Human and Environmental Development Agenda, HEDA, has tendered a list of 25 top corruption cases worth N900 billion to President Muhamadu Buhari.
As contained in a letter delivered to Buhari this week, HEDA warned that the country was sliding into the red-light district of corruption, adding that corrupt people were taking over critical institutions, thus undermining the country’s anti-corruption profile.
In the letter titled “Re Awakening the Anti-Corruption Drive” and signed by HEDA Chairman, Suraju Olanrewaju, the group regretted that many cases of corruption involving prominent Nigerians have been scuttled by government-appointed gatekeepers.
While alleging that the cases may have been swept under the carpet, HEDA suggested that the N900 billion may have gone into the pockets of corrupt officials.
Among the cases listed are the Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, Nnamdi Okonkwo, who was arrested during the 2015 General Elections by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for allegedly receiving $115 million in cash from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.
Also, the Executive Director of First Bank Plc, Dauda Lawal, tried by the EFCC for allegedly handling the sum of $25 million of $153m rolled out by Mrs Alison-Madueke; former Comptroller General of Customs, Abdullahi Dikko, who was alleged to have stolen over N40 billion, but was asked to return N1.5 billion to the Federal Government, and former Accountant-General of the Federation, Jonah Otunla, linked to a N2 billion graft.
Others lister were the dubious payment of $16.9 million fees to two friends as new lawyers for the recovery of the loot traced to a former Nigerian Head of State, Sanni Abacha, after a Swiss lawyer hired and fully paid by the previous government, Enrico Monfrini.
HEDA further listed official interference in the investigation of a multi-billion Naira fraud in Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending, NISRAL through a letter ordering the EFCC and the ICPC, the DSS and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU to halt investigating the financial misappropriation in NIRSAL.
It also highlighted the attempt to reinstate Abdulrasheed Maina, the ousted chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, PRTT, while the Attorney General, Abubakar Malami, discontinued N25 billion criminal charge against Danjuma Goje without any justification.
The group mentioned the allegation that the former Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, bought properties in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, using allegedly corrupt means as the Procurement Officer of the Nigerian Army.
HEDA lamented that Nigeria is beginning to face declining reputation, as evidenced in the negative Transparency International perception reports in recent years.
“This only affects top corruption cases, yet we have many other smaller cases that have met institutional road blocks,” HEDA said in the letter addressed to the president.
“We believe that the manner in which the above cases were handled, indirectly or directly, portray the Nigerian government and her mandate to eradicate corruption in bad light in the global space,” HEDA wrote in the letter.
“Your Excellency, whereas this agenda of fighting corruption was vigorously pursued, albeit with some negligible shortcomings and international sabotage by some of your appointed officials and aides, significant results were recorded by the government and overwhelming supports received from local partners and international stakeholders, resulting in return of recovered stolen assets and aggressive investigation of several cases of past corruption cases by anti-corruption agencies, particularly the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Presidential Panel on Recovery of Public Property,” part of its statement read.