By Bashorun J.K. Randle
It is amazing how time flies!! Besides, it is totally fraudulent to attempt to live on borrowed time. There is no way to pay it back. This message was forcefully brought to the fore by the realisation that today marks the 25th Anniversary of the launching of KPMG’s Global Initiative and Forecast.
It was the brainchild of the then Chairman of KPMG International, who was subsequently knighted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 13 June, 1980 and was bestowed with the honour of being known as Sir Colin Sharman.
After his retirement, he proceeded to the House of Lords as a Peer of the Realm, of Redlynch in the County of Wiltshire.
Not in their wildest dream could any of the authors of the forecast of short/medium/long- term events and how to assess/manage the consequent risks (and convert them to business opportunities) have predicted that in May 2017, 27, eminent American psychiatrists and mental health experts would publish in the New York Post and Wall Street Journal their concerns about the mental state of the current President of America. Not only did one of them Dr. Bandy X. Lee, testify before congress two weeks ago, they have launched a book: ‘THE DANGEROUS CASE OF DONALD TRUMP’
As a sequel to the bizarre episode or recurring drama, President Trump submitted himself to medical examination by Dr. Ronny Jackson, The Physician to the President (also known as the White House Doctor)
The medical report is as follows: as reported on the front page of “The Nation” newspaper of January 18, 2018
Headline: “TRUMP COULD LIVE 200 YEARS IF…, SAYS WHITE HOUSE PHYSICIAN”
United States (U.S.) President Donald Trump could live up to 200 years if he had maintained a healthier diet over the past 20 years, White House Physician, Dr Ronny Jackson, has said.
Trump’s doctor spoke yesterday as he broke the silence on the President’s health and his diet.
He described Trump’s health as “excellent,” but added that like the majority of Americans, the President “is overweight and he doesn’t get enough exercise.”
The President weighs 239 pounds. That means he’s gained three pounds over the last year, according to his last official records.
At six feet, three inches tall, Trump had a body mass index (BMI) that puts him in the “overweight” range, according to the National Institutes of Health’s online BMI calculator.
Being overweight is simply defined as a person whose weight is higher than what is considered a normal weight adjusted for height. The President is one pound shy of being considered obese, according to these calculations.
Even without the buns, Trump’s favourite fast-food meal is a diet-buster.
He is not alone. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, more than one in three adults were considered to be overweight and more than one in three were considered obese. That means the percentage of adults age 20 and above who are overweight or obese is 70.7 per cent, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention said.
Jackson said he will work with Trump to design an exercise routine and eating programme that will help him get a better handle on his weight. The President said he would like to lose some weight, according to the doctor.
Being overweight, or in this case borderline obese, does increase Trump’s risk for diabetes, heart disease and high cholesterol. Tests have shown he has high cholesterol and there’s evidence of heart disease, but Jackson said tests show his heart is functioning well.
“I think a reasonable goal over the next year or so would be to lose 10 to 15 pounds,” Jackson said. “We talked about diet and exercise a lot. He is more enthusiastic about the diet part than the exercise part, but we’re going to do both.”
Trump is also not alone in his lack of interest in exercise. Out of adults over the age of 18, 51.7 per cent meet the U.S. Physical Activity Guidelines for aerobic activity, and 21.7 per cent of adults meet the aerobic and muscle strengthening activity guidelines, according to the CDC. