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Saturday, 30 August 2014

Court Dismisses N10 Million Bribe Allegation Against EFCC

Lagos — A Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday dismissed a N10 million bribe allegation against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by a foreign exchange trader, Chinedu Chimelue Eze-Akudo.
The trader had in a fundamental rights enforcement suit, which he filed before the court against the EFCC, alleged that operatives of the commission demanded N10 million as bribe from him before he could be granted administrative bail.
However, Justice Okon Abang, while delivering judgment in the suit, discountenanced the allegation on the ground that no evidence was adduced to prove the said allegation.
Abang also said that the EFCC committed no crime in arresting the applicant (Eze-Akudo).
The judge held that from the processes before him, it was evident that the EFCC granted the applicant administrative bail, but he could not meet the conditions attached to the said bail.
According to the judge, the fundamental rights enforcement application filed by the applicant was incompetent in that the EFCC was not in breach of the fundamental rights of the applicant, and so the agency could not be held liable of any breach in the performance of its statutory duties.
Abang dismissed the suit and awarded N15,000 cost in favour of the EFCC against the applicant.
The applicant, who is still in custody, was arrested on May 4, 2014 for allegedly committing economic crimes to the tune of N17 million.
The petition that led to the arrest of the applicant was written by Unity Bank over alleged funds transfer fraud.

Source

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Protest in Bayelsa As Policeman Hits Pregnant Woman Over Alleged N50 Bribe

enagoa — Operators of commercial tricycle in Bayelsa State, popularly known as Keke Napep, yesterday staged a protest against alleged excessive use of force and extortion by policemen along the streets and highways. They also said a pregnant woman was assaulted by a police inspector along the Azikoro way in the state.
The police inspector, whose identity is still unknown, was reported to have use the butt of his official rifle to hit the pregnant woman while trying to hit a Keke Napep driver who had refused to part with a N50 bribe.
While some senior officials of the Azikoro Divisional Police Headquarters described the action of the police inspector as
"careless" and denied the alleged use of the butt of the rifle, the irate protesters claimed the action of the policeman led to excessive bleeding of the pregnant women from the mouth.
The pregnant woman, according to the protesters, had been rushed to a private hospital known as Glory Land Hospital. A police source claimed a scan had been conducted which pronounced her and the pregnancy okay.
It was gathered that the attempt by the protesters to barricade the premises of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) along the Azikoro Road was thwarted by armed policemen who shot teargas into the crowd.
One of the protesting Keke Napep drivers, Kingsley Okubo, told The Guardian that the activities of policemen at check-points during the day and at night are unbecoming.
He said: "This is a small state but the amount paid as bribe to policemen is exorbitant and fearful. Can you imagine we pay as much as N600 daily. It is wrong and criminal.
"Most of our passengers are being embarrassed by these policemen at night. They extort us and some of the passengers. They call everyone criminal even while they know that some of them are just going to clubs or bars for relaxation. It is wrong and not speaking well about night life in the state."
Contacted on the development, the spokesman of the Bayelsa State Police Command, Mr. Alex Akhigbe, said though he had been briefed, "the command will investigate the incident."

