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Monday, 24 June 2013

Gov. Okorocha revokes contract of contractor who claimed to have given him N24 million bribe

by Stanley Azuakola
The Imo state government has now officially revoked the N1.3 billion contract awarded to Noutouch Global Ventures Limited for the construction of a seven-floor Modern State Judiciary Headquarters.
In a statement issued on Saturday, June 22, 2013,  in Owerri, capital of Imo State, the state government said it was forced to take the action because the commissioner for Lands, Survey, Housing and Urban Development, Uche Nwosu, was dissatisfied with the performance of the contractor who allegedly abandoned the job after collecting N224 million as mobilization.
Only last week, Gov. Okorocha visited the site and expressed displeasure that the building which was billed to be delivered in April 2013 was still at its foundation level even though the contractor had been mobilised. But in a swift reaction, the managing director of Noutouch Global Ventures, Dr. Osita Okereke, blamed the state government for the delay in the execution of the project, stating that the government had agreed to pay 40 percent upfront as stipulated in the contract agreement, but the governor did not comply with that, instead, he paid 15 percent totalling about N168 million. This is different from the N224 million figure which the government claims to have paid.
Furthermore, Okereke alleged that Gov. Okorocha had demanded and received a gratification of N24 million out of the N168 million which the government paid.
“After all this, it will be callous and inhuman for the governor to visit the site and threaten to revoke the contract even when he’s aware that the state government has not paid the company what is due to them.
“This is not the first time Governor Okorocha is playing such pranks on my company. At the moment, the state government owes my company the sum of N742 million as balance for some other projects we are handling for the government such as the new governor’s lodge, street solar electrification of Owerri-Orlu, architectural design and surveying of Imo-European University,” said the contractor.
Now, following the outburst by Okereke, the government has revoked the contract, emphasising that Okereke’s firm abandoned the site. The government statement also warned that it was considering sueing the company for alleged breach of contract.

Source: http://www.thescoopng.com/gov-okorocha-revokes-contract-of-contractor-who-claimed-to-have-given-him-n24-million-bribe/

Corruption thrives more in private sector -Don

The attention of Nigerian governments and the public have been drawn to the  corrupt practices going in the private sector in the country.
 This was made by a lecturer in the Department of Political Science, University of Ibadan, Dr David Enweremadu, in a lecture entitled: “Corruption and corporate governance in Nigeria,” delivered at the Conference Centre, University of Ibadan on Friday, to mark the 2011/2012 multi-disciplinary seminar series of the Department of Psychology, Faculty of  Social Science, University of Ibadan.
Dr Enweremadu said before now, focus has been on the high level of corruption going on in the public service, but now,    this practice also thrives in the private sector.
He said “the aim of the lecture is to turn our attention to corrupt practices going on in the private world. For many years, it has been assumed that the private sector is rationally corrupt free, efficient and effective as we teach our students. But we have had alarming cases of  corruption  in the private sector, especially, the banking sector, yet not much academic or schorlaly attention has been paid to this.”
Enweremadu noted that reasons for this might not be unconnected with lack of transparency in the operations of private companies.
The political scientist, however, suggested that both government and individuals needed to take action to reinforce transparency and accountability in the private sector.
He said the same fund with which the private companies operate which was considered as private money were capitals raised through public bidding-sale of shares, saying, these funds also belong to the public.
In her remarks, the Head of Department of Psychology, Professor Helen Osinowo, commended Dr Enweremadu for his brilliance and urge the concerned authorities to take action.

Source: http://tribune.com.ng/news2013/en/news/item/14944-corruption-thrives-more-in-private-sector-don.html

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Corrupt politicians must pay for their sins – Rawlings

By Henry Umoru
…Fundamentalism, corruption threaten democracy — Shonekan
ABUJA — FORMER President of Ghana, Flt. Lt. Jerry Rawlings, Monday said if Nigeria and other parts of Africa must get it right and strengthen democracy, corrupt politicians must not be allowed to go scot-free.

This came as former Interim Head of State, Chief Ernest Shonekan, declared that religious fundamentalism poses a serious threat to the  nation’s democracy, including other parts of Africa.
According to Rawlings, Nigeria must not continue to pay lip service to eradicating corruption, especially against the backdrop that poor, petty thieves get imprisoned for several years, while businessmen evade taxes in millions of dollars and politicians embezzle state funds and go unpunished.

Speaking yesterday at a conference on Emerging Democracies in Africa: Challenges and Opportunities, organized by the National Institute for Legislative Studies, Abuja, Rawlings said: ‘’We cannot continue to pay lip service to the strengthening, empowerment and independent management of our multiple anti-corruption institutions.
“We live in countries where poor, petty thieves get imprisoned for several years, while businessmen who evade taxes in millions of dollars or a politician who misappropriates millions of state funds escape punishment.
“These inequalities are recipes for the retrogression of our democracies and we cannot allow the negative tide to continue. A democracy that cannot provide socio-economic justice cannot be a healthy democracy and will remain vulnerable and fragile.”
He noted that the primary challenge for emerging democracies in Africa was the failure of Western democracy to acknowledge its inherent flaws and encourage a system of democracy that was dynamic, home grown and imbued with the socio-cultural backgrounds of individual African states.
Rawlings, who noted that a practicing democracy that could not create the climate to correct economic ills and corruption, could not and would not be a democracy, adding that a democracy that could protect the sanctity of its electoral process was engaging in a fraudulent electoral coup d’etat.
According to him, equally destructive is the unfortunate practice of using money to buy the conscience of the electorate.
“Democratic institutions across the continent are poorly equipped to offer the best support to governments. As a capacity building institution dedicated to provide professional research, advice, training and advocacy for members of the legislature, your organization is in a unique position to be a pacesetter in empowering our senators and parliamentarians to better serve the interests of their constituents,” Rawlings said.
Speaking at the event which took place at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, former Interim Head of State, Chief Ernest Shonekan, stressed the need for Africa and Nigeria, in particular, to deepen democracy by ensuring that there was internal democracy in political parties.
He said:  “Religious fundamentalism is posing serious threat to democracy in parts of the continent, particularly in West Africa, North Africa and in the Horn of Africa. There is, therefore, an urgent need for  the countries concerned to constitutionally separate the state and religion and also enforce the provisions of the constitution in this regard.
“Another major challenge to democracy is corruption. Corruption debars progress and discourages foreign investors. It is encouraging that many African countries have established agencies to investigate and prosecute cases of corruption.”

Source: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2013/06/corrupt-politicians-must-pay-for-their-sins-rawlings/

Judiciary Workers to Face Sanctions for Corruption

Tobi Soniyi

Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Aloma Mukhtar, has said that  the ongoing sanitisation process in the judiciary will not be limited to judges alone but would be extended to support staff in the sector.

Justice Mukhtar stated this  Monday in a keynote address at a workshop organised by the National Judicial Institute (NJI) for  librarians working in the judiciary.

The workshop has as its theme: "The challenges facing court librarians in information and communication technology age."

“Let me quickly add that the fight against corruption in the judiciary is not only targeted at  judicial officers but also against any member of staff of the judiciary who finds luxury or convenience in engaging in corrupt practices or engaged in any other unwholesome conduct.

"Therefore, if any of you compromises himself or herself or contravenes the code of conduct, he/she will face the full consequences of his or her action.

"Any judicial staff that works hard and conducts himself well will be rewarded, but deviant, fraudulent and indolent ones may become irrelevant in our drive for a virile judicial system," she added.

The CJN, represented by Justice Olu Ariwoola of the Supreme Court, reminded the participants that they were bound by the code of conduct for courts' employees.

She warned court support staff to desist from unethical and corrupt conduct even as she said anyone found wanting would be punished.

The CJN also regretted the impact of poor funding on the quality of services rendered by the nation's court system.

She called for enhanced funding and continuous human capacity development to enable  courts attain the level of competence and effectiveness experienced in developed climes.

She noted that it was necessary for state and Federal Government to adequately fund the courts to enable them acquire necessary materials for standard libraries.

"As a result of poor funding, both the quality and quantity of their acquisitions are not current. This ought not to be so, when courts of most other countries have gone steps further to e-libraries.
"Our courts must not be denied of the requisite excellent learning facilities in order to be able to discharge their duties diligently and expeditiously. Our court libraries must be stocked with current law reports and relevant reading materials like law journals and other periodicals," she said.
NJI's Administrator, Justice Umaru Eri, said the workshop was informed by the institute's commitment to improving the quality of court library staff.

He observed that in view of the growing complication and modernisation in library management, it was imperative for court libraries in the country to be manned by well-trained and competent hands

Source: http://www.thisdaylive.com/articles/judiciary-workers-to-face-sanctions-for-corruption/150726/

$15m Bribe: Court to Hear Delta Application July 10

Tobi Soniyi

A Federal High Court in Abuja will  on July 10 hear  an application by the Delta State Government on  the $15million bribe allegedly offered former Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, by  a former governor of the state, Chief James Ibori,  to be paid to the state.

