After a back and forth verbal spar between the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the main opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) over who is more corrupt, the APC-led federal government on Friday released a list of Nigerians and members of the PDP they said were corrupt.
After raising Nigerians’ expectations that it would release a list of corrupt PDP members, the minister for Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed simply churned our names of individuals facing trial for various allegations in the law courts; information that is already public knowledge.
Rather than spoil the image of the PDP, Mohammed’s list has seemingly succeeded in whipping up sympathy for the PDP, as many now view government’s fight against corruption as a one sided battle aimed at opposition members while leaving out those accused of graft within its fold.
Ironically, many prominent members of the APC were part of the PDP and the last administration of Goodluck Jonathan which the current government has continued to blame for the nation’s woes, by asserting at every given opportunity, that they massively looted the nation’s treasury, and destroyed the country’s economy.
There is also the perception among Nigerians that a good number of opposition members who decamped to the APC did so mainly to avoid being persecuted for allegations of graft, as no known APC member accused of corruption has been known to face trial under the current government.
Prominent members of the Muhammadu Buhari administration who have been accused of corruption, but conspicuously left out in Mohammed’s list are;
Senate President Bukola Saraki: He is facing trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) for alleged false assets declaration.
The federal government prosecuting Saraki accused him of falsely declaring his assets at the end of his tenure as the governor of Kwara State in 2011.
He was also accused of making false declaration on a property titled 17A McDonald Street, Ikoyi, Lagos upon assumption as a senator in 2011.
The prosecution said that Saraki declared falsely that he acquired the Ikoyi property on Sept. 6, 2006, from the proceeds of sale of rice and sugar.
Saraki was also accused of making false asset declaration at the end of his tenure as the governor of Kwara State in 2011 and on assumption of office as a Senator in 2011.
The prosecution said that the defendant then also declared falsely when he claimed that he acquired another property at 17B McDonald, Ikoyi Lagos, on Sept. 6, 2006 from the proceeds of sale of rice and sugar.
The prosecution accused him that he failed to declare his outstanding loan liabilities of N315, 054,355.92 out of the loan of N380, 000,000 obtained from Guaranty Trust Bank Plc.
The trial is still ongoing.
Minister of Mines and Steel, Kayode Fayemi: As former governor of Ekiti State, Fayemi has been having a running battle with the current administration led by Ayodele Fayose over allegations of graft against the minister.
The state government in January this year, filed a criminal charge against Fayemi, and his former Commissioner for Finance, Dapo Kolawole.
The 19 counts filed before the state High Court, Ado Ekiti, border on allegation of corruption, abuse of office and criminal contempt, among others.
The state government filed the charges barely two weeks after releasing a white paper, which barred Fayemi and Kolawole from holding a public office for 10 years.
The two were barred based on the report of the Justice Silas Oyewole Judicial Commission of Inquiry, which indicted them over alleged mismanagement of the state’s finances between October 2010 and 2014.
According to the charge sheet No HAD/05c/2018, Fayemi and Kolawole, among other allegations, misappropriated N4.9bn, being the proceeds of the Ekiti State Bond for the sum of N20bn earmarked in the bond prospectus for various projects in the state that were either not done or partly done.
The minister has vowed to meet the state government in court.
Minister for Transport, Rotimi Amaechi:
Rivers State governor, Nyesome Wike has severally accused Amaechi, a former governor of the state of corruption. Among other things, Wike accused Amaechi of awarding and paying for a fictitious contract worth $39 million to Clinotech, without a single block laid anywhere, and selling off the state gas turbines for $309 million, without the funds reflecting in the state’s accounts.
Two justices of the Supreme Court also accused Amaechi of corruption. Justices Inyang Okoro and Sylvester Ngwuta accused the former governor of trying to bribe them in order to tamper with election tribunal results.
The federal government which had raided the homes of the justices over graft allegations did nothing concerning their allegations against Amaechi.
One Paul Cahalan of the UK Daily Mail has once written that Amaechi has been nicknamed Port Harcourt “ATM” because of “his ability to produce vast sums of money at short notice.” He added: “Separately, Amaechi is accused of diverting £140million of state funds into Buhari’s presidential campaign, with reports he paid for media, consultants and private jets”.
Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola:
There has been outrage in many parts sometime ago when it was revealed that the immediate past governor of Lagos State, spent N78 million from state funds for the upgrade of his personal website, .
But the contractor, Info Access Plus, denied receiving N78 million. The company said though it quoted N12.5 million for the upgrade of the website, and that it only received N10 million from the state government.
In his reaction, Fashola acknowledged the contractor’s claims, but added that an upgrade of the site was what made it rise to N78million.
Former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal:
Lawal, a close political associate of the president was suspended and later sacked for allegedly using his office to enrich himself.
The Senate Ad Hoc Committee on Mounting Humanitarian Crisis in the North-East had indicted Lawal, for mismanagement of funds.
The investigative panel specifically asked relevant agencies to prosecute the suspended SGF for allegedly awarding contracts worth N500m, through the Presidential Initiative on North-East, a rehabilitation programme under his office, to a company in which he had interests.
The lawmakers also urged the government and the anti-graft agencies to ensure that the misappropriated funds are retrieved from the culprit,
Neither the federal government, nor the anti-graft bodies in the country are yet to file any charge(s) against Lawal since he was sacked from office.
Jafaru Isah: A political friend of President Buhari, he was also accused of collecting monies from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).
Isah is the first, and only known APC chieftain to be arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in connection to the probe into the alleged diversion of $2.1 billion meant for arms purchase by officials of the immediate-past administration.
Investigators believed the retired soldier received over N100million from the fund.
He is not known to have been arraigned before any court of law. The last the told Nigerians concerning his case, was that he promised to make refunds.
A good number of former PDP members, now in the APC also have corruption cases hanging over their heads. However, in a funny twist, the EFCC, which is prosecuting many of them seems to have slowed down, nay, unofficially dropped their cases, since the alleged corrupt former officials joined the ruling party.
Among them are the former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu; former governor of Enugu State, Sullivan Chime; former governor of Ebonyi, Martin Elechi; a former Nigerian Ambassador to Ghana, Musiliu Obanikoro; Lukman Ajose, a former Lagos PDP chieftain.
The question many Nigerians are now asking is what happens to these allegations of corruption, and whether the government does not consider them worth chasing simply because they belong to the ruling party.
Many wonder how the government can claim to be carrying out an agenda of fighting corruption when it is obvious only people from one side of the divide are facing prosecution for alleged corrupt practices.
By Etaghene Edirin…
Courtesy : Ripples