Buhari Operates A Corruption-Infested Fuel Subsidy Regime – PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of operating a corruption-infested fuel subsidy regime. The party challenged

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of operating a corruption-infested fuel subsidy regime.

The party challenged the president to submit himself for an independent inquest on the handling of the N1.4 trillion oil subsidy regime as well as the alleged complicity of his presidency in other exposed financial impropriety by cronies of his government, particularly in revenue collecting agencies.

In a statement issued on Monday, May 21, 2018, by Kola Ologbondiyan, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, the party said such inquest, which is already backed by state governors across board, will not only expose humongous corruption but also show the world that our African Union, AU, Anti-Corruption champion had not been totally spotless.

“We invite Nigerians to note that the demand by governors to probe all subsidy deals since 2015 is a direct indictment on President Buhari as the Minister of Petroleum,  particularly, following allegations that the stolen funds are being warehoused to fund his 2019 re-election bid and the opulent lifestyle in the Presidential Villa.

“The party notes that if President Buhari allowed the inquest, it will reveal how our president, who had queried the genuineness of the oil subsidy payments by PDP administration and described the process as a fraud, had secretly engaged in underhand oil subsidy deals.

“Nigerians will also understand how the cost of fuel geometrically rose from the PDP subsidised cost of N87 to N145, representing a criminal N58 tax, per liter of fuel.

PDP said that it took over two years of secret oil subsidy deals under President Buhari, before it was exposed last December.

According to the opposition party, the presidency and the NNPC had since then been seeking ways to cover the fraud which included claims that local consumption suddenly jumped from 28 million liters per day to 60 liters per day.

“PDP considers this as a fabrication to retire the billions being stolen as subsidy, even when statistics by the National Bureau of Statistics and the reality of the retarded purchasing power of citizens, under the prevailing economic recession, do not validate such claims.

“Nigerians, therefore, deserve to know who authorised the payments and the identity of the beneficiary companies, if any.

“The PDP is happy that state governors across board and the National Assembly are on the same page with our party in condemning the humongous fraud going on under President Buhari’s fuel subsidy.

“The PDP, therefore, demands that the inquest covers the alleged N15 billion stolen from the NHIS, the N18 billion stolen from the PINE initiative, the alleged leaked memo of N9 trillion corrupt oil contracts at the NNPC, the reported diversion of N1.1 trillion worth of crude last year and why indicted Presidential cronies and fronts have not been prosecuted,” it added.

Read more at This Day

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Olisa Metuh collapses in Court

Former National Publicity Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Olisa Metuh collapsed on Monday morning while in court, Punch reports. This

Former National Publicity Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Olisa Metuh collapsed on Monday morning while in court, Punch reports.

This happened during his appearance at the Federal High Court in Abuja where he is standing trial for allegedly receiving N400 million from the Office of the National Security Adviser.

He had reportedly been making his way to the dock when he collapsed.

Court attendants were said to have attended to him minutes later.

African Countries Must Work Together On Asset Recovery, Says Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo   African leaders have to collaborate to tackle corruption, ensure the recovery and return of stolen

Adamawa Twin Bomb Attack Tragic And Condemnable – FG
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo

 

African leaders have to collaborate to tackle corruption, ensure the recovery and return of stolen assets, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said on Tuesday.

Osinbajo made the call at the opening of a four-day conference of heads of anti-corruption agencies from across Africa in Abuja.

“It is only through collective action that we can stay ahead of the criminal elements who rob our countries and citizens of their present and their future,” he said.

“African countries must come together to keep the issue of asset recovery and return on the front burner of international discuss.”

The Vice President was at the conference with three former Presidents – General Yakubu Gowon, General Abdulsalami Abubakar and Thabo Mbeki of South Africa – as well as the Chief Justice Of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, Nobel Laureate Professor Wole Soyinka, and the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Patricia Scotland.

Heads of anti-corruption agencies of countries that are members of the Commonwealth, including the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr Ibrahim Magu, were also in attendance at the conference, the eight in the series.

