortunate that the courts were tolerating delay by defense lawyers in the various cases of corruption filed by the government.

“This needs to change if we are to make success of our collective efforts  in the fight against corruption,” he said.

Buhari-Judiciary-Summit

He raised concerns that no corruption case before any Nigerian court was progressing as it should, despite the provisions of the administration of Criminal Justice Act, which has made provisions for speedy trial.

The President observed that when cases are not concluded, it sends a negative message that corruption pays.

On his part, the Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, said that the judiciary was aware of its responsibility but noted that the job of winning the war on corruption does not rest with the judiciary alone.

The former President of the Commonwealth Judges and Magistrate Association, Hon. Justice John Vertes, who was the guest speaker, said that judicial and political corruption work together to affect societies.

It is therefore important that all arms of government play their role in ensuring that the country does not suffer because of corruption.

Buhari-Judiciary

Discrepancies In Saraki’s Assets At CCT As Tribunal Adjourns

Senate President, Bukola SarakiThere was a heated argument at the Code of Conduct Tribunal over the ownership of a property allegedly bought by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, from the Federal Government.

Senator Saraki is standing trial for alleged false declaration of assets.

Under cross-examination at the proceedings on Wednesday, the prosecution witness, Mr Michael Wetkas, told the Tribunal that the property sold to the Senate President was privately owned.

This was contrary to the claim by the witness that the property was bought from the Presidential Implementation Committee for the Sales of Government Property.

However, the witness while on further cross-examination maintained that from the letters his team received from the Presidential Committee on Sales of Federal Government Houses and the Lagos Land Registry the Property indicated to be on MacDonald Street in Ikoyi, Lagos was number 15 MacDonald Street and Block 1 and not number 15 A and B which was declared by the Senate President in his asset declaration form.

He testified that from his investigation he was able to establish that number 15A MacDonald Street, Ikoyi was the same as number 15 and house 15 flat 1 to 4.

He was then told to read the letter by a second bidder on the property on 15 MacDonald Street, Ikoyi, one Energy Marine Limited

According to the letter, the company pointed out to the then Minister of Works and Housing and the Presidential Committee on the Sales of Federal Government Property that besides the land on ground being different front the measurement on paper, the numbering of the houses were ambiguous.

The letter showed that the property was labelled number 15A and B MacDonald Street, Ikoyi, Lagos, behind another number 15 and as such there would be need to make clarifications.

He admitted that as investigators, they did not invite Energy Marine Limited, the second bidder to explain the letter.

He also admitted that he had seen the letter before now while he said he did not visit the property to clarify the discrepancies.

When asked if based on the letters he went to inspect the discrepancies, he said other members of the investigation team visited MacDonald Street and reported to him.

He also said the report was verbal and that “when the other witnesses in the case take a stand, they will be in a better position to explain”.

When one of the judges of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, William Atedze, asked him how he came to the conclusion that number 15 and block 15 MacDonald Street, Ikoyi, were the same as number 15A and B as declared in the asset of the defendant, he said although he was not conversant with how houses were numbered, as an investigator, he relied on the reports from the Lagos Land Registry and the Presidential Committee which listed the houses as number 15 and block 15 MacDonald Street Ikoyi .

In comments about the day’s sitting, the prosecutor accused the defense of deliberately trying to delay the trial, decrying the way and manner he was handling the cross-examination.

But the defence disagree with him.

The Tribunal then adjourned till May 17 for the defence to continue the cross-examination of the prosecution witness.

Buhari Urges World Bank To Hasten Return Of Stolen Funds

Muhammadu Buhari and Sri Indrawati of the World Bank on Stolen FundsNigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday urged the World Bank to do all within its powers to facilitate the speedy repatriation to Nigeria’s of stolen funds still being held by Swiss authorities.

At a meeting with the visiting Managing Director of the World Bank, Ms. Sri Indrawati, President Buhari said that the repatriation of the additional $320 million in Switzerland, which had been identified as illegally taken from Nigeria under the Abacha administration, would help to ease the nation’s current economic hardship.

The President assured Ms Indrawati that his administration was taking appropriate steps to ensure that public funds were no longer stolen or misappropriated by government officials.

“We need the support of the World Bank for the repatriation of the funds.

“We are as concerned as the World Bank about accountability. If such repatriated funds have been misapplied in the past, I assure you that the same will not happen with us.

“Three hundred and twenty million dollars is a lot of money and we will not allow it to be misappropriated or diverted,” President Buhari told Ms. Indrawati.

