CACOL Urges Buhari To Ensure Conviction Of Corrupt Leaders

CACOL Urges Buhari To Ensure Conviction Of Corrupt LeadersCivil society group, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) has called on President Buhari to establish a precedent in the ongoing anti-corruption fight.

The group made this request owing to the belief that a former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, has agreed to testify against the Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, and his aide, Mr Abiodun Agbele.

This is following the ongoing investigations by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) on the alleged mismanagement of funds meant for the procurement of arms for the Nigerian military, totaling $2.1bn.

CACOL said that it has been ardent with the development of this case and expects that Obanikoro’s purported stance would lead to convictions of those involved in the corruption act.

The Executive Chairman of CACOL, Mr Debo Adeniran, described the allegations as unpardonable and challenged the Buhari administration to establish widely expected precedent in the fight against corruption.

He said, “The embattled governor should surely have his day in court in the light of these revelations. But what has become more glaring by the day is that monies were illegally disbursed and misappropriated.

“These monies ought to have been used to combat the insurgency in Northern Nigeria but were diverted into the coffers of unscrupulous politicians. This selfish act has caused so much loss of lives taken by violence that could have been managed or averted.

“We expect an inimitable precedent to be established with these cases; whereby the long hands of the law will be seen to catch up with those who think themselves to be untouchable.

“It is quite unfortunate that there is still a section of the public who still perceive the anti-corruption fight of the current administration as ‘witch-hunt’ despite the numerous revelations made in the media by suspected corrupt persons.” Adeniran added.

The reports also suggest accused persons have been cooperative with the EFCC by giving them information and also returning stolen funds back to the government. However, CACOL believes the allegations made against Fayose’s aide are sufficient enough to ensure conviction.

Adeniran, continuing his statement, averred that, “The revelations have also debunked statements made by former President Goodluck Jonathan claiming that no ‘arms deal’ money was missing. We are watching and anticipating with high expectations on how these stories would be concluding.

“Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti state is under immunity, but this does not prevent his investigation as a serving governor, and at the end of his tenure in 2018 it is expected that he would be called to defend himself against these set of allegations.”

The anti-corruption crusader concluded by positing that “Nigerians have been taken for a ride for far too long. This is why we are urging the current Buhari administration to set a new precedent for things to be done differently by clamping down on all known corrupt persons who have plundered our commonwealth shamelessly and with impunity no matter how powerful, how influential or how crafty such persons may be.

“We are following these reports, we are not ignorant and we would not relent in our efforts to keep demanding that the anti-graft agencies present to the public convictions from the numerous allegations and petitions that have made the news in the past year.”

Corruption Allegations: SERAP Calls On UK Govt. To Extradite Alison-Madueke

SERAP, Alison-Madueke, Petroleum Minister, CorruptionCivil society group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has called on the UK authorities to “extradite Nigeria’s former Petroleum Minister, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke to face charges of corruption and money laundering.

Coming ahead of the International Anticorruption Summit in the UK, SERAP says the charges she is currently facing in UK court do not sufficiently capture the gravity of her alleged crimes, and the increasing allegations of corruption against her in Nigeria.

The request followed announcement during the week by the Central Bank of Nigeria that it was carrying out special investigations into the roles played by banks in certain financial transactions, especially the 23 billion Naira reportedly shared to officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by officials of the former President Goodluck Jonathan administration to influence the outcome of the last general elections.

According the SERAP Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, “The anticorruption summit in London provides an important opportunity for the UK government to support the ongoing fight against corruption in Nigeria, and to send a powerful message that the UK will not provide sanctuary or condone impunity for corrupt public officials.”

The statement reads: “As a state party to the UN Convention against Corruption, the UK government can use the convention as a basis for the extradition of Mrs Alison-Madueke back to Nigeria.

“We urge the Nigerian authorities to without delay submit a request to the UK authorities for the extradition of Mrs Alison-Madueke, explicitly making the point that Nigeria will guarantee her a due process-trial.

“If the UK refuses extradition request, Nigeria should consider submitting the matter for arbitration and if this cannot resolve the case, refer it to the International Court of Justice for adjudication. The Nigerian authorities should also consider filing a civil action against Mrs Alison-Madueke in the UK court.

