ACN moves to impeach Jonathan over bribery allegations

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) on Tuesday asked the National Assembly to commence impeachment proceedings against Nigeria President, Goodluck Jonathan, having admitted openly that he solicited a bribe from a foreign construction company, in violation of the Constitution that he swore to uphold.

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) wants the National Assembly to impeach the President, Goodluck Jonathan for requesting and accepting bribe.

In a statement issued in Abuja by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party said commencing the impeachment proceedings will enable the National Assembly to investigate the matter and also reach the appropriate conclusions.

“To know the gravity of the President’s self admission of soliciting the church ‘gift’ from the Managing Director of Gitto Construzioni Generali Nigeria Limited (GCG), one needs to understand Section 6 of the Code of Conduct for Public officers embodied in the First Schedule of the 1999 Constitution and the Code of Conduct and Tribunal Act (CAP C15) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

“The Act states: ‘A public officer shall not ask for or accept any property or benefits of any kind for himself or any other person on account of anything done or omitted to be done by him in the discharge of his duties.

“For the purposes of subsection (1) of this subsection, the receipt by a public officer of any gifts or benefits from commercial firms, business enterprises or persons who have contracts with the Government shall be presumed to have been received in contravention…unless the contrary is proved’,” it said.

ACN said by his improper and unfortunate action, Mr Jonathan has undermined the country’s fight against corruption and put Nigeria’s democracy in jeopardy.

“Gitto has obtained billions of contracts from the Nigerian government, amid reported allegations in the media that it has not executed such contracts well. How can the federal government hold the company to account, when it (the construction company) has obtained an ”insurance cover” by bribing the President? Is this not why the country’s anti-corruption efforts have not achieved anything? Can the EFCC and the ICPC honestly and boldly fight corruption when the President is knee-deep in the mud of corruption?” the ACN asked.

The party said by openly and gleefully saying, at the inauguration of the church at his Otuoke hometown, that ”the managing director of Gitto made him a promise to build and donate the church to Otuoke community after he (the president) had complained of the aging structure of his church,” the President has demonstrated that he is either not conversant with the Constitution he swore to uphold or thinks very little of the laws of the land. ”Either way, he should be held accountable for his deeds,” it said.

ACN said it would amount to wishful thinking to expect the country’s anti-corruption agencies to probe President Jonathan’s admission of soliciting and receiving bribery, hence the call on the National Assembly to handle the issue.

The party warned that ongoing attempts to twist the facts and make it seem as if the President did not solicit the bribe will not work, as Nigerians are too smart to be hoodwinked.

“If the President and his supporters deny that he indeed solicited the bribe – as he admitted at the inauguration of the church – we challenge the presidency to play – on national radio and television – the unedited audio and video recording of his speech at the occasion for all Nigerians to hear and see. Experts must also be called in to verify that the tape has not been tampered with in any way,” the party said.

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, (SERAP) had on earlier on Tuesday petitioned the EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde, demanding investigation of alleged donation of a 2, 500-seater church to Mr Jonathan by Gitto Construzioni Generali Nigeria Limited (GCG).

In a letter to the EFCC Chairman, dated April 2, and signed by SERAP’s Executive Director Adetokunbo Mumuni, the organisation asked the anti-graft agency to probe Gitto.

It alleged that the donation was a breach of national anti-corruption legislation and the UN Convention against Corruption.

The Anglican Church building donated to President Goodluck Jonathan by Gitto Construzioni General Nigeria Limited in Otuoke Bayelsa State.
President Goodluck Jonathan, his wife Patience and the Bayelsa state governor, Seriki Dickson during the dedication of the 2,500-seat church building in his home town, Otuoke; the building was donated to him by Gitto Construzioni Generali Nigeria Limited (GCG).

SERAP asks EFCC to investigate Gitto’s church building gift to Jonathan

The Socio-Economic and Accountability Project (SERAP) on Monday asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commissions (EFCC) to investigate the allegations that an Abuja-based Italian construction company gave a church building to the Nigeria Pressident, Goodluck Jonathan as a gift.

President Goodluck Jonathan, his wife Patience and the Bayelsa state governor, Seriki Dickson during the dedication of the 2,500-seat church building in his home town, Otuoke; the building was donated to him by Gitto Construzioni Generali Nigeria Limited (GCG).

In a press statement signed by SERAP’s Executive director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, the organisation said it “petitioned Mr Ibrahim Lamorde, Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) urging him to “urgently begin a thorough, transparent and effective investigation into allegations that the Abuja-based Italian construction company, Gitto Construzioni Generali Nigeria Limited (GCG) gave to President Goodluck Jonathan as ‘gift’ a 2,500-seat church building in Otuoke, his village in Bayelsa State.”

In a petition SERAP sent to the EFCC Chairman, Mr Mumuni said “We are seriously concerned that given the huge sum of money involved and the timing of the church building ‘gift’, the acts may amount to a bribe to the government by a construction company that has sought and obtained huge contracts from the federal government.”

“Procurement and investment agreements corrupted by this kind of ‘gift’ invariably lead to increased costs not only in higher prices but also in needlessly expanded and ultimately inefficient projects,” he added.

He said “Both the acts of giving and accepting the disguised bribe undermine the institutions and values of democracy, ethical values and justice, and jeopardises sustainable development and the rule of law. The acts also hurt the government and ordinary Nigerians who may suffer as a result of bad execution of projects by GCG.”

According to SERAP, “the allegations violate Section 6 of the Code of Conduct for Public officers embodied in the First Schedule of the 1999 Constitution and the Code of Conduct and Tribunal Act (CAP C15) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, which provides that, “A public officer shall not ask for or accept any property or benefits of any kind for himself or any other person on account of anything done or omitted to be done by him in the discharge of his duties. The allegations also constitute a breach of national anti-corruption legislation and the UN Convention against Corruption to which Nigeria is a party.”

The organization also asked the EFCC to “exert its mandate, power, and resources to ensure that the allegations are fully and effectively investigated the findings of the investigation published and the company and other suspected perpetrators held liable.”

“Foreign bribery is a crime even if the briber would have been awarded a contract or business advantage. It is therefore very important that the Commission sends a strong message that it is willing and able to step up its efforts to detect, investigate and prosecute cases of bribery in international business deals,” the organization added.

Read SERAP’s petition to EFCC here.

Last months, local media reported that Mr Jonathan confirmed during the dedication of the 2,500-seat church building in his home town, Otuoke in Bayelsa state that the building was donated to him by Gitto Construzioni Generali Nigeria Limited (GCG).

According to him, the Managing Director of Gitto made him a promise to build and donate the church to Otuoke community after he had complained of the aging structure of his church, which apparently no longer befits the status of the president’s village.

Gitto construction is a company stained with controversies in the areas it operates, it is facing allegations of destroying properties in Eket (Akwa Ibom) without compensating the property owners, as well as abandoning the Bodo-Bonny road in Bayelsa.

Also, only recently a group of lawmakers in the National Assembly have called on Mr Jonathan to review the N 58.6 billion contract awarded Gitto for the Second Niger bridge.

All these developments are fueling speculations that the church was built in order to give Gitto construction a smooth landing as the President reviews their contracts.