Justice Gabriel Kolawole fixed the date yesterday, following a recent ruling by the Court of Appeal, Abuja, striking out an application by a Lagos-based refrigerator repairer, Olalekan Bayode, seeking to halt further hearing in the suit pending the hearing of his appeal.

When the case was called Monday, parties were set to argue the application by Delta State, but the court said it was inconvenient in view of its tight schedule and directed them to agree on a new date.
The federal government had applied to the court for an order of forfeiture and to direct the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), where Ribadu had lodged the bribe money he refused, to release it to the government should no one showed up to claim it.

Delta State later intervened, claiming ownership of the money because Ibori, being its governor when the  money was offered, must have taken the money from the state's coffers.

Before the state's application could be heard, Bayode applied that he should be appointed as a manager to disburse the $15 million  bribe money to the indigents, especially widows and orphans through a charitable organisation.

He applied to be joined in the case and prayed that the money  be released to him.

In a ruling, Justice  Kolawole dismissed  Bayode's application for being frivolous and lacking in merit.

The judge held, among others, that Bayode failed to show sufficient ground and interest upon which the money should be released to him.

Justice Kolawole held that Bayode only claimed to be a Nigerian and refrigerator repairer based in Lagos.

The judge further held that the federal government, which instituted the case, did not ask for a manager to manage the fund, but applied that those with interest in the $15 million should indicate before an order of forfeiture was made in its favour.

Justice Kolawole described Bayode as a  busybody, meddlesome interloper and one, who was out to mock the judiciary and the serious issue at stake.

Source: http://www.thisdaylive.com/articles/-15m-bribe-court-to-hear-delta-application-july-10/150724/

Monday, 17 June 2013

“Don’t pay money to roadside touts” – FG committee warns vehicle owners

National chairman of the National Committee Against Touting and Other Related Matters, Dr. Mike Anikwendu has charged mass transit agencies, transport owners and commercial drivers not to pay any money to highway touts who mount illegal roadblocks and pose as revenue collectors.
This was contained in a press release made available to journalists yesterday, after the 2013 first quarter briefing for all the stakeholders in the nation’s transport sector held at the secretariat of the National Committee Against Touting in Abuja.

Dr. Ike Anikwendu, who cited Decree No. 21 of 1998 and the Act prohibiting touting and other related matters, said that no person or group whatsoever was authorized to mount illegal roadblocks for any form of revenue collection on the nation’s highway.
He vehemently condemned the notorious activities of the touts, which he said posed safety as well as security risks to road users.

The Head Bridge, Onitsha, Okene-Lokoja Road, Kogi State, Okpella and Control Post in Imo State, Elele and Eleme junction in Rivers State, Kaduna – Zaria Road, Keffi – Lafia Road to Jos, Ikot Obas in Akwa Ibom State, Asaba to Benin Toll Gate bye-pass, Ore in Ondo State, Ogbere Forest in Ijebu-Ode and Shagamu to Lagos Toll Gate among others were identified as some of the places the illegality occurs.

Source: http://dailypost.com.ng/2013/06/16/dont-pay-money-to-roadside-touts-fg-committee-warns-vehicle-owners/

Purge police of corruption, Jonathan charges commission

[By CLEMENT NWOJI, Abuja]
President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday directed the newly inaugurated Board of the Police Service Commission to cleanse the Nigerian Police of bad eggs who he described as “viruses” denting its image. He chided the police, Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), other para-military service as well as the military for indulging in promotions not based on merit, competence, performance and qualifications of officers. The president also explained that this constitutes the reason there are “viruses and all kinds of characters in the police force,” leading to abysmal performance of some of them. Also yesterday, indications emerged that the Federal Government is considering the scraping of about 220 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) out of the current 541 Federal parastatals in a bid to enhance efficiency and reduce cost of administration. Going by the provisions of the Draft Bill on national fertilizer quality control, adulterators of fertilizer products risk seven years jail term apart from other punishments. These were disclosed yesterday at a briefing after the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by President Jonathan with Vice President Namadi Sambo in attendance at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, in company of the ministers of agriculture, water resources and mines, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, Mrs Sara Ochekpe and Arch. Muhammad Sada, respectively briefed State House correspondents.

