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Saturday, 25 October 2014

Jonathan’s Re-election Campaign Director, Haliru Mohammed, Took At Least A Million Euros Bribe From Siemens -German Court

President Goodluck Jonathan’s choice for reelection campaign director, Bello Haliru Mohammed, a former minister and once an acting head of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, is a confirmed bribe taker, indicted by a German court in 2007, PREMIUM TIMES can report today.

Mr. Mohammed, named Thursday to oversee Mr. Jonathan’s declaration and campaign for re-election, in a potentially tense political battle likely to pitch him against either former head of state, Muhammadu Buhari, or former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

Messrs. Buhari and Atiku are vying for the presidential ticket of the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC.

The presidency has said Mr. Jonathan will pick his nomination form shortly and will formally declare a long-expected candidacy for the 2015 election, at a grand event early November.
That event will be overseen by an expansive Presidential Declaration Committee led by Mr. Mohammed, supported by a former senate president, Ken Nnamani, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius, and the president’s political adviser, Rufa’i Alkali.
Dozens of others drawn from the PDP, the National Assembly, the Executive Council of the Federation, and the PDP Governors’ Forum, are also members of the team.
But Mr. Mohammed’s appointment has revived a mind-boggling bribery case for which he and other senior officials of the Olusegun Obasanjo administration were indicted of by a German court in 2007.
In its October 4, 2007 ruling against Siemen AG, the Munich State Court named Mr. Mohammed as one of the recipients of 77 hefty bribes paid by Siemen officials in three countries- Nigeria, Russia and Libya.
The indictment, published in November 2007 by the United States-based Wall Street Journal, listed Mr. Mohammed, who at the time was the Minister for Communications as having received millions of Euros in bribes, alongside other Nigerian cabinet members, to allow the German Conglomerate a piece of the Nigerian telecoms market.
In all, the company paid more than 10 million euros to Mr. Mohammed, former telecommunications ministers, Tajudeen Olarewaju, Cornelius Adebayo and Haruna Elewi, as well as an unnamed Senator, an unnamed immigration officer, and the PDP, the court said.
Bello Haliru and President jonathan
Mr. Mohammed was appointed Nigerian minister of Communications in June 2001 by President Olusegun Obasanjo, replacing Mohammed Arzika.
He was appointed at a time the government was planning to privatise moribund state company, Nigerian Telecommunications Limited, NITEL. The court said as minister, Mr. Mohammed received 550,000 euros in kickback in July 2002 and another 150,000 euros in August 2003.
The court said Nigerian ministers under the Obasanjo government also received unspecified sums of money for the ruling PDP.
“According to the Munich court ruling, Edward Seidel, who headed Siemens’ operations in Nigeria earlier this decade, helped deliver many of the bribes to the final recipients,” the Wall Street Journal reported at the time.
“In August (2003), according to the (Munich) court, Mr Siekaczek and Mr Siedel funnelled a 150,000 euros bribe to Mr. (Bello) Mohammed, following a 550,000 euros payment the year before when he was still the Nigerian telecommunications minister,” the paper reported.
“The Munich court estimated that the roughly 12million euros bribes in Nigeria, Russia and Libya produced at least 200 million euros in ‘unlawful economic advantages’ for Siemens,” according to the paper.
Reinhard Siekaczek, a top Siemens Manager, also coordinated the large scale illicit payment, the Munich court said.
Siemens, at the time, accepted responsibility for the misconduct of Mr. Siekaczek and agreed to pay 210 million euros in fines to the German government.
While Mr. Siekaczek was indicted, German prosecutors said they would not pursue action against non-German citizens who were identified as recipients of the bribes, leaving them to be sanctioned by their own governments.
But for more than seven years, Mr. Mohammed, and other recipients of the bribes, have escaped justice with two investigations by the Nigerian authorities yielding no indictments.
The former minister has instead been rewarded with choice appointments, serving as acting chairman of the ruling party, PDP and later as Nigeria’s defence minister.
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, launched an investigation following the ruling of the German court, but punished no one despite former President Umaru Yar’adua famously vowing that “… there will neither be sacred cows nor a cover up for anybody found culpable of breaching the law”.
Separately, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, investigated the scandal but failed to prosecute the main culprits amid claims the former minister admitted receiving the payments. Mr. Mohammed was later elected the deputy chairman of PDP, before being appointed the defence minister by President Goodluck Jonathan between 2011 and 2012.
On the website of PDP, no mention is made of the bribery scandal in Mr. Mohammed’s profile.
The party merely narrates its former chairman’s career dating before and after he joined the Nigerian Customs Service, where he rose to the rank of Comptroller General and retired in 1995.
After his retirement from service, he was appointed Commissioner, Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission in 1999 from where he became minister.
He later became National Vice Chairman of the PDP, North West Zone. In March 2008, he became Deputy National Chairman of the Party and Acting National Chairman in 2010.
It is unclear whether Mr. Jonathan is aware of corruption allegation against Mr. Mohammed. But the President is not known for any vigorous war against corruption. He famously recently said reports of corruption in Nigeria were exaggerated.
He is also not known for firing officials indicted for corruption.

Source

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Ebola Bribes and Parliamentary Diplomacy

Africa needs all the help it can get on Ebola. But, the continent must discard with practices and tendencies that inhibit efforts to curb the deadly virus. A piece in the October 14th edition of the Wall Street Journal makes this perhaps even more expedient than tonnes of external assistance.
According to the report, some body collectors in Liberia, have resorted to collecting bribes instead of corpses of Ebola victims. Families who lose loved ones to the disease and are supposed to submit the bodies to the authorities for appropriate disposal are said to be clinging to age long beliefs of conducting funeral rites which includes washing and pampering the corpses for a couple of days before interment. And to achieve this, bribes as low as $40 are offered to officials and/or intermediaries in return for death certificates certifying demise by other causes instead of Ebola. Vincent Chounse, a community outreach worker on the outskirts of Monrovia was quoted by the paper thus: “The family says the person is not an Ebola patient and they pull them away from other people. Then they say ‘we can give you a certificate from the Ministry of Health that it wasn’t Ebola. Sometimes it is $40. Sometimes it is $50. Then they offer bags to them and (the family) carry on their own thing.” Such a low indeed in the battle to stamp out a scourge stumped in the West African country where hundreds of lives have been lost to the disease. Andrew Medina-Marino, an epidemiologist was also quoted in the report describing the situation as one in which “low-level corruption has a high-impact.”
But a piece of good news has come from the diplomatic front. And it was spurred by Africa. During the week parliamentarians from some 145 countries gathered in Geneva under the aegis of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) to engage on issues of mutual interest and to promote representative democracy throughout the world. The scourge of the Ebola virus did not escape the attention of the lawmakers as the African Group threw the issue up for discourse as an emergency item.
It was a moment of unanimity for the African countries participating at the conference given the fact that the dreaded disease ravages parts of the continent on a far wider and alarming scale compared to the few isolated cases other parts of the world have recorded. Notably, Guinea which is the epicentre of the current scourge was re-admitted into the 166-member body of global parliaments. However, Liberia and Sierra Leone which have been worse hit by the deadly virus will find the IPU intervention as a needed elixir in the frenetic bid to halt the marauding strides of the epidemic.
At the end of debates, the IPU adopted a resolution which basically signified a desperate call on the world to focus more energies on and invest more resources in the fight against Ebola in countries badly affected by the disease. A statement from the IPU noted that the world had dithered in its response to the catastrophic health challenge and called on countries to redouble their efforts. The resolution tasked parliaments across the world to enact legislations that can lead to improvements in the health systems and emergency response capabilities of their countries while also calling on the global pharmaceutical industry to scale up on research and development.
The IPU statement read in part: “Deploring the loss of life to Ebola and concerned by the high risk of the virus spreading globally, the resolution acknowledged that although many countries had already provided support, the international community had been slow and its response to the epidemic had been insufficient.
“The resolution appealed to States and to those already providing assistance to redouble their efforts to heighten public awareness on the disease and vigorously counter stigmatization. Effective security and health protocols were similarly required to limit the transmission and scope of the Ebola epidemic which, according to the United Nations, could become a humanitarian disaster with immeasurable consequences.
“IPU Members underscored the impact the epidemic was having on food and water supplies and on the economies of affected countries, compromising their political stability. With thousands of people having died in some of the poorest countries in the world, the resolution urged the pharmaceutical industry, research institutions and the private sector to invest in viable treatment options and affordable vaccines against Ebola.
“Longer-term solutions included parliaments enacting legislation to improve health systems and being better prepared to deal with health emergencies and the humanitarian crises which could ensue. The IPU resolution recommended plans be drawn up to help affected countries recover quickly from the negative effects of the Ebola crisis and for the international community to set up a rapid health response to cope with health crises such as this one.”
African representatives, at the IPU have done their beat by drawing further global attention to the Ebola ravages on parts of the continent. But national, municipal and local authorities must step up the game with respect to strict procedures and global best practices in containing this debilitating threat to lives, communities and the political systems some if which like Guinea’s are still fragile.
It is instructive to note that Nigeria’s delegation to the Geneva meetings led by Senate President David Mark and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha made notable inputs in arriving at the resolution. The deputy speaker who spoke to the media on the sidelines of the conference noted that delegates from Africa drew inspiration from Nigeria in pushing for the resolution on Ebola to be adopted. Indeed Nigeria’s success story in curtailing the Ebola outbreak resulting to a near banishment of the virus from the country’s shores continues to resonate globally as a ray of hope in the battle against the epidemic. In making increased and concerted efforts in checking Ebola which has so far spread into the USA, Europe and even Brazil, the world can learn from the experiences of Nigeria, a point emphasized by the country’s delegates at the IPU meeting. “And as restated by the World Health Organization (WHO) which is at the verge of certifying the country free of the virus. But Africa’s most populous nation must not rest on its oars. Danger is not completely averted yet.”