“By sending Mrs Alison-Madueke back to her country, the UK will be sending a message that high-level official corruption will not go unpunished no matter where the suspected perpetrator hides and thus contribute to the fight against impunity for grand corruption. The UK indeed has an obligation to extradite Mrs Alison-Madueke through international cooperation and collaboration in good faith with Nigeria.

“We believe that effective prosecution in Nigeria is feasible, and this will bring justice closer to Nigerians who are direct victims of corruption. Extraditing Mrs Alison-Madueke back to Nigeria is equally important for allowing easier access to witnesses, evidence, victims of corruption; creating a deep connection between Nigerians and the impact of the trial; and empowering victims of corruption.”

“SERAP believes that there is probable cause that Mrs Alison-Madueke participated in the extraditable acts involving some banks in Nigeria, whether directly or indirectly. The allegations of corruption against her are strong enough for Prime Minister David Cameron to facilitate an extradition proceeding.

“The UK shouldn’t be a country of refuge for corrupt officials if it is to avoid a miscarriage of justice in high-level corruption cases. But if Mrs Alison-Madueke is not extradited, the UK will have a responsibility to amend her charges to include the fresh allegations against her and to try her on the merits under the UK laws as if she had committed the crimes there.

“Mr Cameron risks missing an ‘open goal’ unless he shows that the UK is unreservedly committed to seeking justice for victims of corruption, and international cooperation in the fight against corruption by urgently facilitating the extradition of Mrs Alison-Madueke to Nigeria so that she can explain her role in the continuing disclosure of allegations of corruption and money laundering involving several Nigerian banks which allegedly took place during her time in office as petroleum minister.

“SERAP is also concerned that UK banks continue to accept millions of pounds from corrupt Nigerian politicians. Without the complicity of these banks, it would be much harder for corrupt politicians including from Nigeria to loot public funds or accept bribes.

“Therefore, in order to meet the requirements of the UN Convention against Corruption, Mr Cameron will need to do more to reform and crack down on his country’s financial institutions that continue to provide safe havens for corrupt funds from Nigeria with almost absolute impunity.

“It’s also important for Mr Cameron to work towards improving judicial cooperation between Nigeria and the UK if stolen assets stashed in the UK are to be fully repatriated and if he is not to send a message that corrupt suspects can get away with their crimes without consequences.”

Groups Pledge To Ensure Buhari Fulfils Promises

Muhammadu Buhari APC Presidential candidateMembers of some civil society groups, say they will ensure that President Muhammadu Buhari fulfils his campaign promises to Nigerians.

The statement was made by the groups in reaction to President Buhari’s inaugural speech delivered in the eagles square in Abuja.

According to them, the President should walk the talk especially his promise to be a President for Nigeria and not for some individuals.

Security, economy and cross border cooperation to fight terrorism and other criminal activities took prominence in President Buhari’s inaugural speech at the eagle square.

A rights activist and the Head of Research, Youth Initiative for Advocacy Growth and Advancement, Samson Itodo, said his speech reflected his perfect understanding of some of the root causes of some challenges currently confronting Nigeria.

While some support the President’s decision to relocate the Army Service Command to Maiduguri, others wish such attention would be given to the power sector during his tenure.

Having been sworn in as Nigeria’s President, all eyes, including those of the international communities, are now on President Buhari’s administration and how he would deliver his promises to Nigeria.

Civil Society Group Tasks INEC On Campaign Financing

Campaign The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been asked to sanitise Nigeria’s electoral process, especially with regard to illegal expenditure by political parties.

Briefing journalists in Abuja, the Executive Director of the Centre for Social Justice, Mr Eze Onyekpere, condemned the inducement of voters by the campaign organisations and called for the prosecution of those found guilty.

He also urged INEC to investigate the alleged bribery of officials of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), sale of Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) by some Nigerians and continuing hate campaigns by politicians.

Punish those indicted in Ribadu’s report or face legal action, group tells FG

Civil society group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has called on the Federal Government to “publish the report of the Mallam Nuhu Ribadu led Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force and punish those indicted or face legal action.”