Source

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Corruption in Nigeria

opinion
"I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet"
Mahatma Ghandhi
The parable of the wise and foolish builder as illustrated by Jesus in the Bible (Matthew 7: 24-27 and Luke 6: 46-49) is a complete similitude of events in Nigeria Jesus while emphasising the need to put His teaching into practice used this illustration and he emphasised the need to build the house on the rock and not on the sand. The house built on the rock can withstand the rain wind and flood, but on the contrary, the house built on the sand was swept away very easily when rain, wind and flood came calling.
Let's call a spade a spade; the level of corruption in Nigeria is astronomical. Corruption runs in the blood of most Nigerians and they are ready to participate in corruption at the earliest blast of the whistle. Nigeria is a house built on the sand of corruption, but regrettably its people expect it to withstand the calamities and afflictions that go with such quest.
Many Nigerians will profess several verbiages to convince themselves that they are not part of the Nigerian corruption. They convince themselves that things are not what they are and expunge fallacious claims to support every corrupt practise. The fact remains that Nigeria is corrupt by default.
Irrespective of what you convince yourself to belief, the fact cannot be erased. Nigerians live, dine and wine in corruption and these corruptions run from the leaders to the common man on the streets. The leaders steal and share the big money, while the rest steal and share the money left. You can hide the fire that is burning, but you can't hide the smoke. The smoke is everywhere, nothing gets done except bribe changes hands. Ask for a little favour without throwing a bribe, then consider the job best ignored.
Everywhere you go is the same from the public sector to private institutions, everyone readily participates in bribery. I cannot overemphasis the fact that we all need a radical change in our ways. Let's call a spade a spade, we cannot continue to live this way and expect to get a sudden transformation. Life is only a miracle to those who obey the rules. You cannot live your life anyhow and expect to get a worthwhile result out of it. Until we all stamp out corruption, yes every one of us, Nigeria may not yet be ready.
We need determination and discipline to live corruption free life. Bribery and corruption have become part of our culture and way of life. We are so much enmeshed in it that it ceases to make any difference to us anymore. Corruption is now normal. If you can't beat them, you better join them, they say, but must we live our lives this way? Nigeria has reached the climax of corruption; you either play by the rule or get sucked in forever. You are not allowed to say no to bribery and corruption, if you do, you may get cut down in their wheel of scandals.
This unfortunate predicament has got to a very dangerous level such that it now runs in every sector of the economy, from judiciary to legislature, executive to business, religion to education, health to power generation and many more. Nothing works on merit in Nigeria; you either pay for it or lose out on it. It's sad, really sad. How can we continue to live our lives this way?
Let's join hands to say no to corruption. Let all Nigerians play their part in stamping out this deadly practice. We cannot be free if we continue to sell our conscience for money. Edmund Burke wrote; "among a people generally corrupt, liberty cannot long exist." We need to come together and say no to corruption in Nigeria, which is the only way forward.

Source

Anti-corruption Groups want SSS Spokesperson, Marilyn Ogar interrogated over N14 million bribery allegation

The Civil Society Network Against Corruption, CSNAC, has demanded an immediate investigation into the claims that operatives of the State Security Service, SSS, were offered N14 million during the just concluded Osun gubernatorial election.

The group, a coalition of over 150 anti-corruption organizations, said that the act is an offence punishable under the corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

In a petition dated August 18, 2014, and addressed to the Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, the group demanded that the SSS Spokesperson be invited for questioning.

Marilyn Ogar, the SSS Spokesperson, had, last week, accused an unnamed political party of attempting to bribe two of the agency’s operatives with N14 million to help them subvert the electoral process.

The SSS Spokesperson had also angered civil society activists after she blamed the All Progressives Congress, APC, for the spate of bombings across Nigeria.

“Last week Thursday, 14th August 2014, marks a turning point in the operation, perception and integrity of Nigeria’s security agencies, with the highly controversial assertions of the loquacious Director of the State Security Service,” the anti-corruption group stated in the petition signed by Olanrewaju Suraju, its Chairman.

“In the condemnable practice of conducting intelligence operations in the public space, the SSS Director has severally exposed the agency to public opprobrium with her gaffe and politicization of serious security issues in the country. This obviously, is antithetical to the primary responsibilities of the agency.

“At a media presentation, convened to review the role of security personnels in the just concluded August 9 gubernatorial election in Osun State, Ms. Ogar ignominiously descended into the political arena with jab of several allegations against the opposition party, an act reminiscence of the country’s unethical political parties tantrum throwing,” Mr. Suraju added.

In their petition, CSNAC stated that Section 9 of the ICPC Act stipulates a seven year imprisonment for any person found guilty of bribing or attempting to bribe a public officer.

“According to Section 9 of the Act; Any person who corruptly – (a) gives, confers or procure any property or benefit of any kind to, on or for a public officer or to, on or for any other person; or (b) promises or offer to give, confers, procures or attempts to procure any property or benefit of any kind to, on or for a public officer or any other person, on account of any such act, omission, favour or disfavor to be done or shown by the public officer is guilty of an Offence of official corruption and shall on conviction be liable to imprisonment for seven (7) years,” the petition read.

“In the light of the above provisions in Section 9(a) and (b) above, a prima facie case of offer and inducement attempt can be established.

It is therefore the demand of this organisation that your commission, as a matter urgency, invite Ms. Marilyn Ogar for necessary interrogation, to identify the personalities behind the self-confessed bribe offer.

“Under the Act in reference, failure to report this case to an officer of the Commission or Police Offer is already an Offence; Section 23 (1) any public offer to whom any gratification is given, promised or offered in contravention of any provision of this Act, shall report such gift, promise or offer, together with the name, if known, of the person who gave, promised or offered such gratification to him to the nearest officer of the Commission or a Police Officer. (3) Any person who fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with subsection (1) and (2) shall be guilty of an Offence and on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding one hundred thousand Naira or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two (2) years or to both fine and imprisonment,”
the petition added.

