DIEZANI: CACOL COMMENDS JUDICIARY FOR SUMMONING EX-MINISTER, PLEADS FOR JUDICIOUS PROSECUTION
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has hailed The Federal High Court in Abuja for ordering a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, to appear for arraignment on money laundering charges preferred against her by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commissio
In a press release issued by the anti-graft coalition’s Coordinator for Administration and Programmes, Mr. Tola Oresanwo on behalf of its Executive Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he noted, “The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, received the news of the order by The Federal High Court in Abuja presided over by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu summoning the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, to appear for arraignment on money laundering charges with great delight”.
It would be recalled that the judge gave the order in a ruling on an ex parte application shortly after it was moved by EFCC’s lawyer, Faruk Abdullah. The judge ordered the defendant who was alleged to have fled to the United Kingdom shortly after leaving office in 2015, to appear in court to answer to the 13 counts of money laundering involving $39.7m (N14.29bn at N360 to $1) and N3.32bn said to be proceeds of unlawful activities. Justice Ojukwu, in her ruling, ordered that the summons she issued on Friday should be published on the website of the EFCC and a national daily in a conspicuous manner said the development would make it easier for Mrs Alison-Madueke to be aware of the invitation.
Due to Diezani’s absence, the judge had repeatedly adjourned the case, which was filed on November 11, 2018. On November 12, 2019, the judge gave EFCC till March 10, 2020 to have the ex-minister extradited from the United Kingdom to Nigeria to face trial or the charges against her would be struck out. The judge had said she would no longer allow the case to continue to clog her docket if no progress was being made.
The EFCC lawyer, in a document filed along with the motion ex-parte, said the Commission sought to question Mrs Alison-Madueke, without success, in relation to many allegations against her, including her role as the Minister of Petroleum Resources and her role in the award of Strategic Alliance Agreement (SAA) to Septa Energy Limited, Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited and Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited by NNPC. He said it also wanted Mrs Alison-Madueke to respond to questions about her role in the chartering of private jets by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Ministry of Petroleum Resources and her role in the award of contracts by NNPC to Marine and Logistics Services Limited.” Mr Abdallah said the agency was investigating Mrs Alison-Madueke’s business relationships with Donald Amamgbo, Afam Nwokedi, lkpea Leemon, Olatimbo Bukola Ayinde, Benedict Peters, Christopher Aire, Harcourt Adukeh, Julian Osula, Dauda Lawal, Nnamdi Okonkwo, Leno Laithan, Sahara Energy Group and Midwestern Oil Limited.
He added that Mrs Alison-Madueke was also required to clear air on her role in financing the 2015 general elections, particularly the money that were warehoused at Fidelity Bank Plc in 2015 prior to the elections.” He said it equally wanted the ex-minister to speak on several items, documents and jewelleries recovered from her house at No: 10, Chiluba Close, off Jose Marti Street, Asokoro, Abuja, and some identified property that were linked to her in Nigeria, UK, United States of America (USA), United Arab Emirate (UAE) and South Africa.
The anti-corruption Crusader said “We want to commend the judiciary for taking this bold step. We have been at the forefront of criticizing the corrupt and shady deals perpetrated by Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke while holding public office in Nigeria. Whereas, in saner climes, the investigation and prosecution of a criminal case of this magnitude would have been tidied up and concluded by now, it is lamentable that the case had been tardy but we are glad that after so many years this case is coming up again. We commend the courage and determination of Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of The Federal High Court, Abuja for granting the ex-parte application of EFCC and for her resolve to look into the case in toto and dispesence justice accordingly. We hope the renewed vigour the case has received with the recent court order summoning Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke would hasten the prosecution and trial of the accused”.
The CACOL’S Chairman added “In recent times, we have seen public office holders after siphoning the commonwealth of the citizens of this country running into billions to advance their individual and group’s business interests without recourse to laid-down procedures and thereafter be running from pillar to post in order to evade arrest and the attendant judicial prosecution. This is why we commend the decision of the court and also enjoin the prosecution team to do a very diligent and meticulous trial to bring Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke and all her accomplices to book to serve as necessary deterrent”
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has taken a swipe at the action of Former Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari for allegedly assaulting an environmental officer enforcing the COVID-19 protocol put in place to curb the spread of the dreaded virus at the nation’s airports.
In a release issued by CACOL on behalf of the organization’s Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran and signed by its Coordinator, Administration and Programmes, Mr. Tola Oresanwo, he noted, “The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL received with concern and disapproval news making the rounds to the effect that the former governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari allegedly assaulted an airport official who was doing what he was paid to do”.
It would be recalled that the airport officer, on Saturday at the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport in Kano State, tried to disinfect the luggage of the former governor who was a passenger but Yari pushed him away, claiming he was a very important personality.