The organization in a public statement dated 11 November 2012 and signed by its Executive Director Adetokunbo Mumuni said that, “Rather than emphasising the fundamental principles highlighted and using the Ribadu report as a framework for further concrete action to combat impunity for corruption in the oil sector, the government has embarked on a widespread public campaign to rubbish the report of a task force that it voluntarily commissioned. This is hugely disappointing, and in fact has embarrassed our country in the comity of nations.”

According to the organization, “No report anywhere in the world is perfect but the way the government has conducted itself in this case suggests that it is not politically committed to honouring the country’s international anti-corruption obligations and commitments, including under the UN Convention against Corruption and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party.”

“The way and extent to which the government has gone to discredit the outcome of the enquiry by its own task force, however tentative the conclusions of the report may be, suggests that this government has something to hide,” the organization also stated.

“To combat systemic corruption and the root causes of impunity of perpetrators, we urge the government to urgently and publicly commit to the full and effective implementation of the Ribadu report and other similar reports. Verifying and reconciling some of the facts established by the report is good but must never be used as an excuse to dump it. Otherwise, it would be a case of using technicality to undermine the need for justice and accountability for the economic crimes well documented by the report,” the organization also said.

“If this government fails to publish the Ribadu report and allow the citizens to see for themselves the information the report contains, our citizens will be absolutely justified to conclude that the government’s constant resort to setting up committees and task forces to supposedly uncover the truth about corruption allegations is nothing more than a public relation exercise,” the organization further stated.

According to the organization, “Instead of keeping Nigerians in the dark on the recommendations of the report and information about those indicted, the government needs to speak out urgently if it is to demonstrate that it is truly committed to the fight against not just corruption involving the ‘small fry’ but also corruption involving the ‘big fish’ at the highest level of government.”

The organization also said that, “While the government has strenuously faulted the report in terms of the process allegedly followed, it has not been forthcoming with information as to exactly which aspects of the substantive conclusions it disagrees with it. Does the government disagree with the fact that Shell is yet to pay into the Federation Account a total of N137.572 billion ($946.878 million) made from gas sales from the Bonga oil field? Or that the Federation Account has been short-changed of revenues to the tune of $29 billion over a 10 year period?”

“Unfortunately, the government’s reaction to the Ribadu report illustrates the chronic failure or lack of enthusiasm and commitment by the government to implement recommendations of reports of countless commissions and task forces concerning allegations of corruption at the highest level of government,” the organization also stated.

According to the organization, “A public commitment to implement the report will send a powerful message that this government will not tolerate corruption at the highest level of government, and will represent an important step forward in the government’s fight against corruption and corporate secrecy and impunity. This public commitment backed up with a strong political will is key to breaking the cycle of corruption that blights the lives of millions of people across the country.”

“If the government refuses to take this path, SERAP will consider appropriate legal actions nationally and internationally to ensure strict enforcement of Nigeria’s international anticorruption and human rights obligations and commitments by compelling the government to explain to the Nigerian people the recommendations contained in the Ribadu report and other similar reports (such as the KPMG report and the reports on the $180 million Halliburton bribe scandal), and what the government’s plans are to effectively implement these reports,” the organization further stated.

It would be recalled that the Ribadu committee, set up in February, after nationwide protests over the attempted removal of fuel subsidies, was asked to verify the government’s income from oil and gas, and make recommendations to the government. Apart from the Ribadu report, the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative reports, the first covering the period 1999 to 2004, the second 2005, and the third 2006 to 2008, and the House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on fuel subsidy, also revealed how oil revenues had been stolen at both upstream and downstream ends of the oil trade.  NEITI, for instance, disclosed that the Federal Government earned a total of $269 billion from the oil sector within the period 1999-2008, which had little impact on the welfare of the citizens.

A new report by the Financial Times alleges that over 180,000 barrels of stolen Nigerian crude are sold daily in the international black market. Apart from the N86.6 billion fleeced by NNPC executives through fraudulent foreign exchange rate conversion, the Ribadu panel detailed losses to the nation of N16 trillion through questionable deficits and theft; N178 billion worth of refined fuel through pipeline vandalism; $5 billion short-payment by the NNPC, and $3.02 billion in unpaid royalties among other sordid details. NEITI had earlier revealed how NNPC officials and their collaborators fraudulently misused the 445,000 bpd allocated for domestic refining for corrupt enrichment and how laws and global best practices are flagrantly flouted by the corporation.