The president gave the charge to the police while inaugurating the Board of the Nigeria Police Service Commission headed by a former Inspector General of Police, Mike Okiro, as Chairman at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, prior to the commencement of the Federal Executive Council meeting. Other members of the Board of the Police Service Commission include: Alhaji Yakubu Mohammed, Justice Lola Adekeye, Hajiya Aisha Lare Tukur, Dame Comfort Obi and Dr. Tongi  Anyi. According to President Jonathan, “One thing, and probably I will mention here today is the issue of Nigeria Police. You will agree with me that Nigerians don’t have so much confidence in the Nigeria Police, but Nigerian policemen are good. The Nigeria Police that work outside under United Nations are highly honoured, highly commended and Okiro will agree with me.

“But once we come back home that is not reflected in what we do. Even now that we have challenges, you will see that, especially when the Police Headquarters was bombed, some people came to me and said Mr. President, ‘sack all police officers working in that place from Assistant Commissioner of Police and above.’ “I did not sack any because of that incident, but that was the advice I got. That if you do that, the new people that would be posted there will sit up. How could the police allow their headquarters to be bombed by a very local group called Boko Haram?”  Jonathan charged the Okiro to further instill discipline within the police and ensure that those who deserve  promotion should be promoted, while those found wanting should be dismissed. He said, “But I believe there are two things: one is the issue of discipline. And so, one of the responsibilities of the Police Service Commission is to instill discipline. Another thing I believe is that people who do not merit certain ranks are being promoted to those ranks.

“One of your responsibilities is to handle promotion. I believe with you, only those who merit or deserve promotion should be promoted. Those who deserve to be disciplined or even dismissed must be disciplined.” Furthermore, the president indicated that a white paper on the reform of the Nigeria Police will soon be released, but enjoined the PSC  to make input into it so that it will be comprehensive enough to improve the operations of the Force.  “The Federal Executive Council, maybe in the next one or two weeks,  we are going to look at the report because we want to come up with a white paper on the police reform report. But since we have just appointed you, we give you privilege to look at the document before we come out with a white paper.  “So that if there is a suggestion that you will bring, bring it so that it will be part of the white paper since you are the one to manage the police. It is only proper that you and I will think alike and be on the same page, because we need to reform the Nigeria Police for a better service for us all,” he said.

The Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Mike Okiro, who fielded questions from State House correspondents shortly after the swearing-in, said his priority would ,among other things, center on boosting the morale of the policemen. He said, “We will look at the extant laws and see the areas that the Police Service Commission is supposed to act to reform the Nigeria Police and it is an issue that requires the handiwork and cooperation of everybody; the press, you people, Nigerians and the police officers themselves have to open up their minds for reform.” He explained that there are reasons why police officers perform better outside the country than while in Nigeria, citing enabling environment and equipment.

“The reasons are far reaching. One, you can find out that the environment is different, the people are different and also, the equipment and what to work with. The Nigerian police officers, while rendering service outside this country under the United Nations, give them the wherewithal to do the work.

“It is not an indictment on the system, neither is it on the Presidency or me. What we are talking about is that time changes, society is dynamic. What happened few years ago is not what is happening now. You know at that time there was no Boko Haram, but there is right now. “So, you have to work as the situation demands at the moment. So, what I am going to do now is to look at what is making the police not to perform optimally this time, at this period of our nation’s history. I will try and address those issues.  “Officers from ACP up are not feeling very happy. Many of them have no houses, the morale of the police is quite low, they need to be motivated; you have to look into what will make them perform optimally.

“If you give somebody something to work with, he works well for you. If you pay somebody very well, he works very well for you. If you give somebody pittance, you get pittance service from him. So, we have to look at  the welfare of the police first and foremost,” Okiro said. However, the scrapping of the 220 MDAs is based on consideration of the White Paper on the report of the Presidential Committee on the Rationalisation and Restructuring of Federal Government Parastatals, Commissions and Agencies, otherwise known as the Oronsaye Committee.  Abati explained that the White Paper is already at the domain of the Federal Executive Council for consideration, revealing that out of the existing 541 parastatals, the White Paper Drafting Committee accepted 321. He, however, allayed fears that the scraping of the MDAs will result in laying off many workers and generate hardships in the country.

According to the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, “Council began a review of the report of the Presidential Committee on the Restructuring and Rationalisation of Government Parastatals, Commissions and agencies what is popularly referred to as the Oronsaye committee. “The draft White Paper had already been prepared based on the report of that committee and what council took today was the draft white paper for discussion and review. “It is ongoing, that process will continue during the next meeting. I know that many people have expressed concerns on when the white paper will be released. This makes it very clear that works have been ongoing on the report of that committee.