“We condemn the attitude of this former governor in its entirety. His action is reckless and height of irresponsibility. By his action he has portrayed himself as an enemy of the state going by the enormity of the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic on the country. One would have expected a supposed ‘Very Important Personality’ to support and abide with all directives and protocols laid down to stem the tide of this pandemic”.
“It is lamentable that a man of his status would make nonsense of a well thought out arrangement and protocol aimed at curtailing the spread of the dreaded virus. His attitude shows that many of our past and present public office holders see themselves as superman and demigods that should always be revered, adored and worshipped wherever they are. Can he try that absurdity in a foreign land? Little wonder then, the reason many of them are so bold to engage in various acts of corruption and acting as if they were above the law while holding public offices and forgetting that power is ephemeral”.
The CACOL Chairman added, “Against this unfortunate aberration, we therefore call on Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria to put mechanism in place that would prevent reoccurrence of this unfortunate incidence and spell out sanctions that would be meted out to anyone who violate the COVID 19 protocols so as to serve as deterrent to others while calling on the former governor to publicly apologize for his action”.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has decried the arrest of the Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by the officials of Department of State Services (DSS).
In a release by the Executive Chairman of CACOL, Mr. Debo Adeniran and signed by its Coordinator, Administration and Programmes, Tola Oresanwo, he stated, “The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, received the news of the arrest of the Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Mr. Ibrahim Magu by officials of Department of State Services (DSS) with mixed feelings”.
“We can recall that the arrest is coming barely two weeks after the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) reportedly complained to the President, Muhammadu Buhari about Magu’s conduct and advised that he should be relieved of his appointment. The AGF was said to have accused Magu of insubordination and discrepancies in the figures of funds recovered by the EFCC”.
“Though the details of his arrest is still sketchy, we believed that inasmuch as no one is above the law Mr. Magu just like every other citizen of the country can be call to give an account of his stewardship at anytime, our position is that it would have been nice if Mr. Magu was investigated by the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) or other anti corruption agency of government but not DSS that has continually shown bias towards him (Magu) going by the report submitted to the Senate by the DSS which has stalled his confirmation as the Chairman of EFCC for some years now. It is a common knowledge that there had been no love lost between DSS and the person of Mr. Magu. We have also observed that the relationship between EFCC, DSS and Ministry of Justice had been frosty over the years”.
“In view of the above, we hope Mr. Magu would be able to defend himself and come out clean from the myriads of allegations leveled against him. We are also optimistic that he will be given a fair hearing and his rights will be respected.
Since he has demonstrated extra courage in the fight against corruption in the country we hope his arrest is not a case of ‘Corruption fighting back’.”
“A situation where the Acting Chairman of EFCC is ‘invited for questioning’ with a very short notice could cost the fight against corruption serious setback, as well as much embarrassment to the Federal Government and its anti-corruption stance, hence, the need for the various agencies of government to always be mindful of their actions at all times”.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) has called on all security agencies and the general public living and operating at Ile Zik Round-about, Ikeja Lagos, to be more vigilant as hoodlums has converted the boat monument into a brothel where unsuspecting victims are lured extorted and raped.
This was contained in a press release issued on behalf of the Centre’s Chairman, Debo Adeniran on Saturday June 20th.
The Centre got wind of these immoral acts through one of its CACOL’s Good Governance, Accountability and Transparency Educators (C-GATE) Units.
According to the CACOL Chairman, “the CGATE Units were created and inaugurated in all Local Government Areas (LGAs) and Local Council Developmental Areas(LCDAs) in both Lagos and Osun state to educate the grassroots on how to hold the government accountable and demand transparency through its educators.”
The Chairman expressed worries on the escalation of the nefarious acts perpetrated by the hoodlums in that vicinity during and after relaxation the lockdown.
According to the Mr Adeniran, “report reaching us at one of our C-GATE meetings indicated that this wicked and ungodly act has been persistent underground even before the Coronavirus lockdown and many have fallen prey to the criminals hunt as undergarments, purses, wallets, school bags and one passport picture of a young school girl were found at the suspected crime scene. Although the notoriety of the place had been acknowledged in the recent past, up till this present moment, nothing has been said or done by the law-enforcement agents to detect, investigate and to bring these suspected possible perpetrators of the suspected heinous crimes to book.”
The anti-corruption leader expressed his utmost disappointment towards the security agencies under-performance in curbing street crimes in Lagos, especially during this pandemic crisis.
The CACOL Chairman lamented on the increased rate of crime and sexual violence during this pandemic and urged all security agencies to up their games in bringing it under perpetual check.
According to him, “since the beginning of the pandemic and the attendant lockdown, reports of rape cases have sky-rocketed in all states of the federation, hence the extra vigilance of all security agencies on active duty and the protocol cannot be overemphasized. He urged the authorities to leave no stone unturned in ensuring that the capacity of different security agencies are reinforced to ensure maximum protection for the Lagos citizens and that of Nigeria in general.”