Of concern to all of them is the estimated $148 billion that has been taken away from Africa illegally.

The Commonwealth Secretary-General described the scale of the problem as a ravenous storm.

“The difference between the money we need to deliver the hopes and aspirations contained in our Commonwealth Charter of 2013 and the commitment we all made when we signed up to the UN SDGs of 2015 and the money we have is the sum equivalent of that which is siphoned off by the corrupt practices of the greedy, the uncaring and the pernicious few,” she said.

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Anti-Corruption War Won’t Be Won Until EFCC Arrests Corrupt Leaders, Says Soyinka

File photo: Professor Wole Soyinka addressing reporters in February 2018.   Nobel laureate Professor Wole Soyinka has warned that Nigeria’s

File photo: Professor Wole Soyinka addressing reporters in February 2018.

 

Nobel laureate Professor Wole Soyinka has warned that Nigeria’s war against corruption will not succeed until the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission corrupt leaders are held to account.

Professor Soyinka gave the warning on Monday at the opening of a four-day conference of heads of anti-corruption agencies from across Africa in Abuja.

To get a first-hand experience of the plans the anti-graft agency had for corrupt leaders, the Nobel laureate told those at the conference that he paid a visit to the EFCC headquarters.

“I took the trouble yesterday to visit the headquarters of EFCC. I wanted to see what would be the mode of hospitality for some of our leaders who will surely, sooner or later, pass through the doors of that beautiful (EFCC) building not far from here,” he said.

“I am not a vengeful person, but I think that until we make sure that some of our leaders pass through those doors, this struggle against corruption in this country will not be won.”

Professor Soyinka has been a strong critic of corruption in the country and has repeatedly called on the Federal Government to take decisive action to end the wave of killings in the country and the activities of killer herdsmen.

On April 30, he issued a statement warning that the country is at risk of the genocide should the killings continue.

In the statement, to commemorate, Workers’ Day, he likened Nigeria to an aircraft whose pilot had gone missing.

On Monday, beyond urging the EFCC to go after corrupt officials in high places, Professor Soyinka called on corrupt leaders to prepare for a change in lifestyle when they leave office and justice catches up with them.

The conference, which was meant for Commonwealth members in Africa comes a month after the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London.

President Muhammadu Buhari who is in Jigawa State on a two-day visit was represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

EFCC Acting Chairman, Mr Ibrahim Magu, was also at the conference.

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Corruption Is Something We Must Fight – Saraki

President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, on Tuesday said that corruption is something we must fight and that

President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, on Tuesday said that corruption is something we must fight and that there is no way you can build a society without fighting corruption.

Saraki made who made this statement while inspecting the new headquarters building of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), also said he will continue to support efforts to build and strengthen the nation’s institutions irrespective of any differences.

Saraki said that the fight against corruption must continue in order to bequeath a better future to both present and up coming generations. “I think we have all said it. Corruption is something we must fight,” he said. “There is no way you can build a society without fighting corruption.”

“I have always said that my own strong will is that as we fight it, we must fight it in ensuring that we strengthen the institutions and what you see here is part of the process of strengthening that institutions so that whoever comes here will know that this is what we must fight if we want to build institutions.” He described the building as impressive and commendable especially the fact that it was designed by an indigenous architect.

“In many years to come, I hope that we don’t have corruption in an environment like this but for now, I think there are many good aspects of this. “Having a Nigerian that designed this, the details are very impressive – the clinic and all the facilities – and the fact that it has gone through three different administrations; and the fact that the National Assembly has played its role and brought it to completion, I think that it is a lot of plus,” he stated.