THISDAY

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Bribery and Corruption with Impunity

By
Sam Nda-Isiaah
 
Last week, the much expected rain started to fall in the chambers of the Senate. And, to borrow Senator Sarki Tafida’s inimitable parlance of bribe takers, this rain did not fall on every household in the Senate. The massive bribery that started last Thursday through Friday and will doubtless continue this week has not been seen in the history of corruption in Nigeria. If Transparency International (TI) with which the Nigerian president is associated is not taking note, then it is not worth its global name. President Obasanjo has turned Nigeria into a laughing stock among nations. He has elevated sleaze to a new level. No one expected someone who calls himself a leader to be associated with that level of crookedness. It is a disgrace. We have a megalomaniac president who has lied to the whole world that his regime is doing its best to curtail corruption, while at home he is sharing bribes, as much as N50 million to every senator, in order to further commit the crime of elongating his most inept and rotten regime. And, as has now become public knowledge, this is only part payment of the total bribe sum of N100 million per senator. Obasanjo is doing this at a time pensioners have not been paid for several months and children die daily for lack of essential medicines in government hospitals. These days, the Obasanjo presidency does not even bother to conduct its stealing business behind closed doors. The president disdains Nigerians so much that he thinks he can commit any crime, even dance naked in the market square in the afternoon, and nothing untoward would come to him. What now remains for the president and his boys to do is start collecting receipts from those they give bribes. I have not heard of this level of lawless leadership
Last week, the whole world knew bribes of N50 million were being offered senators at the Wuse Zone 4 branch of First Inland Bank Plc. Everybody in Abuja knew. Schoolboys and taxi drivers discussed it openly.
This is the time that the EFCC, the ICPC and the SSS should show their mettle. I am not so naïve as to suggest that they arrest the bribe givers. Or even the bribe takers. For now, they are beyond arrest. They are armed robbers still in operation and you do not arrest an armed robber when he is still pointing a gun at your temple. The time to arrest the thieves will come very soon and they shall be paraded before Nigerians and the international community like common thieves. The EFCC, ICPC and SSS must work ahead, so that when the free fall starts they will not be lumped together with the crooks.
The source of this bribe money is clear. It certainly did not come from Corporate Nigeria. Ndidi Okereke-Onyiuke has been hustling to be rewarded by the president for all the not-too-straight electoral deals she did for him in 2003. She is only an opportunist that is jostling to be noticed. She does not have the capacity to generate that kind of money. It also could not have been from the proceeds of the sales of Heinekens and Gulder beer in Nigeria. Nigerians are not such gifted drunkards. Besides, Festus Odimegwu would have been long sacked and jailed by his more serious Dutch partners if he attempted that. Aliko Dangote is too much of a darn good investor to not see a bad investment. He might have invested heavily in Obasanjo in the 2003 elections. He won’t take that silly chance with third term. Dangote could not have given his money. The money came directly from the public till, that is, public funds that would have been used to better the lives of Nigerians. More people would have had better potable water and more lives would have been saved if some of it had been deployed to purchase drugs for our hospitals and even repair Nigeria’s obsolescent refineries. Instead, the funds are being used to bribe legislators to extend the tenure of a president who, we are told, has done so well that we risk collapse as a nation if we let him go. Nigerians are bemused, stupefied and outraged at the conduct of a crass leader who many wish would end up worse than Nebuchadnezzar.
I hear one of the strategies to cover their tracks would be to say that even the anti-third term senators collected their own share of the bribes in foreign currencies. But that only shows that they are short of new ideas. Nigerians shall identify the bribe takers by the way they vote on the third term issue and they will take note for future action.
Wherever General Sani Abacha is today, he must be having a good laugh at Obasanjo. And at all of us, too. Obasanjo coined the term “Abacha loot”. Nigerians have already coined their own favourite term, “the Obasanjo loot”. Compared with Obasanjo, Abacha is already looking like a candidate for sainthood. At least Abacha didn’t deceive himself and never bribed anyone to extend his stay in office. He vacated office via a cardiac coup. Nigerians are praying that Obasanjo does not get that lucky. They want him to remain alive for a very long time to come, even though he has made up his mind to die in office.
The crime that the third termers have been committing since Thursday is manifold. Apart from stealing money from the Nigerian people, they are also guilty of a grave economic malfeasance. By their act, the CBN will have to deploy all its arsenal to start managing inflation in Abuja. The little gains the apex bank has recorded in strengthening the naira against other currencies in the past few days would come to nought by the time the president is done with the NASS members. The president’s men are also guilty of suborning the National Assembly and of interfering with the sacrosanct process of law-making. These are all very serious charges.
Since Obasanjo came to power in 1999, he has destroyed everything on his path. The democracy that was handed over to him on a platter of gold by General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd) has been destroyed. In its place, we now have the dictatorship of one man that is worse than any military dictatorship Nigeria has ever known. He and his boys have destroyed the judiciary and now he is trying hard to do same with the National Assembly. Electric power supply is worse than he met it. Our refineries still don’t work and security of life and property is akin to a civil war situation.
And, in terms of corruption, Obasanjo has not fared badly either. The list is long: serial misappropriation of budgets, Presidential Library Project, forgery of Electoral Law, Abuja Stadium Complex, Vincent Azie’s report, misappropriation of excess crude proceeds, Transcorp, election 2003, NNPC, NNPC, and NNPC. By now, even the president’s ardent admirers must admit that Abacha has ceded place as the most corrupt leader this country has ever had.
It is dangerous to continue to have Obasanjo at the helm of the nation’s affairs. The current mindless orgy of bribery and corruption going on should frighten all of us. He is now the greatest security risk that this nation currently faces. This president must be persuaded to leave power on schedule and, if persuasion fails, he must be helped out!

Source

Corruption Eradication in Nigeria: An Appraisal

Introduction

Some of the things that cause poverty in Nigeria are the Nigerian ruling and business elite. The ruling elite lack the kind of philosophical and ideological vision and orientation that is committed to developing "a dream society." They have no dream beyond the satisfaction of desires. This paper examines the nature of corruption in Nigeria.

