U.S. Releases Corruption Evidence Against Buhari’s Government
The United States has reportedly released evidence of corruption impunity against the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government.
The U.S said massive, widespread, and pervasive corruption affected all levels of the Nigerian government and the security services.
Its State Department Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour said in its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018 that the anti-corruption agencies such as the EFCC and the ICPC had made little progress in efforts to limit corruption in its public service.
According to ThisDay newspaper, the US Congress makes it mandatory for the executive to produce a report on the state of human rights worldwide every year.
It was gathered that the findings in the 2018 Human Rights Report were largely similar to those of the previous year’s report.
The report added that “Although the law provides criminal penalties for conviction of official corruption, the government did not implement the law effectively, and officials frequently engaged in corrupt practices with impunity.
“Massive, widespread, and pervasive corruption affected all levels of government and the security services. There were numerous reports of government corruption during the year.
“The EFCC writ extends only to financial and economic crimes. The ICPC secured 14 convictions during the year. In 2016 the EFCC had 66 corruption cases pending in court, had secured 13 convictions during the year, and had 598 open investigations.
“Although ICPC and EFCC anti-corruption efforts remained largely focused on low and mid-level government officials, following the 2015 presidential election, both organisations started investigations into and brought indictments against various active and former high-level government officials. Many of these cases were pending in court.
“According to both ICPC and EFCC, the delays were the result of a lack of judges and the widespread practice of filing for and granting multiple adjournments.
“EFCC arrests and indictments of politicians continued throughout the year, implicating a significant number of opposition political figures and leading to allegations of partisan motivations on the part of the EFCC.
“In October the EFCC arrested and indicted former governor of Ekiti State Ayo Fayose on 11 counts, including conspiracy and money laundering amounting to 2.2 billion naira ($6 million). After a Federal High Court ruling, Fayose was out on 50 million naira ($137,500) bail.”
On financial disclosure, the report stated the constitutional requirement under the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act (CCBTA) for public officials, including the president, vice president, governors, deputy governors, cabinet ministers, and legislators (at both federal and state levels), to declare their assets to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) before assuming and after leaving office. The constitution calls for the CCB to “make declarations available for inspection by any citizen of the country on such terms and conditions as the National Assembly may prescribe.