Breaking News
Translate

Mueller investigation: How to fight corruption

By Yinka Odumakin

THE 2017 Special Counsel ongoing investigation in the United States led by former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel is a credible manual for any country that wants to fight corruption in the real sense of it and not just theatrics or propaganda.

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller

The investigation empowered by the U.S. Department of Justice is exploring any coordination between Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Russian government as part of the Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections and related matters. The anti-graft agencies in Nigeria would consider it high treason to investigate the campaign of a sitting President. A “crack team” (whatever that means!) is all we have heard on a removed Secretary of Government who once boasted “I am a member of the cabal”. The shyness of the EFCC in moving against him instead of dancing around the issue suggests there is post-office immunity for our cabal members..

Mueller’s investigation  had subsumed several existing FBI investigations including those involving former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. In August 2017, Mueller’s investigation reportedly expanded to include several lobbying firms, including the Podesta Group. Mueller has assembled a team of attorneys to conduct the investigation.

On October 30, 2017, Manafort and his business partner Rick Gates surrendered to the FBI on charges brought by the special counsel unrelated to the Trump campaign. On the same day, Mueller’s team revealed that former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulous  pled guilty on October 5 to making false statements to FBI agents about contacts he had with agents of the Russian government while working for the Trump campaign in 2016, and was cooperating with investigators.

On May 17, 2017, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller, a former Director of the FBI, to serve as special counsel for the United States Department of Justice, DOJ. In this capacity, Mueller oversees the investigation into “any links and/or coordination between Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump, and any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation”.  As special counsel, Mueller has the power to issue subpoenas,hire staff members, request funding, and prosecute federal crimes in connection with the election interference.[

The appointment followed a series of events which included President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey and Comey’s allegation that Trump asked him to drop the FBI investigation into his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

Rosenstein, in his role as Acting Attorney General due to the recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has authority over the use of DOJ resources by Mueller and the investigation. In an interview with the Associated Press, Rosenstein said he would recuse himself from supervision of Mueller if he himself were to become a subject in the investigation due to his role in the dismissal of Comey.If Rosenstein were to recuse himself, his duties in this matter would be assumed by the Justice Department’s third-in-command, Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand? An Attorney General in the recall and reinstatement of Pension fugitive sits pretty well in office as well as other ranking officials mentioned in complicity.

The special counsel went to work investigating all possible leads. Transactions  under investigation include Russian purchases of Trump apartments, a SoHo development with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, transactions with the Bank of Cyprus, real estate financing organised by Jared Kushner, and Trump’s sale of a mansion to Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev.The special counsel team has contacted Deutsche Bank, which is the main banking institution doing business with The Trump Organization.

Our anti-corruption war cannot near Dubai properties purchased by our Army Chief or the $25b contract allegations against our NNPC helmsman.He was not on the pages of newspapers or going about like Hollywood actors.It is only the results of his forensic investigations that are showing all over.

In October 30, 2017, Paul Manafort surrendered to the FBI after being indicted on multiple charges. Rick Gates was also indicted and surrendered to the FBi.The pair have been indicted on one count of conspiracy against the United States, one count of conspiracy to launder money, one count of being an unregistered agent of a foreign principal, one count of making false and misleading FARA statements, and one count of making false statements. Manafort was charged with four counts of failing to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts while Gates was charged with three. (The charges arise from their consulting work for a pro-Russian government in Ukraine and are unrelated to the Trump campaign.)

Also on October 30, it was revealed that George Papadopoulos had pleaded guilty earlier in the month to making a false statement to FBI investigators.The guilty plea was part of a plea bargain in which he agreed to cooperate with the government and “provide information regarding any and all matters as to which the Government deems relevant.”

We have fought corruption in two and a half years without any earthshaking investigation leading to resignations or accused persons owing up to their crimes.You hear watery charges being read in court now and then.It is more of anti-corruption seduction and hyping to massage the psyche of the public.

The work of Mueller has garnered support across party lines because it is credible . His appointment to oversee the investigation had attracted widespread support from Democrats and even some from Republicans in Congress. Senator Charles Schumer (D–NY) said, “Former Director Mueller is exactly the right kind of individual for this job. I now have significantly greater confidence that the investigation will follow the facts wherever they lead.” Senator Dianne Feinstein (D–CA) stated, “Bob was a fine U.S. attorney, a great FBI director and there’s no better person who could be asked to perform this function.” She added, “He is respected, he is talented and he has the knowledge and ability to do the right thing.” Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R–UT) tweeted that “Mueller is a great selection. Impeccable credentials. Should be widely accepted.”

A May 2017 Politico/Morning Consult poll showed that 81% of U.S. voters were for the special prosecutor’s investigation.[A June 2017 Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll asked U.S. adults whether the special counsel’s investigation could be fair and impartial: 26% were “extremely confident” or “very confident”; 36% were “moderately confident” and 36% were “not very confident” or “not at all confident.”[

Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara wrote of the team that “Bob Mueller is recruiting the smartest and most seasoned professionals who have a long track record of independence and excellence”. Former special prosecutor Kenneth Starr, who had investigated Bill Clinton during the Clinton Administration, said that the team was “a great, great team of complete professionals”..

Any day we are ready to fight corruption,there is a ready manual. There has to be credible institutions, personnel with integrity, strict adherence to the rule of law with all citizens being equal before the law.


Disclaimer

Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.