“After the draft of that white paper was submitted, a review committee was set up by Mr. President, which also considered the report and now it is being considered at the level of the FEC and you can be sure that in due course, the white paper with regards to the restructuring and rationalisation of government’s parastatals, agencies and commissions will be released.

“There is no cause for any anxiety. The Oronsaye Committee considered suggestions, recommendations from different quarters and in total, that committee looked at 541 federal parastatals, commissions and agencies. The white paper drafting committee out of that, accepted 321, noted some recommendations, rejected some. “At the end of the day, the FEC will take final decision on this recommendation and when that is done, the white paper will be made public. I don’t think we should jump the gun, the thing to note is that all of this is being done to ensure efficiency, to reduce the cost of government, to avoid leakages and wastages and to make government far more effective in delivering quality service to Nigerians.

“This is not targeted at pushing anybody out of work. This is not an exercise in making life difficult for anybody.

This is just government restructuring for better efficiency. People should not be unduly anxious. “You can be assured that now that it is at the level of the FEC, work will be completed on it very quickly, the white paper will be released and it will be implemented accordingly.” On the National Fertilizer Control Draft Bill, the Minister of Agriculture, Dr.  Akinwunmi Adesina, explained that the Bill is targeted at making Nigeria the major hub of fertilizer in African region. According to him, “The draft bill is looking at the issue of quality control in the fertilizer sector. As you know that since we started the libralisation of the fertiliser sector, there’s been quite a lot of private sector engagement. We have noticed overtime that we had challenges in terms adulteration of fertilizer in the system.”

http://www.mydailynewswatchng.com/2013/06/13/purge-police-of-corruption-jonathan-charges-commission/

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

EFCC alone cannot fight, win war against corruption – Lamorde

The EFCC chairman said collaboration with the Custom Service will help in its fight against corruption.
The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC,Ibrahim Lamorde, has called for the establishment of an Integrity Unit in the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, saying such an innovation will be a rallying point for the promotion of transparency and accountability towards achieving its mandate to the nation.
Mr. Lamorde made the call on Tuesday during a one-day anti-corruption sensitization road walk organised by the Enlightenment and Re-orientation Unit of the EFCC for heads and members of staff of both organizations.
He explained that the road walk was designed to take the anti-graft campaign to the workplace, and encourage workers to buy–in as the EFCC alone cannot fight and win the war against corruption in Nigeria.
The EFCC chairman acknowledged the assistance received from the Custom Service in terms of secondment of the service’s finest staffs to the EFCC, especially early in the life of the commission.
“Those officers, I make bold to say, contributed in no small way to whatever modest success that are ascribed to the EFCC, today’’.
The EFCC boss underscored the importance of the workshop when he said that the program is in fulfillment of the mandate of the Commission, as stated in Section 6 of the EFCC Act, which requires the Commission to, in addition to its enforcement responsibilities, take measures to prevent the commission of economic crimes through aggressive public enlightenment and education.
Mr. Lamorde commended the Controller General of the Service, Dikko Abdullahi, for accepting to partner with EFCC to fight corruption which he described as a monster.
He added that on the account of the collaboration between the two agencies, many economic saboteurs and other sundry criminals have been stopped from wrecking underserved havoc on the nation’s economy.
In his response, Mr. Abdullahi commended the EFCC boss for the worthy partnership to cooperate and spread the message that together we are forging a united stand against corruption.
“In the past, customs and EFCC collaboration have been a reference point for best practices. Both have worked closely in special joint operations, investigations and training; and we are glad to say that the relationship has extended to frontiers of our collaboration to fight corruption,” Mr. Abdullahi said.
“In synergy, we are sending strong signals to all economic saboteurs that they now face a more difficult task to evade payment of customs duty or smuggling of prohibited goods through our borders,” the custom boss added.
Mr. Abdullahi said that in embarking on the anti-corruption journey, the Custom Service has prepared its officers for zero tolerance on corruption. He called on stakeholders and the generality of Nigerians to support the campaign to instill integrity into Customs operation.
The program, he said will feature workshops on financial and economic crimes at the Customs headquarters, Lagos, Kaduna and Port Harcourt Zonal commands of the Service.
The campaign by the EFCC had earlier been extended to the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG, Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation, NDIC Ministry of Transport, ACTU, among others.