The CACOL’S boss therefore demands for an immediate investigation into this demonic and shameful act and diligently prosecute anyone found culpable to ensure that the guilty ones are given deterrent punishment.
In response to reported statement by President Muhammadu Buhari, that former dictator, Sani Abacha, ‘stole close to $1billion’, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), Saturday faulted Buhari’s submission, saying that Abacha stole far more than $1billion.
The group cited Transparency International report, which submitted that ‘Abacha may have stolen between $3bn and $5bn in public money’.
Recall that Buhari had in his article titled “Post-Coronavirus, Africa’s Manufacturing Moment”, published on Newsweek.com, said, “Nigeria can now move forward with road, rail and power station construction in part, under own resources-thanks to close to a billion dollars of funds stolen from the people of Nigeria under a previous, undemocratic junta in the 1990s that have now been returned to our country from the U.S., U.K. and Switzerland.
“ In a place where tradition is lacking, a striking example becomes relevant”
………….. Leon Trotsky
As much as we at the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL fully identify with the current administration rare and audacious commitment to vigorously prosecute anti-corruption campaign, we are quick to point out that President Muhammadu Buhari need to bring culprits of corrupt practices to effective justice, not just mere negotiations to recover stolen public funds. The President and his team need to step up the ante by making stigmatizing examples of culprits of corrupt and sharp conducts through diligent investigations, thorough prosecution, confiscation of properties and real time convictions in the court of law. This will not only serve as deterrent, but also a striking stigma against corruption, signaling the absolute dedication of government to vanquish corruption.
Without any equivocation, the unbridled looting of pensions funds, attendant sack, criminal conspiratorial reinstatement and correct but embarrassing re-sacking of the former Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina is one major corruption case that should not treated with kids’ glove.
BEYOND NATIONAL ASSEMBLY INVESTIGATION OF MAINAGATE
In recent time, the media has been awashed with contradictory, confusing and often laughable assertions on the unpardonable stories of sleaze and corruption engulfing the seemingly “invincible” former Chairman of Presidential Task Force on Pensions Funds, Abdulrasheed Maina. Ironically, there has been curious passing round of the bucks. One of such silly infamies claims that the Federal Government is hampered to take up Maina case because the National Assembly is already investigating the matter. This smacked like a grand scheme to find soft landing for all those that are obviously indictable for this national disgrace, we are certain that a thorough forensic investigation would consume many persons. The other comical claim is that Maina has since disappeared from Nigeria and cannot be brought to book. That. some powerful allies seem to be hiding the above the law crook is an alluring conclusion one would deduce.
As of today, the Nigeria Senate has conducted its investigation into the matter but with a veil of secrecy. An ad-hoc Committee of the Senate set up to investigate the controversial reinstatement and the embarrassing promotion of Maina in the civil service of the Federal Government invited the Attorney General, Abubarkar Malami (SAN) and the Minister for Interior, Abdulrahman Danbazau but the session were held in camera in the office the Committee Chairman. We strongly believe openness and transparency to the media and the general public is integral part of the campaign against corruption.
However, the House of Representatives is reported to have slated the commencement of its ad-hoc Committee for Wednesday, 22nd November, 2017. It promised that the session on Maina’s ill-handling of pensions funds would be broadcast live by Nigeria Television Authority. The Committee also invited Abdulrahman Danbazau, the Head of Service to the Federation, Mrs. Winfred Oyo-Ita, the acting Chaiman of EFCC , Ibrahim Magu and Chairman of ICPC, Prof Bolaji Owosanoye assuring Nigerians that Maina would come out of hiding to face the Committee.
CACOL therefore salutes the courage of the House of Representatives in slating the Committee with live coverage. We hope that would be opportunities for the general public to also interrogate this process. It is a trite truism that anti-corruption war goes smoother with openness, transparency, accountability and the rule of law. We condemn any move to shroud this critical investigation with any garb of conspiratorial secrecy – Nigerians have the right to know all details. We also call on relevant law enforcement agencies to ensure that there is no back door settlement with Maina no matter the quantum of information he revealed against his co-travellers in crime. He, along with others must be made to face the full wrath of the law – when you commit the crime, you do the time.
The investigating Committee and all other anti-corruption agencies must not only investigate all the Government’s ministries and officials responsible for the mid-night smuggling of Maina back into the public service, his promotion but also the office of the Accountant General and Auditor General must explain how they paid Maina N21Million salary arrears for a period when the judgment of a competent court of law debar him from the civil service.
The entire civilized world is watching on what would be the outcome of this case, and thus must not be handled lightly. It is our well considered view that justice must be manifestly done, we know that heaven shall not fall. All public funds must be accounted for and infractions duly punished.