Source

Workers Day: Osinbajo, Ngige others celebrate at Eagle Square

Okwe Obi and Nwakaudu Charity, Abuja Marking the 2018 Workers Day holiday, Vice President Yemi Osibanjo, Minister of Labour and

Okwe Obi and Nwakaudu Charity, Abuja

Marking the 2018 Workers Day holiday, Vice President Yemi Osibanjo, Minister of Labour and Productivity Chris Ngige, and his state counterpart, Prof Stephen Ocheni, joined Nigerians at Eagle Square, Abuja, amid tight security.

Others are present for the festivities were Senator Ita Enang, SSA to President Buhari, President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Isa Aremu, National Executive Committee member Ayuba Wabba, former NLC President Adams Oshiomhole, Senator Shehu Sani, and state representatives.

Addressing journalists, Ayuba Wabba said issues such as welfare and protection of workers will be at the forefront of speeches to be given.

He also added that the union would try to address unfavorable policies and push for the increment of minimum wage from 18,000 to 66,000.

“May Day was not given to workers on a platter of gold. It was our struggles that necessitated government to cave in to the demands of workers… for better condition of service, favourable policies.

“So this May Day will not be an an exception,” he added.

Meanwhile, Minister of Labour and Employment Chris Ngige has called on the NLC to assist in the Federal Government’s fight against corruption and other vices plaguing the country.

Ngige stated this as Nigeria joins the rest of world to celebrate the 2018 Workers Day.

The former Governor of Anambra State added that the battle against corruption will be worthwhile as the outcome would stand the test of time and contribute to national development if wholeheartedly fought.

“Corruption as we all know it has become a cankerworm that has eaten into the fabric of our national conscience and [has become] an obstacle to our sustainable development and growth,” Ngige said.

Ngige advised workers to imbibe the culture of communication and uphold the principles of the use of strike as the last resort in the pursuit of socioeconomic goals and aspirations.

He reassured them of the Federal Government’s commitment to dialogue with workers.

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Brazil Files New Graft Charges Against Former President Lula

FILE PHOTO Former Brazilian President, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva attends a rally of Brazilian leftist parties at Circo Voador

Lula Says Party Free To Find New Candidate For Brazil Vote
FILE PHOTO Former Brazilian President, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva attends a rally of Brazilian leftist parties at Circo Voador in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Credit: AFP

 

Brazilian prosecutors have filed new graft charges against imprisoned Workers’ Party founder and ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, as well as the party’s current chief.

Lula and Senator Gleisi Hoffmann, along with former Lula government ministers Antonio Palocci and Paulo Bernardo, allegedly were promised $40 million by corruption-riddled construction giant Odebrecht.

The fund “was in exchange for political decisions that would benefit the group,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement late Monday.

Workers’ Party politicians used the slush fund to finance campaigns, including Hoffmann’s failed 2014 run for governor of Parana state, it said.

Lula was jailed in April to start serving a 12-year sentence for accepting a seaside apartment as a bribe from another huge Brazilian construction company, OAS.

He faces six more graft cases but says he has been framed in order to prevent him from running in October’s presidential election, for which he leads opinion polls.

Hoffmann, leader of the Workers’ Party, said the new charges were “founded on unproven allegations.”

“In addition to being false, they don’t make sense, because they attempt to link decisions in 2010 with a campaign in 2014,” she tweeted.

The charges are part of operation “Car Wash,” Brazil’s biggest ever anti-graft crackdown. It has targeted several former presidents, current President Michel Temer and politicians from all major parties.

Investigators discovered that politicians and their parties were allegedly taking money from Odebrecht and other big companies in exchange for political favors and contracts with state oil company Petrobras.

AFP

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Former Malawi’s President, Banda Dismisses ‘Political’ Corruption Allegations

Malawi’s former president Joyce Banda speaks during an interview to Agence France-Presse at her residence in her home village at

Malawi’s former president Joyce Banda speaks during an interview to Agence France-Presse at her residence in her home village at Domasi in Zomba, eastern Malawi, on April 30, 2018.

Amos Gumulira / AFP

 

Malawi’s newly-returned former president Joyce Banda said Monday she had evidence that corruption allegations against her were politically motivated as she left the door open to another presidential run.