Source: http://premiumtimesng.com/news/national/138514-efcc-alone-cannot-fight-win-war-against-corruption-lamorde.html

EFCC alone cannot fight, win war against corruption – Lamorde

The EFCC chairman said collaboration with the Custom Service will help in its fight against corruption.
The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC,Ibrahim Lamorde, has called for the establishment of an Integrity Unit in the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, saying such an innovation will be a rallying point for the promotion of transparency and accountability towards achieving its mandate to the nation.
Mr. Lamorde made the call on Tuesday during a one-day anti-corruption sensitization road walk organised by the Enlightenment and Re-orientation Unit of the EFCC for heads and members of staff of both organizations.
He explained that the road walk was designed to take the anti-graft campaign to the workplace, and encourage workers to buy–in as the EFCC alone cannot fight and win the war against corruption in Nigeria.
The EFCC chairman acknowledged the assistance received from the Custom Service in terms of secondment of the service’s finest staffs to the EFCC, especially early in the life of the commission.
“Those officers, I make bold to say, contributed in no small way to whatever modest success that are ascribed to the EFCC, today’’.
The EFCC boss underscored the importance of the workshop when he said that the program is in fulfillment of the mandate of the Commission, as stated in Section 6 of the EFCC Act, which requires the Commission to, in addition to its enforcement responsibilities, take measures to prevent the commission of economic crimes through aggressive public enlightenment and education.
Mr. Lamorde commended the Controller General of the Service, Dikko Abdullahi, for accepting to partner with EFCC to fight corruption which he described as a monster.
He added that on the account of the collaboration between the two agencies, many economic saboteurs and other sundry criminals have been stopped from wrecking underserved havoc on the nation’s economy.
In his response, Mr. Abdullahi commended the EFCC boss for the worthy partnership to cooperate and spread the message that together we are forging a united stand against corruption.
“In the past, customs and EFCC collaboration have been a reference point for best practices. Both have worked closely in special joint operations, investigations and training; and we are glad to say that the relationship has extended to frontiers of our collaboration to fight corruption,” Mr. Abdullahi said.
“In synergy, we are sending strong signals to all economic saboteurs that they now face a more difficult task to evade payment of customs duty or smuggling of prohibited goods through our borders,” the custom boss added.
Mr. Abdullahi said that in embarking on the anti-corruption journey, the Custom Service has prepared its officers for zero tolerance on corruption. He called on stakeholders and the generality of Nigerians to support the campaign to instill integrity into Customs operation.
The program, he said will feature workshops on financial and economic crimes at the Customs headquarters, Lagos, Kaduna and Port Harcourt Zonal commands of the Service.
The campaign by the EFCC had earlier been extended to the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG, Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation, NDIC Ministry of Transport, ACTU, among others.

Source: http://premiumtimesng.com/news/national/138514-efcc-alone-cannot-fight-win-war-against-corruption-lamorde.html

Prisons Service debunks N50,000 bribery allegation

THE Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS) has debunked a claim by a robbery suspect, Mr Samodu Dawopale, that prison officers at Kirikiri Maximum Security Prisons, Lagos, demanded N50,000 to secure his release, after the order of an Appeal Court quashing his death sentence.
The 48-year-old suspect, who regained freedom after 14 years of incarceration, had alleged that prisons officers “wanted me to part with N50,000 to secure my release.”
But the Public Relations Officer of the service, Mr Ope Fatinikun, said the allegation was frivolous and unfounded.
“Where will an inmate condemned to death for about 14 years ago have N50,000 in the first place for him to make such allegation? That is frivolous and unfounded,” he said.
The death sentence was earlier passed on him by an Ijebu-Ode High Court 10 years ago, but was quashed by an Appeal Court in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, in May this year.
Fatinikun explained that what delayed his release was the effort to confirm the authenticity of the court’s order served the prisons by his lawyer.
According to him, the Appeal Court’s order for his release was served the prisons service on May 31, which was Friday, but prisons officers had to travel to Ibadan for confirmation of the papers on Monday, which was two days after because of the weekend.
He said unfortunately, they could not get the confirmation until June 6, adding that by then, Dawopale had called his lawyer, who told him that he had brought his release warrant since May 31.
According to him, Dawopale, in the process, became impatient and started causing commotion, even when prisons officers explained to him that they were awaiting confirmation before honouring the order of the court.
“There was every need for us to exercise fears, because somebody was condemned to death and anybody can frame up anything just to secure his release. When the papers were confirmed by the Appeal Court in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, he was released accordingly,” he said.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

