The committee says after President Olusegun Obasanjo, the crusade against corruption went comatose from 2007 largely due to leadership deficit. The presidential advisory committee against corruption (PACAC) says Goodluck Jonathan allowed corruption to thrive under his administration. The secretary of PACAC, Owasanoye, ascribes the current economic decline, poverty rates and deteriorated living standards to corruption in Nigeria.
The presidential advisory committee against corruption (PACAC) says the Jonathan administration fared worse than his predecessors in tackling official embezzlement. The presidential advisory committee against corruption (PACAC), says fifty-five people stole N1.3trillion from the national treasury in seven years under President Goodluck Jonathan’s watch. The PACAC made the disclosure in its report of activities from August 2015 to July 2016 presented to civil society organisations (CSOs) during an interactive session in Abuja on Thursday, October 20.
The committee said Jonathan allowed corruption to thrive under his administration, adding that the Jonathan administration fared worse than his predecessors in tackling official embezzlement, The Nation reports. The report stated that: “His (Jonathan’s) tolerance of corruption was reflected in the sunset of activities of anti-corruption agencies under his watch and exponential increase of other vices no doubt fuel by corruption. “For example, it is widely believed that insecurity escalated because of the massive embezzlement of $2billion through the Office of the National Security Adviser under the leadership of Col. Sambo Dasuki, who allegedly diverted the money appropriated to fight insurgency.
“The problems in the downstream sector of the petroleum industry reached zenith with multi-billion dollars subsidy scams while President Jonathan looked the other way. “At the same time, other vices spread like cancer – kidnapping, import duty waivers, financial recklessness, a profligate legislature, corrupt judiciary, etc. There was no single high profile conviction under his watch yet there were allegations of high profile corruption within his cabinet. “Jonathan’s legendary comment that stealing is not corruption underscored his perspective on corruption and remains a watershed in the history of anti-corruption crusade in Nigeria. “Under his watch, corruption brought Nigeria to its knees.”
The executive secretary of the committees, Prof Bolaji Owasanoye, who presented the report said using World Bank rates, one-third of the N1.3trillion allegedly stolen by only 55 people in seven years could have provided 635.18 kilometers of roads, built 36 ultra-modern hospitals in each state, built and furnished 183 schools, educated 3,974 people from primary to tertiary level (at N25.2million per child) and built 20,062 units of two-bedroom houses. The committee said after former President Olusegun Obasanjo established key anti-corruption agencies which led to high-profile convictions, the crusade against corruption went comatose from 2007 “largely due to leadership deficit”.
Owasanoye ascribed the current economic decline, poverty rates, reduced life expectancy, mortality and deteriorated living standards to corruption which he noted was Nigeria’s greatest challenge. The PACAC executive secretary said a few Nigerians have become richer than their states due to corruption. Owasanoye said plea bargaining has been abused as people who stole the country dry were given slaps on the wrist and asked to go home. He said the committee has designed a plea bargain manual which mandates custodial sentence for all those who plead guilty of looting after returning all they stole.
Meanwhile, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has announced the surrender of two Federal High Court judges to the anti-corruption body on Thursday, October 20. In a statement, EFCC said the judges who surrendered at its Lagos zonal office on Awolowo Road in Ikoyi were Justice Agbadu James Fishim and Justice Uwani Abba Aji. It also reported that three more judges; Justices Mohammed Nasir Yunusa, Hyeladzira Ajiya Nganjiwa and Musa Haruna Kurya had earlier surrendered to the anti-corruption body for interrogation on Monday, October 17 and the day before yesterday, Wednesday, October 18 respectively.