Banda, 68, flew home on Saturday after four years of self-imposed exile during which she faced the threat of arrest over corruption allegations in the biggest financial scandal in the country’s history.

Banda fled in 2014 when she lost power after being embroiled in the so-called Cashgate scandal, in which government officials siphoned off millions of dollars of public money.

“This is not a matter I would want to discuss now. But I just want you to know that this matter is political,” she told AFP at her home in Zomba, southern Malawi.

“I don’t think, I know. I have got evidence to that effect.”

Banda — only the second woman to lead a country in Africa — was greeted by hundreds of supporters of her People’s Party (PP) when she arrived in Blantyre airport.

“Mother is here, the lights should come back,” the crowd chanted.

“I am back, what do I do? Do I step aside and allow younger people to take over? Do I stay? That has to be discussed in my party,” she said Monday.

 Election plotting? 

“Before going to any election, every party holds a convention — and it is (down to) the people if they want the person to stand again.”

Local media have reported a possible deal between President Peter Mutharika and Banda ahead of next year’s elections.

Banda founded the PP in 2011 after splitting from the Democratic Progressive Party, which is led by Mutharika.

Police spokesman James Kaledzera last week declined to say if Banda would be arrested, though he confirmed that a warrant issued last July remained valid.

Earlier this year, the Malawi Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) said it had no solid evidence against the former president, partially clearing her name.

The “Cashgate” scandal prompted foreign donors — who provide around 40 percent of Malawi’s budget — to pull the plug on aid worth around $150 million.

Ministers, civil servants and businessmen are accused of pocketing money from government coffers through ghost companies which did not provide any services to the state.

The scandal helped push Banda out of power in the 2014 election, and Mutharika vowed to clean up the system to bring donors back.

Malawi, one of the world’s poorest and aid-dependent countries, will hold presidential, parliamentary and council elections in May 2019.

AFP

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ICPC Backs Creation Of Special Courts For Corruption Cases

File Photo   The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has supported the establishment of special courts

ICPC Backs Creation Of Special Courts For Corruption Cases
File Photo

 

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has supported the establishment of special courts for corruption cases.

Acting Chairman of ICPC, Dr Musa Abubakar, stated this during a lecture he delivered over the weekend in Asaba, the Delta State capital.

According to a statement by the spokesperson for the commission, Mrs Rasheedat Okoduwa, he gave a speech titled ‘Corruption, Economic and Financial Crimes: Special Courts to the Rescue’ during the 5th Criminal Justice Reform Conference organised by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in the state.

Dr Abubakar stressed that the creation of special courts for corruption cases would remove the bottlenecks associated with the judgment on corruption matters in the conventional courts.

“Establishing a special court to adjudicate over corruption and other financial crimes is one thing we have longed for since the establishment of our commission. The proposal will no doubt put flesh to the provision of Section 61 (3) of the ICPC Act 2000, which requires that Chief Judges of states should designate a court specifically to deal with corruption cases and other related matters.

“The clamour for the establishment of such special courts is borne out of the desire to ensure expeditious disposal of such corruption and financial crime cases. Instances abound where cases pending in our conventional courts are stagnated and unduly delayed,” he said.

The ICPC boss further argued that the creation of special courts would free-up judges from other responsibilities, in view of the fact that most of them are overloaded with different cases.

He disclosed that recent research by the commission into the reasons for delays in the disposal of corruption cases revealed that assigning too many cases to one judge was one of the major causes of delays.

Dr Abubakar added that 83% of the respondents endorsed the creation of specialised courts to handle only corruption cases, as that would expedite and fast-track the prosecution of such cases and in turn lead to more convictions.

He, however, observed that the creation of special courts without full implementation of the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015 would not bring the desired turnaround in the criminal justice system.

The ICPC acting chairman also cited the alleged wilful delay of court processes, especially by defence lawyers in corruption cases to frustrate prosecutions in complete violation of Section 396 (3) of the ACJA Act.