SERAP Seeks Review of UN Convention on Corruption

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged nations, which are parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption to “take steps to review the convention in a manner that will ensure that victims of corruption receive appropriate remedies and compensation for the devastating effects it causes disadvantaged groups.”
In a presentation by SERAP Executive Director, Mr. Adetokunbo Mumuni, to a delegates, convention on corruption in Vienna, Austria recently, the organisation said: “Both articles 34 and 35 of the convention, which require states to address the consequences of corruption and pay compensation to victims seem to give considerable latitude to countries in determining the parameters of their application by subjecting these to the fundamental principles of the state’s domestic law.”
“The problem is that there are huge gaps in the laws of many states, including my own country Nigeria, that has failed to effectively implement these provisions despite the fact that Nigeria has ratified the convention,” the organisation stated to the gathering of the states’ delegates known as the International Review Group.
The Implementation Review Group held its fourth session in Vienna from 27 to 31 May 2013 The group was established by the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption in its resolution 3/1, entitled “Review mechanism”, as an open-ended intergovernmental group of States parties to operate under its authority and report to it. The Group’s mandate is to ensure effective implementation of the convention
According to the organisation, “articles 34 and 35 provisions are far reaching, and will undoubtedly enhance deterrence by creating additional weapons: civil and administrative sanctions but their potential will not be realised unless states exercise the required political will to make necessary changes in their laws.
“Articles 34 and 35 provisions are written exactly for regions like Africa (including my country Nigeria) where large scale corruption has had huge consequences in terms of undermining the well-being of the citizens and denying them the chance for personal development and prosperity. These victims of corruption hardly receive any compensation.” 
The group added that: “The two articles signal a resolve on the part of negotiators of the UNCAC to unleash the power of private civil litigation and collateral legal and administrative sanctions on persons that commit corrupt practices. Moreover, recalling the difficulties associated with the investigation and prosecution of offences, the evidence obtained from civil trials could be used in on-going investigations or in future criminal trials.”
Based on this, SERAP urged the representatives of states parties to: “Develop guidelines to encourage a consistent and universal enforcement of articles 34 and 35 provisions on the domestic front in a manner that will favour victims of corruption. Suggested elements of any such guidelines may include reaffirmation of commitment by states parties to the provisions of articles 34 and 35 in particular and the UNCAC in general; specific commitment to review and harmonise national laws to implement articles 34 and 35 provisions in a way that will allow victims of corruption to seek remedies before national institutions and courts, as well as commitment to involve civil society groups in the review and harmonisation of any such laws; ensure that their governments enact national laws on civil remedies against corruption.
This will be fulfilling the requirements of Articles 34 and 35. States should also consistently encourage victims of corruption to use the human rights framework to file cases for compensation not only against multinational corporations but also against corrupt public officials; establish a complaint mechanism for victims of corruption within the context of the UN Convention against corruption to allow victims to file complaints before this body. This is clearly feasible and practicable if there is necessary political will to make it happen; establish a global trust fund for victims of corruption. This is already happening for victims of international crimes recognised under the Rome Statute of International Criminal Court. There is no reason why the same cannot be done in serious cases of corruption. Trust funds for victims of corruption would help to address the developmental needs of the victims of corruption.”

Corruption may destroy Nigeria, says Agunloye

FORMER Minister of Power and Steel, Dr. Olu Agunloye, has called on the leadership of the country to urgently address the issue of corruption by ensuring that those found culpable are duly made to face the law.
Noting that if there is any factor that may quickly lead to the disintegration of the country on or before 2015 as predicted 14 years ago by America, he said the lackadaisical attitude through which government handles the magnitude of corruption in the country is major.
Speaking with The Guardian Monday on the topic: “Why the polity is currently tensed up ahead of 2015 elections”, Agunloye said: “Corruption is growing at a dangerous trend to the extent that Nigerians have totally lost confidence in governance; the youth have lost confidence in the elders and their leaders. There is political, economic and moral corruption; it is breathing and pushing the country to a brink.”
The former Minister of Power and Steel, who also served as Minister of State for Defence, said corruption has bred injustice, inequality and nepotism in the country “a situation where Nigeria is rated among the countries in the world with the largest number of poor people and also the largest number of billionaires, is unjust and unfair. A situation where past public officers, particularly governors, are called to account for billions and trillions of naira and at the end, nothing comes out, is making governance to lose value.”
He also said the perceived second-term ambition of President Goodluck Jonathan is another factor tensing up the polity. According to him, “The quest to control power at the centre has not only been ethnicised but is currently being pursued at selfish ends. There is no doubt that the perceived second term ambition of President Jonathan is part of the reasons the polity is now under serious tension as we witnessed before the 2011 general elections when the ruling Peoples Democratic (PDP nearly polarised the country based on their internal zoning arrangement.
“I believe Jonathan ought not to have contested for power in 2011 as I said suggested then. He had the best opportunity then to conduct a free and fair election, no matter whose ox was gored if he had not participated,” he noted, adding that a situation where elections are perceived not to be free and fair would also generate crises, injustice and other serious vices.
It is unfortunate now that the situation has even gone beyond Jonathan’s ambition; ethnic sentiment and personal interest are now the determining factors for whom to rule the country instead of collective interest, he added.
While blaming Nigerians for getting what they deserved by accepting undue inducement from politicians during elections, Agunloye said it is unfortunate that politicians and the few who have cornered the wealth of the country usually take advantage of poverty in the land.

