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Nigeria News:How I rejected $15m bribe-Ribadu

 

Ribadu

One of the governors of the Delta that we investigated offered me $15m in cash to stop the investigation against him.

“We charged him both for the theft of state revenues and for the bribery attempt. Sadly today, he is still one of the most powerful political figures in both the ruling party and the country.

“This clearly highlights the problem of the Delta – money meant to have gone for development has gone to very few hands and is used for negative ends. 

These are the word of former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, wile testifying  before the Financial Services Committee of the United States’ House of Representatives.

 

 

Ribadu, whose dismissal from the Nigerian Police Force was still being challenged in the court, is a visiting fellow of the St. Anthony’s College, University of Oxford. He was at the US House on invitation by the committee.

 

Punch newspaper reported that The former EFCC boss who insisted that the Niger Delta problem was being compounded by corruption, stated that the commission, under his leadership also made efforts to help tackle the problem.

He revealed that an unnamed former state governor from the oil-rich region had offered him $15m in cash to stop an investigation against him, adding that the commission still went ahead to charge the governor for the plundering of his state resources as well as the bribe offer.

He however lamented that the said governor was today a free man in Nigeria, where he wields power in the Peoples Democratic Party-led government and in the country as a whole.

He said that such instances of treating some corrupt state officials with kids gloves, by the current administration, was responsible for the dwindling success of the anti-graft crusade.

Ribadu said, “Indeed, one of the governors of the Delta that we investigated offered me $15m in cash to stop the investigation against him.

“We charged him both for the theft of state revenues and for the bribery attempt. Sadly today, he is still one of the most powerful political figures in both the ruling party and the country.

“This clearly highlights the problem of the Delta – money meant to have gone for development has gone to very few hands and is used for negative ends. 

“In 2003/4, almost 100,000 barrels of oil was stolen daily; by 2005/6, we had managed to reduce this to 10,000 barrels per day. We also secured convictions for kidnappers in the Delta, who were driving the cycle of violence and bribery with the private oil companies. 

Ribadu, who lauded the political will of the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo to pursue anti-corruption war, said that the current administration only paid lip service to the crusade.

He said, “But the policy today in Nigeria is to use all the right rhetoric – speaking of the need for rule of law and the fight against corruption – to cover-up their real campaign to completely undo the reform efforts of the previous government and so thoroughly confuse corruption and anti-corruption that no one can sort out which is which any longer.

“This is why today, many of the law enforcement agencies that used to work hand-in-hand with the EFCC are no longer willing to partner with the EFCC or the Nigerian Justice Department. The issue of integrity is paramount in such relationships. 

“Corruption makes democracy impossible because it subverts the will of the people. A select few, with so much money and authority, continue to steal elections and make a mockery of the notion of government by the people or for the people.

“The unholy alliance between local political elites and western financial institutions has been the foundation of this narrative of shame.

The best illustration yet is the now famous Halliburton/KBR scandal where, as a Nigerian newspaper recently reported, our leaders received “stacks of US dollar bills in briefcases and sometimes in bullion vans” until some $185m had been exchanged for a contract to build a liquefied natural gas plant.

“The other famous case is the Siemens scandal. According to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Siemens made approximately $12.7m in “suspicious payments” for Nigerian projects, including to government customers for four telecommunications projects. The total value of the four contracts was approximately $130m. There are many other instances.