Definition

Corruption is a social problem that has interested many scholars. Ruzindana (1999) asserts that corruption in Africa is a problem of routine deviation from established standards and norms by public officials and parties with whom they interact. He also identifisd the types of corruption in Africa as bribery, private gain,  and other benefits to non-existent workers and pensioners (called ghost workers). The dishonest and illegal behavior exhibited especially by people in authority for their personal gain is corruption. According to the ICPC Act (section 2), corruption includes vices like bribery, fraud, and other related offences. Corruption is the abuse or misuse of power or position of trust for personal or group benefit (monetary or otherwise).
Corruption is a symptom of numerous difficulties within contemporary societies. It usually involves more than one party. It takes a form of an organized crime. At times, an organization can be established on corruption to beget corruption. Gbenga (2008) asserts that corruption is contagious. According to thfe perception index of Transparency International, Nigeria was ranked 144th out of the 146 countries, beating Bangladesh and Haiti to last position. An analysis of the anti-graft/anti-corruption laws in Nigeria shows that corruption will continue in spite of the laws because the perpetrators do not fear any consequences. It is now dawning on the Nigerian public that the so-called private enterprise and legislators are free from scrutiny, and governors claim to be immune. Corruption is found in the award of contracts, promotion of staff, dispensation of justice, and misuse of public offices, positions, and privileges, embezzlement of public funds, public books, publications, documents, valuable security, and accounts. Corruption can be systematic in nature and affect the whole life of an organization or society.

Corruption in Nigeria

John Locke outlined the doctrine of the separation of powers, indicating the danger of oppressive and arbitrary rule when all   functions of government are exercised by a single person or institution. The growing corruption in Nigeria can be traced to people holding power at the federal, state, and local government levels. Corruption does not involve just people in government, but also to people in both private and public positions and even traditional rulers .
President Olusegun Obasanjo presented a bill to the national assembly on “the prohibition and punishment of bribery, corruption, and other related offences bill of 1999”. Obasanjo's regime has certainly fired the most critical shot at corruption in Nigeria in recent times. At the federal level, it cannot be business as usual in Nigeria. Corruption has also spread to both the state and local government levels, as well as some decentralized centers of power and authority.
Thomson (2004)  reports on the then National Electric Power Authority (NEPA):
There were powerful views on the problems of corruption. ... You need tip them to get them to rectify a problem, said one, while some people in the focus group thought transformer were being vandalized by NEPA officials to warrant either replacement or repair of the transformer.
Within the educational sector in Nigeria, especially from secondary to  university levels, corruption is very pervasive, and most of which is not in the public eye. Corruption in education includes:

Corrupt Practices by Parents of Students

Parents are known to have used  unorthodox means to influence their children's or wards' admission to federal government secondary schools, commonly referred to as unity schools. A high JAMB score is critical for admission in to the university in Nigeria, and this has led to cheating by some students and parents. There are expensive coaching centers that charge exorbitant fees to guarantee a minimum score of 300 in the JAMB score, which is been orchestrated by coaching centers through aiding and abetting cheating in the JAMB examination with the connivance of JAMB officials.

Corrupt Practices by Lecturers

Within the university system, some students resort to "sorting" (finding ways of purchasing of high and unmerited mark from a lecturer in order to enhance the grade in their final examination.) Such students will then say they have gone into the university and having what they not work for. Lecturers and students print fake receipts, which they use in collecting school fees, and some unsuspecting students are usually discovered by the audit department.

Corrupt Practice by Police

It has been alleged that some unscruplous officers rent firearms to criminals who use them to harass the public and engage in highway robberies.  The police are also alleged to be collecting an unauthorized fee before granting bail to anyone who is arrested. Some police in traffic control collect a graduated illegal charge on all operators of inter- and intra-city. Some tax officials are alleged to be using two types of receipts to collect revenue. Once receipt is the original, and hence genuine, while the second is usually a false one for the collector.s private use, thus depriving government of its legitimate revenue (Bello Iman 2005)

Causes of Corruption in Nigeria

With unchecked, unbridled, and uncontrolled, power, humans become corrupt. According to Thomas Hobbes, “life becomes solitary, nasty, brutish, and short." Our previous colonial background has been identified by scholars. Our colonial heritage has  altered our values and perception of morality; some of the causes of corruption are:
  • Trade Restriction. This is Government-induced source of rent a seeking/corruption. The restriction on importation of foreign automobiles are examples of how government officials and politicians can make quick money via rent seeking/corruption. 
  • Government subsidies. When government allocates scarce recourses to individuals and firms using legal criteria other than the ability or willingness to pay, corruption is likely to be the result. Corruption can thrive under industrial policies that allow poorly-targeted subsidies to be appropriated by firms for which they are not intended.
  • Price controls. The purpose is to lower the price of some goods below market value. For social and political reason, these are also a source of corruption.
  • Low wages in civil service. When public wages are low, public servants may be compelled to use their official positions to collect bribes as a way of making ends meet, particularly when the chances of being caught are low.
  • Sociological factors. Muilti-ethnic societies may be more likely to fall prey to corruption as a result of failure to manage ethnic conflict in a way that is fair to everyone.

Effect of Corruption on Nation-Building

Many have noted the effects of corruption on nation-building. Development scholars observe this effect. Corruption has an adverse effect on social and economic development and also in building a nation. The effects include:
  • Diversion of development resources for private gain
  • Misallocation of talent
  • Lost tax revenue
  • Negative impact on quality of infrastructure and public services
  • Slowing of economic growth.

Role of Law Enforcement in Combating Corruption

Before President Olusegun Obasanjo's regime, the police and some related agencies were the only ones fighting corruption. When Obasanjo became president in 1999, the Economic Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences (ICPC) were put in place, they have dealt seriously with the pandemic situation. The EFCC and ICPC have a number of roles in fighting corruption in Nigeria.  The ICPC is not subject to the direction or control of any person or authority.  The EFCC collaborates with international and local agencies.

Solutions

In order to prevent corruption from happening at all, Nigerian should emphasis transparency, integrity, and accountability in all their private and public transaction. There Achanism Model is named for Achan who appears in the Old Testament of the Bible. Achan in the scripture was avaricious (Joshua 7). He was caught and his entire family was severely dealt with. His children, who might have expected to inherit the proceeds of his illegal act were not allowed to do so. The solution is as follows:


  •  Social Transformation. Rransformation in education of the public is a necessary factor in social transformation. There is need for formation and reformation, orientation and re-orientation of the minds and heart of Nigerians, for them to  see that corruption is the enemy of development.
  • Enforcement of Anti-Corruption Law. The law should be enforced to its fullest and without fear and favor.
  • Improvement of Sociopolitical and Economic Life. This is another weapon against corruption in Nigeria. The multiplying effects of this improvement will reduce the tendency of public servants to demand and take bribes and get involved in other corrupt practices.

Conclusion

Corruption in Nigeria is systematic, and to address the problem a systematic approach is needed. To curb and eventually eradicate corruption, children, youth, and adults must be given the power to distinguish right from wrong. All schools should return to the teaching of moral education to empower children with the spirit of stewardship, while adults live exemplary lives, reflecting truth, kindness, dignity of labour, and integrity. Permit me to conclude with this popular Yoruba moral song on corruption.
1. Kini ni no fole se laye timo wa (2x)
Laye ti mo wa kaka kin jale
Kaka kin jale makuku deru.
Kini ni no fole se laye timo wa.
2. Eni to jale adele ejo (2x)
Adajo awa fewon si lese
Fewon si lese bi olugbe
Eni to jale Adele ejo
3. Aye ema fole segbe ti moni (2x)
Egbe ti moni ewon ko sun won
Ewon ko sun won fomoluwabi
Aye ema fole segbe ti mo ni.
4. Oluwa ma fole segbe ti mo ni (2x)
Egbe ti mo ni kaka kin jale
Kaka kojale bo ba ku to
Aye ema fole s’gbe ti mo ni.
5. Beni to jaleba Lola laye(2x)
Balola laye kole rorun wo
Kole rorun wo bolojo bade
Beni to jale Balola laye.

The condition of peace of mind is contentment.  Thirst for ease of mind. Get satisfaction, be placed with what you have changed to grow, and serve our nation, for God’s sake. Look to see the miseries and damages of graft. Listen today to learn and beautify your society

References

I.B. Bello-Imam (2005).The war against corruption in Nigeria: Prospects and problems.
The Guardian Newspaper. "EFCC; ICPC, record average performance, says poll. April 7 page 13
Olusegun Obasanjo (1990). Inaugural Address, "Was a new dawn delivered on May 29."
Hassan A. Saliu, Ayodele, et al. (2006). The National Question and Some Selected Topics and Issues in Nigeria.
Lai Olurode, et al. Poverty, corruption, social policy and social development.
Haralambous and Horbon (2004). Themes and Perspectives in Sociology. 6th Ed.

Dissertations

Dr (Mrs.); E.A Ogunsanya; (2006). A paper presented on social implication of graft in Nigeria polity Christian, Muslim, and traditional belief (practical orientation)
Isaac A. Olomolaiye ;( 2006). Application of anti-graft act to the private sector: Implication for management and ethics.
Ajayi, Vincent (2006). Sociology of bribery and corruption in Nigerian society

Source

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Seized $15m: Niger Delta activist hails South Africa, tells Jonathan to stop defending corruption

Niger Delta youth leader, Comrade Timi Frank, has thanked Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa and his Government for the recent seizure of $9.3 million and $5.7 million that was allegedly illegally moved to his country by the Federal Government of Nigeria supposedly for the purchase of arms and ammunition.
In a statement made available to DailyPost on Monday, Frank thanked to Mr. Zuma “for a job well done in helping to checkmate this apparent act of corruption through questionable transactions emanating from Nigeria at this time”.
He expressed hope that the United States, Britain, France, China, Japan, Dubai and other African Governments would emulate South Africa in helping to curb corruption in Nigeria especially by intercepting all questionable transactions and proceeds of corruption from Nigeria.

The letter reads further: “We are not unmindful about the fusillade of criticisms that have trailed this patriotic action of yours to have impounded the money until satisfactory explanations are tendered by the Nigerian Government who have claimed ownership of the money. But we want to urge you not to relent in your efforts to help fight corruption in Nigeria despite the scathing criticisms, name calling and fierce intimidation.
“We also want to use this medium to tell the Nigerian Government to stop defending the indefensible. They should own up to reality now that the cat is out of the bag and devise means to remedy the image of the country that has taken undue bashing as a result of this diplomatic fiasco.
“We believe that it is more beneficial to use the time and efforts now being deployed by Nigerian government officials in blaming the South African authorities to identify and bring those responsible for this corrupt and embarrassing act to justice.
“We hold that the South African authorities have not done anything wrong as they are only being strict against corruption in and outside their national boundaries, that is why we are calling on other nations to emulate South Africa.”

The activist called on President Goodluck Jonathan and his government to be fair to Nigerians, noting that “Mr. President is not unaware that corruption is the order of the day in his government today and that urgent and drastic measures are needed to curtail the corruption in Nigeria. Let’s stop with the conspiracy theories, let’s stop defending corruption”.
According to him, recent events showed that the South African Government did not condone or defend corruption like the Nigerian Government.
Continuing, Frank noted that “Today, South Africa agencies are investigating their own president; a similar action in Nigeria would be regarded as anathema.”
“Nigerians know the truth about what is happening. We should stop hiding under insurgency to loot public funds that ought to be channeled to developmental purposes, instead let’s thank the South African Government. Let’s cut our penchant for diverting public funds.

“These kind of illegal transactions have been going on unknown to Nigerians. But for this South African episode, Nigerians would not have known what this administration is doing with tax payer’s money”, the youth leader concluded.

Source

Monday, 13 October 2014

Nigerian billionaire, Dangote, sues Zambian minister over bribe claim

DANGOTE Industries Zambia is suing the country’s Labour Minister, Fackson Shamenda, for defamation after he claimed that a senior company official tried to bribe him, court documents showed Monday.

  The subsidiary of Nigeria's Dangote Group - owned by Aliko Dangote, who is ranked by Forbes magazine as the richest man in Africa - is claiming unspecified damages for slander and libel as well as special damages in the sum of 112,042.84 kwacha ($17,728), according to documents filed in the High Court.

  On September 15, the Post Newspaper carried a story under the headline "Dangote offers Shamenda a bribe" in which the minister claimed that a Nigerian human resources manager from the company offered him a bribe which he rejected.

  "He told me that it was a tradition in their culture to give someone a token of appreciation," Shamenda was quoted as saying.

  "May I take this opportunity to warn Dangote and all other investors in the country to avoid enticing government officials with bribes - it hinders progress."
  Dangote Industries is setting up a multi-million dollar cement plant in Ndola, about 360 kilometres north of the capital, Lusaka.

Source

Friday, 10 October 2014

N4,000 NYSC call-up extortion

SIR: I READ with consternation the news in The Guardian (Saturday, September 20, 2014) that the National Youth Service Commission (NYSC) intends to charge Corps members Four thousand Naira to print their Call Up letters on line. Chief Gordon Bozimo, the Chairman of the NYSC tried to justify the payment, saying it would “improve efficiency and reduce the risk associated with the collection of call up letters” He was quoted to have added that ‘N4,000 is a little compared to what parents spend now’. Will someone tell me since when it has become the responsibility of the end user to pay for the efficiency of a government office? The insensitivity of people in government knows no bounds. Have we no shame anymore, and no sense of propriety?    The Federal Road Safety Commission came up with its own scam sometime ago and fleeced motorists of a large chunk of money for driver’s License and plate numbers. Are Nigerians better off since then? Someone somewhere smiled to the bank. The NYSC is about to do the same. One state government tried a copy cat but public outcry made them to shelve it. The Immigration department did its own version sometime ago with its attendant loss of lives. Despite all the protestations, nothing came out of it.
    Already some schools, with their minimal resources post their examination results and admissions online for students. Why is a government agency unable to budget and do its work within budget without resorting to underhand tactics?
    Why do people in government behave like an army of occupation and show so much disdain for their own people? Is it not the responsibility of government to make life easy for the governed? Why then does the government not make the National Service optional and let us see how many of our children will come forward to endure the indignity to which they are subjected? Have our leaders forgotten the reason why the National Youth Service scheme was instituted? Why does government needlessly make life hard for the average Nigerian?
    On the average, 300,000 persons go for National Service. This Call Up letter Business will fetch the NYSC at least N1.2b. What do they want to do with all this money? What does it take to get the names of candidates onto the Internet and let each person with access print at convenience? Someone should tell those behind this project that using the internet is no longer rocket science.  All other security protocols can be put in place without costing a leg and an arm.
   Clearly this is another case of unconscionable exploitation of the masses, or is it also part of the ingenuity of politicians to raise money for the 2015 election?
    It is heartless for NYSC to dream up this scheme.
Nigerians should Wake up, Speak up and say No to Exploitation. 
• Bolaji D’Almeida,
Lagos

Source

Thursday, 2 October 2014

How to Tackle Corruption Effectively in Nigeria


By
Sam Ejike Okoye


"The accomplice to the crime of corruption is frequently our own indifference." Bess Myerson. (First Jewish Miss America, 1924-?)

Introduction
Bribery, which is an important aspect of corruption, needs two parties for it to happen: the bribe giver and the bribe taker. In some countries the culture of corruption extends to every aspect of public life, making it more or less impossible to stay in business without giving bribes. The most common bribe-giving countries are not in general the same as the most common bribe-taking countries. The 12 least corrupt countries, according to the most recent Transparency International perception survey, are (in alphabetical order): Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, and Switzerland. On the other hand, the 13 most corrupt countries are (in alphabetical order): Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Cameroon, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Tanzania, Uganda, and Ukraine.