NIMN boss urges Nigerians to be patriotic in fight against corruption

President of National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (NIMN), Dr Lugard Aimiuwu, on Wednesday urged Nigerians to be patriotic in the fight against corruption.
Aimiuwu, who made the call in an interview in Lagos, said that Nigeria had cause to celebrate Democracy Day in spite of the level of corruption.
He described corruption as an ‘old demon’ that had ravaged the nation for a long period and had deprived ordinary citizens of dividends of democracy.
Aimiuwu said that apart from corruption and abuse of office, some other deviant behaviour like extremism had  crept in.
He said that the game plan of the extremists was to scatter the country in order to create a situation for disintegration.
The expert said that in spite of these challenges, Nigeria was still strong as a united entity.
“The right noises are being made when you talk about democracy and there is cause for celebration.
“This is because the will of the nation has been tested and tested over and over again in a number of areas.
“Somehow or the other, the worst has not happened; there has not been any disintegration.”
Aimiuwu said that no Nigerian leader had come out to declare hostilities, which he said, showed that Nigeria was still a single entity.
He said that Nigeria was now ready to put a price on corruption which was a good development.
 “Once a nation could do that, it shows that the nation is already finding a solution to it.
 “An example of that is that it is always an issue in public discussion and people have never stopped to talk about it.
“Morally, we are in a right direction for democratic dispensation,” he said.
Source: http://www.dailytimes.com.ng/article/nimn-boss-urges-nigerians-be-patriotic-fight-against-corruption

Jonathan seeks collaboration to fight corruption

President Goodluck Jonathan has said  the war to rid the country of corruption should not be left for his government alone, if the anti-graft war must succeed.

“In arresting the menace of corruption in Nigeria, we must understand that it is not a fight to be left for the government alone. Rather, it would require a concerted effort by individuals from all sectors to complement the effort of the government,” Jonathan said in his 234-page mid-term report presented to Nigerians last Wednesday, as part of activities marking the nation’s Democracy Day, a copy of which was obtained by our correspondent.

The President said he was convinced that corruption must also be fought with every sense of diligence it deserved by government and individuals. Otherwise, he said, Nigeria’s sustainable development would be undermined with dire consequences on the economy, the citizenry and the nation’s collective image globally.

He said, “The citizens are, therefore, encouraged to work assiduously with government agencies in the fight against corruption.”

Jonathan identified weak rule of law and institutions as factors responsible for the continuous existence of pervasive corruption in the system, despite the efforts of his administration and his predecessors to tackle the scourge.

He said that was why his approach in fighting corruption was to focus on building strong institutions that had the capacity to overcome corrupt influences “and not just to sermonise about corruption.”

He said, “This approach uses the rule of law as a framework to fight corruption as a framework to fight corruption since corruption is a feature of weak rule of law and weak institutions.

“Fighting corruption through strengthening rule of law institutions and entrenching transparency and accountability mechanisms in the public service procurement and project implementation is efficacious because corruption is primarily a derogation of rule-based system.”

Jonathan said his administration was determined to make Nigeria a key global economic power, and therefore, recognised that it could not tolerate any degree of corruption.

He added that as long as Nigeria was widely perceived as corrupt, it would be difficult to attract the level of investment required to fast-track economic growth to protect the honour and dignity of Nigerians across the world.
According to him, corruption constitutes a major disincentive for investment in the Nigerian economy and increases the cost of governance and doing business.

He added that the scourge constituted a direct and inordinate taxation on the people.

He observed that the widespread international perception of Nigeria as a corrupt country had caused incalculable damage to the dignity and honour of many honest and diligent Nigerians and to the country’s global competitiveness.