Tuesday, December 30, 2008
NIGERIA, SOME HIGH-UP CORRUPTION CASES STILL PENDING?
1. Iyabo Bello Obasanjo's three (300) hundred million Naira bribery scandal:- the daughter of former president Olusegun Obasanjo was involved in a three (300) hundred million Naira Health ministry bribery scandal and to date, this matter appears to have been swept under the corrupt Nigerian carpet. Why would this be and yet Umaru Yar'Adua purports to be running an anti-corruption government? Icheoku is not saying that the daughter of your mentor must be jailed for dipping her hand in the Nigerian pie, no, but that the investigation into the alleged gratification be concluded one way or another. Nigerians need clarity of purpose as it appertains to this very scandal. First it involves a former first daughter and some accomplice to the crime, former Minister of Health Professor Adenike Grange and Gabriel Aduku as well as some other officials were fired because of this, so why treat Iyabo Bello Obasanjo differently as an untouchable? This question must be conclusively resolved by your government for its credibility. The 56-Count Criminal Charge of Fraud and Embezzlement of public funds levelled against Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello by the EFCC has not been adjudicated; since the prosecutor, James Binang read it out in court as follows: “That you, Iyabo Obasanjo Bello (now at large) sometimes between December 2007 and March 2008 at Abuja within the jurisdiction of the high court of the Federal Capital Territory while serving as the chairperson, Senate Committee on Health in the National Assembly, dishonestly retained the sum of N10, 000,000 belonging to Federal Government of Nigeria, having reason to believe same to be stolen property thereby committed an offence punishable under section 317 of the Penal Code cap 352, Law of Federation of Nigeria (Abuja)1990.”
2. Senator Jubril Aminu's twelve (12) million dollars Siemens bribery scandal:- This serving Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from Adamawa State was a co-beneficiary of a twelve (12) million dollar bribery scandal which was extorted from Siemens as a condition precedent for winning some contracts in Nigeria. Ever since the scandal broke, the powers that be in Nigeria have been in an over-drive attempt to wish the matter away but to no avail. Icheoku is calling on Umaru Yar'Adua to show some example with this bribery scandal that no one, including a sitting Nigerian Senator is above the law. In the United States if America a long term Senator from Alaska Ted Stevens was convicted and forced out of office for receiving some gifts but in Nigeria, a senator who demanded and received bribe is still being sheltered by the government of Umaru Yar'Adua as a sitting Nigerian Senator? Siemens paid a total bribe of approximately $12.7m to some Nigerian officials for four telecommunications contracts valued about $130m. Icheoku says that this twelve million dollars bribe was probably the amount by which that contract was extra over-valued as a company like Siemens will not take a loss in a contract - not from Africa, anyways! According to a high ranking official within Siemens Limited Nigeria, corrupt payments in 2000 and 2001 commonly reached 15 to 30% of the contracts’ value. It is instructive to note that Olusegun Obasanjo was the president of Nigeria at this period under review. The Siemens bribery scandal blew open in October 2007, after a Munich court had found the company guilty of bribing government officials in several countries and fined it 201 million Euros in penalties. It is very hypocritical that subsequent to this scandal, the Umaru Yar'Adua's Federal Government of Nigeria "suspended" dealings with Siemens and the EFCC commenced investigations, but as soon as the euphoria died down, the Federal Government went back to doing business as usual with Siemens; without any fine being levied or paid by Siemens as was done in the US and Germany. Icheoku says, this is very instructive as to the seriousness with with Umaru Yar'Adua is fighting corruption in Nigeria; more-so since the implicated Nigeria Senator Jubril Aminu is still a serving Senator and chairs its' foreign affairs committee. Justice must not only be done but must be seen to been done. Senator Jubril Aminu should loose his seat at the senate and face prosecution in the spirit of charity begins at home anti-corruption stance of Umaru Yar'Adua's government. Anything short of this is unacceptable to Nigerians and the world at large who continually views Nigeria as a very corrupt country, where some highly placed government officials are corruption personified and are deemed untouchables.
3. NigComSat five (500) hundred million dollars junk Chinese satellite contract scandal:- the third in hierarchy of Icheoku's high-up corruption that demands the immediate attention of Umaru Yar'Adua in the new year is the 500 million dollars junk satellite, which failed less than 18months after it launched into orbit? Nigerian Communication Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) Limited in conjunction with a Chinese company embarked on this white-elephant project, fully seized of the fact that it was ill-timed, ill-conceived, ill-equipped, ill-constructed by unskilled artisans, manufactured of sub-standard materials, ill-managed, not space-worthy, defective and not what the Nigerian populace needs at this time of abject hunger, joblessness, insecurity, election-rigging and general malaise pervading the country. The boyish, clean-shaved face T. Ahmed Rufai - the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of NIGCOMSAT should be held to account on why he sunk Nigeria's whopping $500 million dollars in such a worthless enterprise. This becomes very imperative because the Chinese contractors to the satellite project has a litany of past sordid projects some of which failed and yet non of this unsatisfactory past performances were factored in before awarding such a huge contract to them.
Icheoku says of all the corruption scandals in Nigeria, including those involving former governors, these three enumerated corruption cases call for rapid attention of the anti-corruption agencies in Nigeria. President Umaru Yar'Adua must show Nigerians that he means business with his anti-corruption stance and that no one is untouchable in the fight. President Umaru Yar'Adua, please this is the time to act and act you must and decisively too; in order to validate yourself as a true anti-corruption president of Nigeria. Any other thing to the contrary will only perpetuate the perception that Nigeria is a very corrupt country, run by corruptible and contemptible fellows and yourself, inclusive!