In Nigeria, corruption is akin to cancer. As the great English intellectual, Rev Charles Caleb Colton (1780-1932), put it: "Corruption is like a ball of snow, once it's set a rolling it must increase." Indeed this has been the Nigerian experience with corruption developing to such staggering proportions that it is now not only a bane of the country, but has largely defied present and past efforts to stymie it. The position now is that corruption is so entrenched that anyone hoping to do any kind of business with the Nigerian bureaucracy must take it into account. Indeed the situation is now so bad that even some government officials are alleged to bribe one another to get government business done. But in the political arena, Nigeria has found it difficult to prove corruption, but also impossible to prove its absence. Indeed there are indications that many Nigerians, some of them politicians, retired civil servants, judges, and a few generals, have engaged in corrupt practices. Indeed politicians are often placed in apparently compromising positions because of their desperate need to solicit financial contributions ostensibly for their campaigns, but in reality for rigging elections. They appear sometimes to be acting in the interests of those parties that sponsor them, but mostly they are driven by personal aggrandisement.

For the most part, corruption has bedevilled Nigeria’s political scene encompassing abuses by government officials such as embezzlement and nepotism, as well as abuses linking public and private actors such as bribery, extortion, influence peddling, and fraud. As the award winning US scientist and social critic, David Brin, put it: "It is said that power corrupts, but actually it's truer that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power." Indeed there is a certain nexus between mediocrity and corruption which so far has been ignored in the Nigerian corruption equation. May be as David Brin suggests, it is the wrong people that get into positions of influence and merit in Nigeria (thanks to “federal character affirmative action based only on arbitrarily created states of origin”). For this reason, the question that Nigerians should be asking is not, who among the moneyed elite class is corrupt? But, who is NOT corrupt? That this must be so is evident from the way many Nigerians today seem to live above their visible legitimate incomes. Otherwise how does one explain the sources for the financing of those luxurious, palatial, stately mansions (that have mushroomed in many Nigerian cities, towns, and even villages), not to speak of the sumptuously lavish social parties and very expensive top-end luxury cars put on display by a large number of businessmen, senior public servants and military personnel, serving and retired. Perhaps the real challenge with tackling corruption in Nigeria is that most of the corruption warriors (in the form of the policy makers, the legislators, the police and the judiciary) pressed into service are themselves not exactly clean. These are the realities that have stared past and present Nigerian leaders on the face as they moan about corruption and pretend to fight it.

Causes of corruption
Although Nigerian leaders in the last twenty to thirty years have made such a sing-song of fighting corruption, it does not appear that any serious effort has been made to address the real causes of corruption. Thus without a proper diagnosis of the causes of corruption, trying to fight it is akin to treating symptoms rather than rooting out the disease itself. This unfortunately appears to be the strategy adopted so far in fighting corruption in Nigeria. We must now attempt to answer the questions that Nigerians should be asking their crusaders of corruption. What indeed are the domestic causes of corruption in one of the world’s most corrupt countries?

It is necessary to observe that aside from the quality, or lack of it, of people running the Nigerian economic and political shows, there are some systemic conditions in the Nigerian polity that promote corruption. To start with, it is unfortunate that power is concentrated in the hands of decision makers who in reality are not directly accountable to the people as is often seen in non-democratic regimes. This is a direct result of Nigeria’s inability since independence to always conduct credible, free, fair and uncontroversial elections to political offices in the country. With political office holders acquiring power through disputable if not illegitimate methods, the situation is not helped by perennial lack of government transparency in decision making. Again costly political campaigns in recent times, with expenses exceeding normal sources of political funding mean that elected officials’ first priority on assuming office is to recoup their election expenses. This is facilitated by the design of marginally relevant prestige projects requiring expenditure of large amounts of public capital. In the subsequent award of contracts for these projects, self-interested closed cliques, ethnic-cum-family members, and "old-boy" networks are favoured. The bulk of the bureaucracy (often poorly paid) and bedevilled with below-living wages and supported by apathetic, uninterested, or gullible populace, become actors and accomplices in the public contracts gravy train. With a weak rule of law in the land and the absence of adequate controls to prevent bribery, the express corruption train rolls on.

But the crux of the present Nigerian corruption problem is the overarching crude oil economy and politics. It is not a secret that “lifting crude oil” is a major form of political patronage in Nigeria since the 1970s oil boom. Indeed since the advent of the oil boom in the 1970s, Nigerians have developed an unhealthy love for easy wealth and luxury goods while at the same time loosing their traditional appetite for hard work, as well as the knack to generate resources and accumulate capital. Instead the national preoccupation now is the sharing of the so-called “national cake” which in an imposed quasi-federal regime has been raised to the high level of state policy via a revenue sharing formula! With the spending of Nigerian oil incomes in the Gowon days being declared to be a problem, Nigerian agriculture (the former mainstay of the Nigerian economy) was abandoned and the many assembly plants that masqueraded as manufacturing industries soon followed suit.

According to allegations made by some members of the House of Representatives, the Nigerian oil industry appears to be a den of corruption. If their allegation is to be believed, no one outside a certain restricted inner circle of government knows exactly how much oil income flows into the national coffers. Not even the legislature could compel the executive to exhibit total transparency in the handling of Nigeria’s oil resources. As if to underline this situation the new Minister of Solid Mineral Resources, Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili, while speaking recently in Port Harcourt at the road show of the Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) accused oil and gas companies operating in the country of corrupt practices, and said that was the reason why they avoid disclosure of their annually generated revenue and expenditures.

Indeed for a long time, Nigeria was the only OPEC member without an oil minister. The reason for this anomaly could be that the President, who himself is presumed to not only be clean, but the de facto oil minister, may have believed that no other Nigerian could be trusted with honest management of such a major source of Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings. But following the conclusion of the recent National Political Reform Conference and the controversy for “resource control” demand by the South-South zone that trailed it, the President perhaps in a deft move to deliver a sop to the South-South zone has now appointed an oil technocrat from Bayelsa State as petroleum minister of state while remaining the de facto oil minister. Nonetheless, it is difficult not to suspect that any transaction shrouded in secrecy, as is the case in the oil industry, may not be free from corrupt practices or even above board. It seems logical that any effort to tackle corruption in Nigeria must start with sanitizing the oil industry, because of its all pervading knock-on effects on other sectors of the national economy.
The effects of corruption
Corruption poses a serious development challenge. In the political realm, it undermines democracy and good governance by subverting formal processes. Corruption in elections and in legislative bodies reduces accountability and fair representation in policymaking; corruption in the judiciary undermines or suspends the rule of law; and corruption in public administration results in the unequal provision of services. More generally, corruption erodes the institutional capacity of government as procedures are disregarded, resources are siphoned off, and officials are hired or promoted without regard to performance. At the same time, corruption undermines the legitimacy of government and such democratic values as trust and tolerance.

Corruption also undermines economic development by generating considerable distortions and inefficiency. In the private sector, corruption increases the cost of business through the price of illicit payments themselves, the management cost of negotiating with officials, and the risk of breached agreements or detection. Although some claim corruption reduces costs by cutting red tape, an emerging consensus holds that the availability of bribes induces officials to contrive new rules and delays. Where corruption inflates the cost of business, it also distorts the playing field, shielding firms with connections from competition and thereby sustaining inefficient firms.

Corruption also generates economic distortions in the public sector by diverting public investment into capital projects where bribes and kickbacks are more plentiful. Officials may increase the technical complexity of public sector projects to conceal such dealings, thus further distorting investment. Corruption also lowers quality of standards of compliance with construction, environmental, or other regulations; reduces the quality of government services and infrastructure as is too evident to Nigerians; and increases budgetary pressures on government. This may be the reason why in spite of the unprecedented hikes in crude oil prices that have led to the so-called excess oil revenues, the federal government is still finding it quite difficult to balance its annual budgets.