Muhammadu Buhari Sri Indrawati world Bank Director
Sri Indrawati assured President Muhammadu Buhari of the World Bank’s support in the fight against corruption

Swiss Authorities Conditions

One of the conditions given by the Swiss Authorities for the repatriation of the funds is that it should be expended on the implementation of social programmes for the benefit of the Nigerian people in an efficient and accountable way, guaranteed by the monitoring of the World Bank.

A statement by the President’s spokesman, Mr Garba Shehu, said President Buhari also assured the World Bank Managing Director that his administration would honour all agreements with the Bank that would help to stimulate Nigeria’s economy and reduce the level of poverty.

He said that Nigeria would welcome greater international assistance for the rehabilitation of damaged homes, schools, health facilities and other infrastructure in the North Eastern states affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.

Ms Indrawati told President Buhari that the World Bank was ready to use its knowledge, expertise and resources to help Nigeria achieve faster growth and development.

“We will strongly support you to create jobs and ensure prosperity in Nigeria,” the World Bank Managing Director assured President Buhari.

She also expressed the World Bank’s full support for the war against corruption being waged by the Buhari Administration.

Buhari Says Anti-corruption Fight Will Secure Youths’ Future

Nigerian YouthsPresident Muhammadu Buhari has assured Nigerian youths that the ongoing anti-corruption campaign would secure their future.

The Nigerian leader gave the assurance while addressing members of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), who marched to the Presidential Villa to pledge their full support for the anti-corruption campaign.

President Buhari spoke through his Special Adviser on Media and , Mr Femi Adesina.

He promised to do his best to place Nigeria well on the way to becoming the nation of their dreams.

The President’s spokesman said: “The youths would feel it, the adults will feel it and old people will feel it… and Nigeria will become the country of our dreams”.

Mr Adesina later received a document addressed to President Buhari from the NANS President, Comrade Tijani Usman Shehu and he promised that the President would look into their requests.

President Buhari had, during his campaign, reiterated his commitment to tackling corrupt practices in Nigeria, saying that ‘corruption will kill Nigeria if it (corruption) is not killed’.

Since he took over office on May 29, the anti-corruption campaign had become more biting with an anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, making several arrests.

 

Nigerian Lawyers Pledge Support For Buhari’s Anti-corruption Fight

NBAThe Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) has promised to work with President Muhammadu Buhari to stamp out corruption.

While briefing reporters on Friday, after a meeting of the association held in Abuja, the President of the NBA, Mr Augustine Alegeh, said that the decision was part of the resolutions reached by the bar association at the end of its 55th Annual General Meeting.

According to Mr Alegeh, the issues discussed by the association at the meeting include corruption and the petroleum sub-sector of the economy.

When the NBA conference was declared open on Sunday, President Buhari urged lawyers to use their profession to help ensure justice in Nigeria and the success of the fight against corruption.

Apart from the issues of corruption, the lawyers also pushed for a quick amendment and passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill and removal of Fuel Subsidy.

The 55th Annual General Conference of the NBA deliberated on several issues including corruption, funding of the judiciary and the petroleum industry.

It is hoped that the resolutions reached would create the desired reforms that were canvassed during the conference.

FG Not Doing Enough To Stop Corruption – U.S. Diplomat

The United States Assistant Secretary of State, African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield has berated the level of corruption in Nigeria with the view that the political class is not doing enough to stop it.

Speaking on the Saturday edition of Channels Television’s breakfast programme, ‘Sunrise’, Ms Greenfield said “This is something that embarrasses all Nigerians, I know.”

“Given the fact that corruption has been pervasive in Nigeria for so many years; I think additional political will is required to address the issue.”

Probed further by Anchor, Kayode Akintemi, she said whatever effort that is currently being made by the Nigerian government “is not cutting it, and it is not cutting it in many places in Africa, not just in Nigeria, and it is a deterrent to investments coming into this country.”

“I know that there are people who want to invest but they changed their minds because they get pushed in a different direction because of corruption.”

She went on to state examples of corrupt practises ongoing in Nigeria, that the US government is aware of, stating that it was a conversation that the US government has had with Nigeria for many years that Nigeria ought to be “the African tiger in terms of economic growth” but one thing that is holding it back is corruption.

She stressed that she knew Nigeria quite well, having been studying the country since her first visit in 1978, in addition to her experience in foreign service on the African continent, and corruption had always been an issue.