Source
The Civil Society Network Against Corruption, CSNAC, has demanded an immediate investigation into the claims that operatives of the State Security Service, SSS, were offered N14 million during the just concluded Osun gubernatorial election.
The group, a coalition of over 150 anti-corruption organizations, said that the act is an offence punishable under the corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.
In a petition dated August 18, 2014, and addressed to the Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, the group demanded that the SSS Spokesperson be invited for questioning.
Marilyn Ogar, the SSS Spokesperson, had, last week, accused an unnamed political party of attempting to bribe two of the agency’s operatives with N14 million to help them subvert the electoral process.
The SSS Spokesperson had also angered civil society activists after she blamed the All Progressives Congress, APC, for the spate of bombings across Nigeria.
“Last week Thursday, 14th August 2014, marks a turning point in the operation, perception and integrity of Nigeria’s security agencies, with the highly controversial assertions of the loquacious Director of the State Security Service,” the anti-corruption group stated in the petition signed by Olanrewaju Suraju, its Chairman.
“In the condemnable practice of conducting intelligence operations in the public space, the SSS Director has severally exposed the agency to public opprobrium with her gaffe and politicization of serious security issues in the country. This obviously, is antithetical to the primary responsibilities of the agency.
“At a media presentation, convened to review the role of security personnels in the just concluded August 9 gubernatorial election in Osun State, Ms. Ogar ignominiously descended into the political arena with jab of several allegations against the opposition party, an act reminiscence of the country’s unethical political parties tantrum throwing,” Mr. Suraju added.
In their petition, CSNAC stated that Section 9 of the ICPC Act stipulates a seven year imprisonment for any person found guilty of bribing or attempting to bribe a public officer.
“According to Section 9 of the Act; Any person who corruptly – (a) gives, confers or procure any property or benefit of any kind to, on or for a public officer or to, on or for any other person; or (b) promises or offer to give, confers, procures or attempts to procure any property or benefit of any kind to, on or for a public officer or any other person, on account of any such act, omission, favour or disfavor to be done or shown by the public officer is guilty of an Offence of official corruption and shall on conviction be liable to imprisonment for seven (7) years,” the petition read.
“In the light of the above provisions in Section 9(a) and (b) above, a prima facie case of offer and inducement attempt can be established.
It is therefore the demand of this organisation that your commission, as a matter urgency, invite Ms. Marilyn Ogar for necessary interrogation, to identify the personalities behind the self-confessed bribe offer.
“Under the Act in reference, failure to report this case to an officer of the Commission or Police Offer is already an Offence; Section 23 (1) any public offer to whom any gratification is given, promised or offered in contravention of any provision of this Act, shall report such gift, promise or offer, together with the name, if known, of the person who gave, promised or offered such gratification to him to the nearest officer of the Commission or a Police Officer. (3) Any person who fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with subsection (1) and (2) shall be guilty of an Offence and on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding one hundred thousand Naira or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two (2) years or to both fine and imprisonment,”
the petition added.
- See more at: https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/166983-anti-corruption-groups-want-sss-spokesperson-marilyn-ogar-interrogated-over-n14-million-bribery-allegation.html#sthash.RHacJYmK.4Zz1gVPt.dpuf