Economists argue that one of the factors behind the differing economic development in Africa and Asia is that in Africa, corruption has primarily taken the form of rent extraction with the resulting financial capital moved overseas rather than invested at home (hence the stereotypical, but sadly often accurate, image of African dictators having Swiss bank accounts). Also, corruption has been identified as the main cause of poverty and underdevelopment in most African countries. By contrast, Asian dictators such as Suharto had often taken a cut on everything (requiring bribes), but otherwise provided more of the conditions for development, through infrastructure investment, law and order, etc.

Political corruption is widespread in many countries, and represents a major detriment to the well-being of their citizens. Political corruption means that government policies tend to benefit the givers of the bribes, not the general public. Another example is how politicians would draft laws that protect large corporations while hurting small businesses. These "pro-business" politicians are simply returning favours to those commercial enterprises that contributed heavily to their election campaigns.

How to wage a credible war on Corruption.
The establishment of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as well as the Code of Conduct Bureau and its Tribunal is a laudable start on the war against corruption. Unfortunately, though some successes have been registered by these bodies, the general impression is that these bodies have gone after the tail of the monster of corruption rather than its head. It is not helpful that some politicians meanwhile allege that these bodies are being used by the Presidency as instruments of blackmail or vendetta against political opponents. There is therefore a need to expand the activities and range of instruments available to these bodies.

Indeed, an effective war on corruption has to be fought on, at least, the three axes of (a) Prevention, (b) Detection, and (c) Sanctions and Restitutions. While to date some efforts have been made in terms of the prevention (e.g. the Due Process mechanism) and sanctions of corruption offenders, present efforts being made to detect corruption are at best half-hearted. It is no wonder that when some time ago the Nigerian media accused a former military head of state of embezzlement of public funds, Mr. President was to retort that he would take immediate action if he is provided with actual evidence of wrong-doing of this particular predecessor. Yet the President himself announced that he has received the names of some naughty public officials who have been reported to him by Nigeria’s western creditors as having siphoned and are still siphoning some huge resources abroad. Clearly Nigeria needs robust corruption detection and bursting agency as up and doing, and as zealous as the Nigerian Police Force sometimes demonstrates at road check points, and the SSS always exhibits in matters of the President’s personal security.
Prevention of corruption

If corruption is to be given a short shrift in Nigeria, then the social, business and bureaucratic environments must be corruption-hostile rather than friendly. This means that there must be well funded comprehensive public education and enlightenment programs on the nature of corruption as well as the negative effects of corruption in the Nigerian polity. This is a job that the National Orientation Agency (NOA) as well as the Federal and State Ministries of Information must undertake. This could take the form of well tested public enlightenment techniques such as the use of hand bills, public posters, print media adverts and Radio and TV jingles. At the same time, the citizenry must be made aware of the stiff penalties that await those to be engaged in corrupt practices. To this end, certain legal instruments must be put in place to enable unfettered corruption detection, arraignment and conviction to be facilitated. In this regard, appropriate legislation should be enacted along the following lines:
A law compelling all banks to report to both the appropriate Federal and State Boards of Inland Revenue/Tax Authorities, as well as the law enforcement agencies any deposits, transfers or withdrawals of funds in excess of a specified amount (e.g. N5 million) by any individual. Such a law should provide for the automatic State confiscation if it turns out that the sources of such funds are proved in a court of law to be illegitimate or are connected with illicit money laundering.

A law requiring tax in the form of “capital gains tax” to be levied against people who appear to have come into large sums of money illegitimately or even legitimately, other than as a result of a legitimate business transaction (for example, accruals to registered businessmen who have declared taxable business profits), or otherwise sums received by a salaried person as part of an emolument package (for which normal income taxes would have been paid).

A law requiring the Federal and State Ministries responsible for Lands and Housing to make it a condition for the granting of Certificates of Occupancy, as well as for approval of building plans on registered plots of land, to require applicants to indicate legal sources of funds for the development or purchase of a landed property, as well as evidence of income taxes being paid that are commensurate with the acquisition or possession of such valued property in question.

A law enabling the Federal and State Tax Assessment and Collection Agencies as well as the Anti-Corruption Intelligence Agency (discussed below) and the Police to demand explanations for large acquisitions and expenditures (for any purpose including donations and pledges at “public launches“and other events) of large sums of money beyond the legitimate incomes whether of public servants or private entrepreneurs, and to impound same when sources for such funds cannot be justified in a court of law.

A law requiring the mandatory public declaration of the assets of the “immediate family” (meaning husband, wife and children) of all specified senior public officers on appointment or assumption of duty as well as after disengagement. In addition such assets (which must be covered by the Freedom of Information Act) must be verified and monitored routinely by the Anti-Corruption Intelligence Agency and the EFCC. (In this regard, it is relevant to observe that Nigerians can be very creative over asset declaration. Hence an elected or appointed official who targets stealing 100 million naira during his/her term in office could, for example, declare 105 million naira upon assumption of office. Usually, the declaration is taken on its face value; no further attempt is made to ascertain that the official is actually worth the declared amount. He/She subsequently would steal 100 million and when he/she is about to leave office, he/she declares 100 million plus whatever little money he/she might have made legitimately. No one can query the loot because it was declared when the official came into office. Hence what the government should do is to demand physical evidence of the declared assets and at the same time establish their legitimacy).
A law should be enacted, declaring all crimes of corruption “federal crimes” justiciable in federal courts or tribunals.
Finally, a law should be enacted creating Federal Tribunals for Corruption offences (FTCO). The powers of such courts, sitting in Abuja and State capitals, and the form of sentences within their scope must be carefully spelt out, and the court or courts of final appeal specified.

It is relevant to mention that virtually every American is wary of the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS), because it can land on anyone’s doorstep, at any time and indeed, the IRS has the power to examine anyone’s lifestyle and to ask for explanations about one’s sources of income, and woe betides anyone who is unable to account for any newfound wealth. That in a nutshell is the sort of social environment that must be established in Nigeria if a credible start is to be made in the difficult job of corruption prevention and eradication.

Detection of corruption
It is often said that it is difficult to nail down corrupt officials, but it has to be observed that such circumstantial evidence as someone’s luxurious or flamboyant lifestyles, could easily give away a corrupt person and lead to detection. Unfortunately, Nigerians are not in the habit of questioning the sources of sudden wealth. Instead those who flaunt unexplained sudden wealth are extolled. Moreover, it has to be understood that corruption is a crime of calculation not passion. When bribes are large, the chances of being caught small, and penalties if caught meager, many officials will succumb to corruption. The problem in Nigeria is that when corrupt officials are caught, they are not punished severely. Most of the time, the authorities go through the motions (e.g., fanfare in the media about the apprehension and trial but then nothing happens). Severe sanctions that are actually required to act as a deterrent are not applied. Nevertheless, corruption like crimes relating to sedition and national security are often hatched in secrecy and without an effective intelligence facility, it would be difficult if not impossible for government to expose and scuttle corruption. Because corruption is a very serious crime, its detection must follow a similar route as the detection of other crimes which are often aided in the advanced countries by “wire tapping” and the use of secret informants. Hence Nigeria should give the country’s law enforcement agencies the leeway to use electronic intelligence gathering techniques to catch offenders of corrupt practices. In looking for evidence of corrupt deeds of accused persons, government should set up a corruption intelligence agency similar to the “E Branch” and the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) of the Nigeria Police Force. In other words, there is a need for government to establish a well funded Anti-Corruption Intelligence Agency (ACIA) which can be a stand-alone agency that could have a relationship with the present Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) as well as the EFCC, but which preferably should report to the Federal Minister of Justice (which ideally should be different from the Attorney-General of the Federation). The legislation establishing the ACIA should provide for powers of arrest and detention (for a limited short period) of accused or indicted persons as well as the power to use electronic intelligence techniques to apprehend their quarry. Efforts should also be made by the Presidency and the National Assembly to ensure that funding of the ACIA is made part and parcel of the national security vote. But if different, the ACIA funding must be comparable in size and handling to the security vote, since corruption in the end impinges very significantly on overall national security.