Ms Greenfield added that the issues of corruption are not for the American government to deal with on behalf of Nigeria, but the country would have to make its own efforts.

Transparency Int’l ranks Nigeria 35th most corrupt country

Contrary to the Federal Government’s position on winning the fight against corruption, Nigeria has been ranked the 35th most corrupt country in the world, according to the 2012 report by Transparency International on global corruption.

In the report released today, Nigeria scored 27 out of a maximum 100 marks to clinch the 139th position out of the 176 countries surveyed for the report. It shared that position with Azerbaijan, Kenya, Nepal and Pakistan while Countries such as Togo, Mali, Niger and Benin fared better than Nigeria.

Last year’s report placed Nigeria 143rd, making it the 37th most corrupt country. However, when compared with this year’s result, it is difficult to say whether Nigeria has recorded any significant improvement.

According to the report, this year’s index ranks 176 countries/territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption. The index draws on 13 surveys covering expert assessments and surveys of business people.

The Corruption Perceptions Index is the leading indicator of public sector corruption, offering a yearly snapshot of the relative degree of the corruption problem by ranking countries from all over the globe.

The organization has urged governments to integrate anti-corruption actions into all aspects of decision-making and prioritize better rules on political financing, make public spending and contracting more transparent, and make public bodies more accountable.

 

Court grants Gbenga Daniel bail

An Ogun state High Court sitting in Abeokuta on Monday granted bail to former governor of the state, Gbenga Daniel who is standing trial for misappropriation of N200 million, criminal breach of trust and abuse of office.

Mr Daniel was re-arraigned on money after the charges against him were quashed by the court due to a shabby prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
After pleading not guilty to the 38 counts, the defence and prosecuting counsels argued for and against granting bail to the accused person.

Tayo Oyetibo, who represented the former governor, told the court that the most important criteria for bail were the assurance that the defendant will be available in court for his trial.
He added that baıl is a constitutional right of an accused person and as such should not be denied if defendant has shown that he would be available for trial.

The prosecuting counsel and lawyer representing the EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs, argued against the bail application on several grounds one of which is the safety of prosecution witnesses against the background of alleged fears that the defendant has a killer squad. He said the fact that a bail was granted by the court to the accused before does not mean that it will apply to the present application.

He said even if the court eventually grants bail, it should be with a very tough condition. “We urge your Lordship to exercise your discretion in the interest of Justice. We oppose the bail and if your Lordship will grant bail, it should be with stringent conditions.” Mr Jacobs said.

The former governor was later granted bail by the Presiding judge, Justice Olarenwaju Mabekoje in the sum of N500 million and two sureties in like sum.

The Judge demanded that the sureties for the former governor must possess landed properties in Ogun state and must deposit the title documents of the properties with the registrar of the court.

Mr Daniel and his sureties are to deposit two passport photographs with the court, while the defendant’s international passport is to remain in the custody of the EFCC.

Anti graft agency to partner UBEC on fight against corruption

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), is to partner with the Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, to engage school children across the country in its fight against corruption.

The chairman of the EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Lamorde, said the initiative involved supporting selected schools with N1 million each to execute self-help projects to impact on their environment.

“The youth are a veritable ally in the anti-corruption crusade and must be taken along right from their early stages. Thus we have taken steps to involve them in the fight through various programmes that have been initiated by the Commission one of which is the establishment of integrity groups across schools”, he said.

While congratulating the benefitting schools, Lamorde added that the primary role of these clubs was to build future leaders with integrity, honesty, patriotism, and high moral values as a basis for social change in Nigeria.

On his part, the representative of UBEC and Director, Social Mobilisation in the Commission, Ibrahim Sulaiman informed the EFCC that the self- help project is a World Bank- funded initiative that began in 2002 and which has so far intervened in over 20,000 schools across the Federation.

The Director further said that the N1million given to the schools was to encourage the communities where these schools are cited to own the projects, because only schools with broad -based management committees that involve the community benefit from the scheme.
The eleven schools that have benefitted so far from the N1 Million scheme are: Model Highway School,Calabar; Edo College, Benin City; Oyemekun Grammar School, Akure; Community Secondary School, Wadata, Benue State; Government Secondary School Akwanga, Nassarawa State; Government Junior Secondary School Kurmin Mashi , Kaduna State; Government Girls Secondary School, Wammako, Sokoto; Model Secondary School, Donga, Taraba State; Government Technical College, Abakaliki; Queen’s School 1, Enugu and Mashafa Community School, Abuja