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Nigerian CSOs respond to Attorney General statement on Halliburton

Call for the immediatate prosecution of the Attorney General of the Federation , Bello Adoke, for aiding and abetting corruption - text of the press conference by civil society groups working on anti-corruption in Nigeria: 

In February 2010, the Nigerian Bar Association through its President, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu SAN, raised an alarm over attempts by the Federal Government to sweep the Halliburton scam under the carpet. A year after the clarion call, it is distressful to see Bello Adoke SAN, the Attorney General of the Federation and Justice Minister following the line of his predecessor-in-office Chief Michael Aondoakaa who was unwilling to prosecute public officials involved and was shown the way out in circumstances that are dishonorable and disgraceful.

It is clear that Bello Adoke SAN, has demonstrated a total lack of commitment to the anti-corruption war and has aligned himself with the conspiracy to continue the cover-up. It appears as if Mr. Adoke SAN, has suddenly become one of the richest sitting Ministers of Justice in the contemporary world today, with a level of wealth comparable only to those of the oil czars. We do not know the mystery behind his vast riches but we know that since coming into office:

1) AGF Bello Adoke SAN has flagrantly violated sections 15(5) and 174 (3) of the 1999 Constitution when he set out to withdraw several cases on economic crimes against the public interest. We note in particular the case of the Vaswani Brothers whom EFCC was bent on prosecuting for multi-billion naira tax evasion and forgery; his morbid deal with former Governor of Bauchi State, Adamu Muazu to stop his prosecution; withdrawal of charges and return of recovered stolen funds to former National Electricity Regulatory Commissioners; assurances of safe landing for Dele Oye and Akingbola’s return from criminally self-imposed exile; the trial of Chief Kenny Martins handled by Festus Keyamo, for embezzling Police Equipment Funds was profanely halted by the AGF; so also was the trial of Julius Berger, Siemens Plc., Saipem, Technip and Halliburton Inc.; the attempt to stop the criminal trial of the Anosikes (Daily Times N3Billion scam), was resisted by a brave Trial Judge who actually overruled the AGF when he applied for a withdrawal of the charges on the ground that it was not in the public interest to do so. Within his ten months of being in office, the AGF has an all-time record of over 25 cases withdrawn by him against corrupt persons with a high political profile.

2) When EFCC published an advisory list of corrupt politicians, AGF Adoke in his characteristic unpatriotic posture, issued EFCC a stern warning notice not to embarrass the Federal Government.

3) On Monday 14th Feb., 2011 AGF Adoke appeared before the Senate Committee on Judiciary to defend the Ministry’s budget, and he insulted the Nation when he said that only $21 Million was given as bribe to Nigerian Government officials in the Halliburton scam and that the $170.8 Million disgorged and paid by the Halliburton crime suspects as levies under a plea bargain arrangement will not be part of government revenue. The question is into whose pocket is he putting the money.

4) It is clear to all that the Seventh Schedule of the 1999 Constitution, as amended which his boss, President Goodluck Jonathan swore to uphold in his oath of allegiance and oath of office, to discharge his duties “faithfully and in accordance with the Constitution and the law and always in the interest of the sovereignty, integrity, solidarity, well being and prosperity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”, has now been put in abeyance by the many deliberate acts of malfeasance by AGF Adoke.

5) Section 15(5) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which stipulates that “the State shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power” has been rendered un-operational, as people in power sap the nation’s economic strength through corrupt acts.

It is regrettable that at a time in which serious minded nations are holding business firms accountable for unethical practices and prosecuting them for abuse of public trust, an individual occupying an office which should be at the forefront of prosecuting acts of corruption has made it a practice to make excuses for corrupt people and practices and trivialize serious corruption matters by explaining them away, thereby insulting the sensibilities of Nigerians and making us a laughing stock within the international community.

Our demands:

1. We call on the Senate and House of Representatives to immediately set up a public Hearing and inquiry into Halliburton funds scam in order to stop the AGF and other collaborators from further scandalizing our dear country by his various acts of infamy.

2. We call for the immediate resignation of the AGF Adoke SAN from office for his desecration of the exalted office.

3. We demand for the immediate prosecution of AGF Adoke for corrupt enrichment and gross abuse of a public office.

4. We call on the National Assembly to amend all relevant laws to strengthen Anticorruption Agencies to position them to take more proactive actions on clear cases of massive public corruption.

5. We call on the National Assembly to ensure effective oversight on all the Anti-corruption agencies in Nigeria.
6. We call on President Goodluck Jonathan to categorically dissociate himself from the pro-corruption stance of his AGF.

7. We call on the general public to rise up and ensure that corruption and corrupt leaders are not tolerated and are removed from offices that embody public trust.

8. We call on Civil Society Groups and the Media to ensure that the issue of corruption remains in the front burner during the campaign for elections and candidates are compelled to issue categorical statements on what they would do about corruption if elected.

9. We call on the International Community to impose travel sanctions on all public officials implicated in corrupt practices.

10. We call on the judiciary to be more patriotic and assertive in the performance of their constitutional responsibilities.

11. We Call on the Anticorruption institutions in Nigeria to demonstrate more commitment and refused to yield to the intimidation and manipulation by the political class.

Signed:

1. ZERO-CORRUPTION COALITION
2. CIVIL SOCIETY LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY CENTRE(CISLAC)
3. WEST AFRICAN CIVIL SOCIETY FORUM
4. CENTRE FOR DEMOCRACY AND DEVELOPMENT
5. WOMEN IN NIGERIA
6. PUBLISH WHAT YOU PAY
7. TRANSPARENCY IN NIGERIA
8. Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD)
9. Centre for the Development of Civil Society (CDCS)
10. NATIONAL PROCUREMENT WATCH PLATFORM (NPWP)

February 17TH 2011

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