Sanctions and restitution from those found guilty of corruption.
Before discussing methods and forms of trial and sanctions of those indicted of corruption, it is necessary to observe at the outset that it is immoral to allow those indicted of corruption offences to be allowed to still enjoy their alleged loot while their trial is in progress. In this regard, there should be established, interest yielding escrow accounts maintained by the ACIA where any seized funds suspected to be associated with corrupt activities will be lodged. If at the end of trial, the accused persons are found innocent, all seized assets must be returned in full and any seized funds returned with commensurate interests, except that such persons will not be entitled to subsequently sue the ACIA claiming damages for any wrongful arrest or detention.

However application of sanctions on corruption offenders must always be a matter for the courts of the land. However in handling corruption cases, the current arcane court processes and rules that lead to delayed justice because of legal technicalities and endless injunctions and adjournments of court proceedings based on contrived court motions and legal arguments by counsels on both sides must be dispensed with in corruption cases. To this end, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) should come up with home grown fast track procedures, including rules of evidence, for handling cases in Corruption Tribunals. Indeed election tribunals could also benefit from such fast track procedures to deal with election results petitions arising from election malpractices, which represent a veritable form of political corruption.
Where persons or group of individuals or corporate bodies have been convicted of corrupt practices, any funds or assets seized by law enforcement agencies must automatically be forfeited to the relevant arm of government which has been a victim of such corruption. In addition, persons convicted of corrupt practices must be disqualified from holding any public office for a specified period, such as ten years. In the case of convicted corporate bodies, sentencing will include heavy fines as well as the suspension of any legal instruments that facilitate their existence and enable them to operate in Nigeria. In addition, the executive directors of corporate firms convicted of corrupt practices will be debarred from serving on the boards of any publicly quoted companies or holding any elective political office, for a specified period, such as ten years.

Epilogue
"Power does not corrupt men. Fools, however, if they get into a position of power, corrupt power."
–George Bernard Shaw

It is often claimed that corruption like prostitution cannot be wiped out entirely in any society. This may well be so. But it seems evident from the examples of some virtually corruption free countries, like the Scandinavian countries, that any country, that can muster the will, can indeed reduce corruption to the barest minimum. This is the gauntlet that Nigeria must embrace. For a start, the war on corruption will be bedevilled by quite a few people of questionable integrity that have already worked their way into positions of political (executive and legislative), judicial, corporate and bureaucratic authority and influence. Hence Nigeria must draw a line somewhere and grant amnesty to past offenders of corruption up to an arbitrarily set cut-off date to be determined. But the key to preventing and controlling further corruption crimes is to implement such measures geared towards prevention, detection, sanctions and restitutions as suggested in this article. These measures, particularly the sanctions, may appear draconian and stringent. This may not sit well with some Nigerians who may feel they will loose out. Indeed from the experience at the recently concluded National political Reform Conference(NPRC), some Nigerians did not seem to have the stomach for the imposition of stiff sanctions on those that destroyed the Nigerian economy and rendered at least a hundred million Nigerians destitute, and in like manner left hundreds of thousands (including children) dying annually because of malnutrition and lack of adequate medical care (a crime that compares well with genocide) arising from official corruption and poor governance. The debate at the NPRC, about disqualifying former military rulers (who came to power by force) from occupying any elective offices, soon took a sectional coloration and vehemently resisted by some retired military officers. In the controversy, disqualification (which in the present constitution even applies to illiterates and criminals) was simply equated to a blanket ban.

When all is said and done, Nigerians must not forget where the country would have been today had they not been subjected to the misfortune of being ruled by selfish and self serving leaders. But it is not enough to start a credible war on corruption. The Nigerian elites and the political class in particular, must get their acts together and desist from the malaise of indifference that has overtaken them since the military entered into national governance and politics. They owe it to their compatriots to politically re-engineer their country by restoring in Nigeria the true structures of federalism dismantled by their erstwhile military rulers. Even so, it is one thing to politically re-engineer the country and another thing to make it work. After all, one cannot hope to achieve a victory in a grand prix by putting a bad driver in the driving seat of the best engineered racing car. Hence the rules of the political game in Nigeria must be reviewed to open up the political space and to make it attractive for Nigeria’s best minds, as well as men and women of ability, commitment and integrity to volunteer to serve the people by joining the partisan political arena without the handicap of not having the financial clout that present day politicking demands.

Nigeria has indeed been endowed (thank God!) with all the human and natural resources it takes and requires, to become a great African and world power. But she cannot achieve that potential by her relying on mediocrity and people of questionable integrity to run her affairs.
Sam Okoye, a former Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and former Science Attaché at the Nigeria, High Commission, London, writes from London.

Source

Nigerians got $533m bribe in ENI oil deal

Italian prosecutors investigating state-backed firm ENI SpA over the purchase of a Nigerian oil field three years ago allege that at least half of the $1.1 billion paid was used to bribe local politicians, intermediaries and others, according to official documents and a person close to the investigation.
The Milan prosecutors have placed the Italian oil company, its former chief executive Paolo Scaroni and CEO Claudio Descalzi under investigation for alleged international corruption surrounding the deal for the OPL 245 offshore oil field concession.
ENI and both managers, neither of who has been charged, have denied any wrongdoing.
Calling on their United Kingdom (UK) counterpart to assist in freezing suspect assets, Italian prosecutors said in a letter to the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) seen by Reuters that at least $533 million was paid to Nigerian officials and intermediaries who helped secure the sale.
The case has been a setback for the government of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, because Italy’s 39-year-old leader hand-picked company veteran Descalzi to run Eni as part of a recent management overhaul at the country’s state-controlled companies. Renzi has publicly supported Descalzi and said no conclusions should be drawn before the investigation is completed.
ENI and Royal Dutch Shell, which is not under investigation, bought the rights to the OPL 245 offshore oil licence block from the Nigerian government in 2011.
Production from the deepwater oil field is expected to begin in 2016 with the field estimated to hold up to 9.23 billion barrels of crude, equivalent to nearly a quarter of the country’s total proven reserves, according to industry figures.
An aide to Renzi told Reuters the case involving Eni, which is Italy’s biggest company by market capitalisation and the state’s biggest asset, was “not a big cause for concern at the moment”.
As part of their investigation, the Italian prosecutors in May asked the UK’s CPS to freeze $85 million in assets related to a Nigerian company, Malabu Oil & Gas, that prosecutors say was involved in the sale, according to a copy of the official request sent by the Milan investigators and seen by Reuters.
In the letter, the Italian prosecutors alleged that Scaroni and Descalzi oversaw the payments to parties who helped secure the sale. In a second letter they alleged that some of the ultimate recipients of alleged bribes used the money to buy aircraft and armoured cars.
“We are investigating many money transfers to many people in various countries who received sums that vary from millions of dollars to thousands of dollars,” the prosecutors said in the follow-up letter, seen by Reuters.
In response to the requests London’s Southwark Crown Court last month granted an order to seize the $85 million in assets related to Malabu, according to a judicial source.
London’s Metropolitan Police has also been investigating aspects of the Nigerian deal since last year. A police spokesman said the inquiry into allegations of money laundering is continuing.
Descalzi and Scaroni, in statements and through their lawyers, denied that they were involved in any illegal behaviour. Descalzi also told Eni employees in an email seen by Reuters that he had not engaged in any wrongdoing.
After a board meeting last week, ENI also reiterated that the company had not engaged in any wrongdoing and that it had “full confidence that Descalzi had acted properly.”
The OPL 245 block licence has long been the subject of dispute. It was first awarded a decade ago by military dictator Sani Abacha to Malabu Oil & Gas for a publicly-stated $20 million.
After the death of Abacha, a new Nigerian government annulled the deal. Malabu’s licence was reinstated in 2006.
Reuters was not able to locate Malabu for comment, and it is unclear whether the company still exists.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), did not reply to questions sent by Reuters asking about the investigation by Italian prosecutors.
Shell, which is not under investigation in any case, released a statement saying: “Shell companies have acted at all times in accordance with both Nigerian law and the terms of the OPL 245 resolution agreement with.”