Saturday, 16 August 2014

APC Threatens To Sue Ogar Over Terrorism, Bribery Allegations

The All Progressives Congress (APC) on Saturday said it would sue spokesperson of the States security Service (SSS), Marilyn Ogar, for attempting to blame the party for the series of bomb blasts in the country.
APC stated that by stating on national television that whenever the opposition party wins the election, there would be no bomb blasts, but whenever another party wins the election, there would be blasts, Ms.  Ogar  was implying that the party was responsible for terrorism in Nigeria.
SSS spokesperson, Marilyn Ogar A press release issued by APC’s National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Saturday demanded Ogar’s resignation.
“For the DSS Spokesperson to echo the same capricious statement that has been made in the past by the spokesman of the PDP shows that the agency has dropped its toga of non-partisanship and has descended into the political fray.
“If the DSS has any professional ethics, if DSS is not an arm of the PDP, then the agency must publicly dissociate itself from the irresponsible and unfounded allegation by Ogar and disengage her from the service.
“'Doing that will be the first step in restoring the credibility, or whatever is left of it, of the DSS. In the alternative, we challenge the DSS to present to Nigerians any evidence it may have to link our party to the spate of bomb blasts in the country. After all, it is trite that he who alleges must prove."
The party also commented on Ogar’s allegation that “a certain political party” believed to be APC offered the SSS N14 million as a bribe, saying institutions of state like the SSS must know that their responsibility is to the nation, and not to any political party that may be having a transient hold on power that their loyalty is to the nation, not to any individual.
“This way, the institutions will keep their integrity intact and also serve the nation properly. Irrespective of the government in power, institutions of state must stay above the fray, in line with best practices.
“This is a lesson that should not be hard for the fellows over there at the DSS to understand, going by the antecedents of their agency. However, where they choose to play politics with their professionalism and integrity, they will soon realise there are working in an agency that is not worth its salt, one that has lost the respect of the citizenry."
It saddled the National Assembly with the task of inviting Ogar's to explain if the alleged N14 million bribe was offered and who offered it.

Source

Friday, 15 August 2014

Osun LG Boss Arrested for Trying to Bribe Police Superintendent with N138k During Election

Executive Secretary of Atakumosa West local government area of Osun State, Mr Segun Samson and one Mr Sunday Adebayo were arrested and arraigned before an Osogbo Chief Magistrates Court, sitting in Osogbo, for allegedly attempting to bribe a policeman with N138,000 during last Saturday’s governorship election in the state.

National Mirror reported that, the the two accused persons committed the acts on August 9 at about 11am at Iwara junction, in Atakumosa West council area.

The accused persons however pleased not guilty of the the two-count charge of conspiracy, bribery and official corruption levelled against them. They were granted bail in the sum of N50, 000.00 and two sureties in like sum, who must swear to affidavit of means. The case was adjourned to September 24.

Source

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Is President Jonathan right to say most corruption is just ‘common stealing’?

A US-Africa summit last week opened with warnings about the toll corruption takes on development, sparking discussion about the extent of the problem in Africa and how it is defined. That’s an issue which Nigeria’s president has also been debating of late.

On May 5, Goodluck Jonathan responded to allegations that he is not doing enough to curb corruption among his ministers by claiming that most of what is referred to as corruption is not really that at all.

“Over 70% of what are called corruption (cases), even by EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) and other anti-corruption agencies, is not corruption, but common stealing,” the president told national television, saying the corruption claims appeared “politically motivated”.

Barely two weeks later, Ekpo Nta, the chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), one of Nigeria’s anti-corruption agencies, told an audience in Abuja that “stealing is erroneously reported as corruption” even by “educated” Nigerians.

So was the president right to dismiss most corruption claims as being nothing of the sort? Africa Check decided to look at the definitions.
Is corruption simply stealing?

Put simply, while stealing can be defined as taking a person or organisation’s rightful property without their permission, corruption is not one but a whole range of misdeeds, the common factor in which is the abuse of a person’s office for personal gain.

As this attempt to define corruption makes clear, it can range from the petty corruption of junior officials – bribe-taking by police officers on the street corner for example – through high-level embezzlement and theft of public funds to the payment or receipt of bribes made to affect office-holders’ decisions in office.

The key difference with “common stealing” is that the people who break into a house and steal, have no authority over the house or property. And people who carry out a corrupt act do have that trust as a public office holder of some sort and abuse it for their own gain.

And it is this abuse of public trust that explains why civil society groups and others see corruption as a more serious crime than typical “common stealing”.
How is corruption defined in Nigerian law?

So is the president right in terms of law? The answer is no. Under Nigeria’s Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act of 2000, the term corruption does indeed apply to crimes such as the theft or embezzlement of public funds, but also to bribery, fraud and “other related offences”.

And in all these cases, it is corruption only if the person in question has carried out the offence through the office they hold.

Section 382 of the Nigerian Criminal Code, by contrast, provides a much simpler description of theft, unrelated to the role a person take in life. A thief is simply “a person who fraudulently takes … or fraudulently converts to his own use or to the use of any other person anything capable of being stole”.
Is the pattern of corruption changing?

So the president is clearly wrong to claim that the theft of public funds by those in public office is simple theft, and not corruption.

But could he be right to say that the pattern of corruption is changing and that today “over 70%” of cases now relate to theft of public funds, not bribery and other such offences.