“In as much as the ICPC subscribes to the establishment of special courts, I make bold to say that there would hardly be any difference if the defence lawyers maintain their usual tactics of frustrating the smooth administration of justice,” he stressed.

Abubakar called on both the bench and bar to contribute their quota in the fight against corruption by eliminating all forms of delay in the trial of corruption cases.

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Long Battle To Stop Firms Bribing Africa For Contracts

  A spectacular probe into French tycoon Vincent Bollore over suspected graft in Africa marks a rare exception among corporate

 

A spectacular probe into French tycoon Vincent Bollore over suspected graft in Africa marks a rare exception among corporate titans doing business south of the Sahara.

Bollore — charged on Wednesday over contracts to operate ports in Guinea and Togo — is by far the most prominent business leader to be investigated in France for suspicious activities in Africa.

Campaigners have hailed the development as a break from decades of judicial indifference or nods and winks from the government over dubious deals in the former French colonies.

The investigation stems largely from laws that are less than 18 months old. The so-called Sapin II Law, passed in December 2016, compels French firms to take preventive steps against graft.

It also beefs up measures dating back to 2000 that enable punishment of corrupt practices used to win public contracts abroad.

Under Sapin II, “corruption is punishable in all circumstances and in any place, even it is a crime committed abroad”, said Thierry Dal Farra, director of the public business law department in UGGC Avocats, a large Paris-based firm of attorneys.

The tougher legislation came after years of criticism by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and specialised NGOs which accused France of turning a blind eye to corporate corruption abroad.

The Bollore probe breaks new ground in France — but the United States already goes much further.

Its prosecutors are empowered to pursue non-American companies for economic crimes committed outside US soil — such cases often culminate in hefty fines.

Competition without ethics

If France is a European example of tighter regulation, ferocious competition from China — the main trading partner of the African continent — is deemed a hurdle to abolishing bad practices.

“Emerging nations that will take decades to incorporate ethical concerns into their search for market share” are a major obstacle, said William Bourbon, head of an anti-corruption association called Sherpa.

“The most stereotypical are the Chinese, who intimidate the entire world and who, when it comes to corruption in Africa, act with complete impunity,” he told AFP.

Already losing ground, French companies in Africa face seeing their share of contracts threatened by potentially unfair competition.

“We would really like everybody to play by the same ground rules. We need competitors who are subject to the same requirements, shared regulations and reciprocity,” said a spokesman for MEDEF, France’s principal employers’ organisation.

Whistleblowers wanted

Last week, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced the adoption of new guidelines providing for more systematic assessment of corruption in its 189 members, stressing that bad practice undermines growth, investment and tax revenue.

Many African countries are only too well adapted to underhand deals. Most of them languish among the bottom ranks of the annual Corruption Perceptions Index compiled by Transparency International.

“What matters most is for African governments to adopt a practice of zero tolerance concerning corruption. If this is done, wherever investors come from, they will have to abide by the laws,” said Samuel Kaninda, African regional advisor for Transparency International.

“The problem is not a lack of legal instruments (in Africa),” he added. “It is that the institutions that fight against corruption suffer from a lack of independence at the political level.”

Setting a rare example, South Africa recently reopened legal proceedings against a subsidiary of French arms manufacturer Thales in an old case of alleged corruption. Former president Jacob Zuma has been charged with 16 counts of graft.

Beyond legislative measures, activists argue that whistleblowers remain key to efforts to clamp down on corruption.

“Whistleblowers are the worst enemies of a particular kind of financial elite,” said Bourdon.

“They are the ones who smash the locks, giving access to secrets.”

Last year, Bourdon became part of an international team that established a Platform for the Protection of Whistleblowers in Africa, based in Senegal’s capital Dakar.

With lawyers listed in almost a score of African countries, the association offers legal and technical assistance to whistleblowers at risk and an online archive of cases in French and English.

AFP

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