Monday, 22 September 2014

Towards Curtailing Corruption In Nigeria

MANY Nigerians were tranquillized when the global anti-corruption watchdog announced that our country is one of the 35th most corrupt countries in the world. To some people, the situation in the country is worse than what was reflected in the latest corruption perception table. Most people believe that in Nigeria, all kinds of evil act corrupt act is obtainable in the country life wire.

Corruption is the major hindrance, a big obstacle to the development across all sectors in Nigeria, this is because virtually all sectors in the country are all corrupt. It has eaten deep into the life wire of the country and that is why it seems as nothing is been done about it.

Nigerian government, police, civil service and businesses are plagued by bribery, extortion and other forms of corruption. While many points to a failure of leadership; corruption is largely a product of an economy fueled almost exclusively by petroleum with no vested interest in developing Nigeria’s infrastructure and manufacturing sectors. The wealthy simply profit from oil while the country wallows deeper into economic chaos.

Nigeria’s roads are dominated by check points where law enforcement agents often demand that their palms be greased before travelling.

They’ve turned check points into bribe collecting points and that is more reason terrorists, kidnappers and other hoodlums are not caught in most of their activities. What do you expect when a security man whose attention supposed to be on the individuals that look suspicious is focused on the drivers hand hoping to get N20.

Nigeria as a nation is falling deeper into corruption day by day, can you tell me any sector in this country that is free from bribery and corruption? I doubt because even in football, players most times bribed coaches for them to play for the next game.

Moving aside entirely to the education sector where most times students who are not qualified at the time of the examination are the ones that are referred to as undergraduates. There have been complaints that the Nigerian education sector is poor; why won’t it be, when money is being collected to admit students into higher institution. Have you asked yourself why students mostly score higher in Jamb and when it comes to PUME, reverse is the case; that will show the level of corruption, bribery and exam malpractice in education system. Very soon in Nigeria the poor who cannot afford to pay up to #150,000, cannot be admitted into the university.

The main issue about corruption in Nigeria does not lie with our government or civil service alone, citizens are also involved in this act.

An electorate sells his/her vote for just a thousand naira that not is even enough for air time subscription as a result of poverty.

The focal point about corruption in Nigeria to a large extent lies right in Aso rock with those that wine and dine with the people in the floor of power both at the national and the state to local level. Embezzling public fund is no more news in the country, it has become a normal daily activities. In this country, abnormality has become normality and that is more reason why all efforts to curtail corruption in the country has become negative.

The country has become so corrupt that the public servants have totally lost trust in the government. The public servants hardly believe anything that the government says which are yet to be implemented. This is because the leadership in the country so far has been treading and is still treading on the ground of promise and fail.

ASUU embarked on strike for a period of 6months last year, even when the government promised to meet up with their demands. There seemed to be no credibility in what government dishes out to the public anymore.

Nowadays we hear such comments likes “ I pray o” whenever it’s heard that the government has embarked on one project or another, the citizens have doubts about that.

It would be difficult to identify any Nigerian leader who can be said to be successful in fulfilling his promises to the country. No doubt, the country is in this current depressing and distasteful state because her leaders at various levels of government over the years have perfected the art of saying something and to an extent doing another almost at the same time. Even when any effort or whatsoever are made, it is, almost always contrary to the promise made.

Human right watch estimated that the epidemic nature of corruption led to the loss of $380bn worth of revenue between 1999 and 2007in Nigeria. Then about 47 percent of companies that do business in Nigeria till date are Said to be experts to make facilitation payments to public officials in order to get them to do their work. To the observers, the parliament and the political parties are the most corrupt institutions; in line with this, I believe that corruption within the bureaucracy is equally as virulent, commenting on this issue in his article “are we really winning the war Against corruption” Uche Igwe said. That , “a major chunk of public sector corruption happens within the Nigerian civil service.

The civil service is meant to be the bureaucracy that services the policy implementation process, but today it has been turned into an arena of looting. Corruption in the civil service is the rule rather than the exception, Uch Igwee added. There is this popular saying “wait for your turn” that is to say that one has to patiently wait till he/she gets to higher position and only then and only then can he join the club of bribe collectors and money embezzlers. But this is what happens in a state where abnormality has become normality.

Most persons enter offices with goodwill but after some time, they begin to understand that one cannot bite more than he can chew. Even at the house of assembly and others at the local level, anyone who fights against corruption in his office stands a risk of being impeached. In most cases, they set the person up. Nigerian offices are dens of lions where three things are involved; it’s either you join the club, resign or face allegation that could lead to your impeachment, that is the situation of things in Nigerian politics and other sectors in the country.

The country has presented a bad image of herself in the eyes of other countries. Nigerians in other countries of the world are often suspected because of the evil deeds that those in power are not willing and ready to stop.

So far, the main avenue for war against corruption in Nigeria is through .the establishment of anti-corruption agencies. There are multiple versions of these agencies, each pursuing after complex, competing, divergent, and often overlapping mandate in Nigeria. All well and good but what has been their impact? Some of those agencies have turned out to be the biggest channels for corruption themselves. Some of these agencies when they apprehend someone, instead of charging the person to court, their pocket would be charged with money and that’s the end of such cases.

The anti-corruption agencies have failed. Money controls their minds, even those who wish to fight corruption, their ‘oga at the top’ would suppress their efforts.

Lest we forget, in time past, agricultural and economic indices have largely dictated a country’s growth and increases in complexity and development.

Today, these variables are not all together rendered negligible, but they can hardly match the autocratic nature of influence handled by the political factors within the political sector that weave the fabric of country’s internal development and external relationships with foreign nations. That is why Nigerians have lost all available faith in the possibility of a legitimately elected representative of the people as it concerns the elective process for change of government.

The unending corruption which has eaten deep into the fabrics of our system has helped no one either as both the government and the governed seemed to have been carried away by the turbulent sea of western dependency.

Nigeria is wallowing in corruption, even the coming generation now subconsciously prepare fertile ground for the seed of corruptive influences like grafting, misappropriation and illicit propensity of for wealth.

It is in Nigeria we have, though in small number, members of the so called ‘CABAL’ who seems to be in absolute control of the electoral process, which according to concerned Nigerian citizens has ironically become ‘selection’ as opposed to an election process. It is regrettable to realize that the dreams and counsel of our founding elders has been forsaken for many years to embrace corruption and the profit of greed. Our national anthem reads “arise o compatriots”, how many of our leaders are patriots, you as an individual, how patriotic are you?Feigning ignorance to this prevalent attitude of our rulers and the “chop as I chop” concept a present part and reality of the Nigerian government administration. Should Nigerians resign to a fate of failure and hopelessness without repair? Answer to this question is cryptic for it would only lead to more questions.
However, there is a plausible possibility for a purge of all impurities from our present polity even though a change has never been a welcome verb for discussion where poorer and politics are concerned. But since, “nature is change is nature, then nature is the part of existence we can affect or effect”. The limited success in the war against corruption has bred deep cynicism among the Nigerian people capable of subverting trust in a democratic system of government.

Conclusively, in a bid to curtail corruption in Nigeria, an effective anti-corruption agency must command public respect, be credible, transparent accountable, and fearless. It must mobilize the necessary political will as well as enjoy considerable operational independence. Since the war against corruption formally resumed in Nigeria for years, the verdict is that it has been less than effective. Our leaders should restore purity and sanity into the system and reduce the rate at which they perpetrate evil in the country and other sector officials should as well refine and redefine their minds of corruption and bribery.

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