Here, there does seem to be some evidence of a trend. Speaking at the 50th anniversary of his old school, Ilesa Grammar School, Osun State, the 2005-2010 chairman of the ICPC, Emmanuel Olayinka Ayoola, said that the nature of corruption it uncovered had changed in recent years.

“The commonest form of corruption in Nigeria used to be bribery but in recent years, this has been overtaken in level of prevalence by embezzlement and theft from public funds,” he said,  though without providing figures.

Africa Check this week asked the EFCC to say what percentage of corruption cases they have investigated since 2010 would fall under the broad category of theft and embezzlement of public funds, and what would fall under bribery and other offences.

If or when they reply we will update this report.
Is the level of corruption changing?

It is difficult to say. Many public commentators say that it is.

However Nigeria’s ranking in anti-corruption group Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index – which lists countries based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be – is little changed from when Jonathan took over as president in 2010.

In 2013 Nigeria ranked 144 out of 177 countries in the index. In 2011, Nigeria ranked 143.
Conclusion – Corruption is more than ‘common stealing’

The way officials talk about crime matters. And President Jonathan’s claim earlier this year that more than 70 percent of corruption cases today relate to nothing more than “common stealing” appears to be an attempt to downplay what remains a massive problem in Nigeria.

It is also wrong in law. The theft of public funds through the abuse of an official’s office is different from “common stealing” because of the abuse of trust it entails.

And it is because it reduces the funds available for public spending, distorts the decisions made by office holders and undermines public trust, that corruption has such a negative effect on Nigeria’s development as numerous studies  have shown.

In the end, whether the pattern of corruption is changing – from bribery to theft of public funds – matters less than that the overall level of corruption appears not to have changed at all.

Edited by Eleanor Whitehead and Peter Cunliffe-Jones

Source

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

DSS - We Were Offered N14 Million Bribe for Osun Election

The Department of State Service (DSS) has alleged that it was offered N14 million by an unnamed political party to influence the Osun State gubernatorial election last Saturday.
At a media briefing in Abuja yesterday, the Deputy Director Public Affair of DSS, Marilyn Ogar, said the organisation was offered the amount by a "certain political party", adding that the bribe was turned down.
Ogar, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) called on political party leaders to leave DSS out of politics, saying, "I'm saying, a director in charge of election duties was offered N4 million for himself and N10 million for the hooded men.
"It is because the money was declined, that is why the certain political party is having a running battle with the DSS. Thank God the All Progressives Congress (APC) won the election; its loss could have been blamed on the DSS," Ogar added.
She stressed that the DSS was made up of professionals who cannot be compromised, because they are well paid. "Our men in operations for elections are paid well and upfront, so there will be no reason for them to take bribes," she said.
Ogar explained the importance of security agents at elections, stating that operatives had helped in various past elections across the country. "The presence of security agents in Osun State helped prevent attacks on some chiefs in the state. The Oba of Ede is one example who was shielded from attacks by hoodlums," she said.

Source

Monday, 11 August 2014

Tackle Corruption to Foster Good Governance, Expert Tells Govt


THE Head of Transparency and Anti-corruption Initiative of UN Global Compact, Ms Olajobi Makinwa has tasked government and private sector operators to promote anti-corruption measures and to implement policies that will establish systems of good governance.
Basically, she pointed out that this would underscore anti-corruption and good governance as fundamental pillars of sustainable and inclusive global economy.
Speaking at a media interaction with the officials recently in Lagos, Makinwa said that a good system of governance is a key enabling factor in maintaining a fair and supportive environment for business activity and for establishing incentives for corporate sustainability.
According to her, corruption has been considered as a costly impact on private sector as it raises transaction costs, undermines fair competition, distorts development priorities, and impedes long-term foreign and domestic investment.
She urged businesses to work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery. Since December 2010, the Nigerian Local Network has engaged its business participants and other stakeholders in the anti-corruption collective action project in Nigeria.
Makinwa also called on government to fully implement and enforce the tenets of the UN Convention against corruption by strengthening anti-corruption policies, laws and enforcement mechanisms to create a level playing field and incentivize good behavior.
She added that government should make a commitment to reduce corruption risks from procurement and contract processes of large-scale projects that are designed to support sustainable development, commit to engaging in competitive and transparent procurement processes through public advertising of all government procurement cases.
"Corruption is the single greatest obstacle to economic and social development around the world. It has adverse impacts on sustainable development, with a disproportional impact on poor communities", she said.
She noted that to prevent future development efforts from being undermined by corruption, it is critical to leverage good governance and anti-corruption into the global development agenda.

Source