Nigerians hail HEDA as group presents 100 high profile corruption cases
Pending graft cases amount to trillions of naira of public funds
By Aisha Abass
Labour, civil society and anti corruption institutions from across the country on Thursday showered praises on Human and Environmental Development Agenda, (HEDA Resource Centre) as the anti graft group presents 100 high profile corruption cases involving many Nigerians and institutions.
Participants describe HEDA as the iconic hope of Nigerians in the battle against corruption even as the foremost anti corruption group faces persecution from corrupt political figures and their allies.
The corruption cases involve cash amounting to trillions of naira of stolen or misappropriated public funds
Some of the listed cases were Sambo Dasuki arms deal ($21),former Benue Governor Gabriel Suswan (3.1b), Mohammed Bello Adioke, ($6m), Gbenga Daniel (N200m), Jumoke Akinjide (N650m),Kabiru Taminu Turaki (N714 6m) among many others
The event held at Colossus Hotel in Lagos.
The Compendium of 100 High Profile Corruption Cases in Nigeria covered many years ending on November 22, 2021.
The public presentation was the 5th edition by HEDA
The Executive Chairman of HEDA, Mr. Olanrewaju Suraj at the occasion spoke on the costs and consequences of the high profile corruption cases in Nigeria.
He said corruption was at the bottom of violence, poverty and instability the country currently go through.
He said Nigerians need to work together to fight against corruption.
Mr Femi Falana who joined the event through Zoom commended the efforts of HEDA saying that the group has taken remarkable steps in leading Nigeria in the campaign against corruption.
The Chairman of the occasion, Executive Secretary of Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) Professor Sadiq Isah Radda, said his organisation has been working since 2015 to help the government fight against corruption.
He said to effectively fight corruption the judiciary and the legislative need to work together by sharing the vision that corruption can ruin any country
He said at present, some lawyers and judges have compromised their credibility for their personal interests creating hurdles in the anti corruption crusade.
Also, he said the three tiers of government need to cooperate to bring corruption on it’s kneel.
He said while the Federal Government has shown commitment in the fight against corruption, the States and Local Governments have not demonstrated enough vigour
Speaking at the event Mr Adeyinka Olumide Fusika, (SAN) said “we are all affected by corruption in the country. The anti graft agencies saddled with the responsibility of bringing corrupt people to book have also compromised their integrity.”
He said corruption in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is on the rise.
He said the anti graft agencies are not free from tribalism, nepotism and favoritism
“The EFCC we have today is highly corrupt. Their investigation is shallow, as the EFCC investigators have become contractors that do the bidding of their corrupt paymasters.”
The EFCC lead Prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Jacobs SAN), believed that for corruption to be minimised in the country, cash transactions in private and public sector should be drastically reduced.
He further pointed out that most of the high profile corruption cases have to do with the mismanagement of Security Votes by Governors, who use the money to enrich themselves at the expense of the public.
Former Solicitor General of Lagos State, Lawal Pedro, SAN, one of the panelists, said that it saddens him that corruption cases take longer time to prosecute, stressing that incomplete investigation, lack of prima facie evidence and unpreparedness of prosecution in filing of charges in court are major issues that needed to be addressed in the fight against corruption.
He however recommended that for corrupt politicians to be brought to book, an independent prosecution agency which may be called Economic and Financial Crimes and Corruption Prosecution Agency, EFCPA, with its separate Chairman and competent staff that would give legal advice to the Ministry of Justice will help in reducing the number of cases of civil wrongs like breach of contract and recovery of debt converted to corruption cases now pending in our courts.
The Founder of Community Life Project, Dr. Ngozi Iwere, one of the panelists said there is more emphasis on the national level while corruption in the states and local levels of government are ignored
She said that there are problems of corruption associated with public works expenditure and management and also in constituency project funding at the community and grassroots level.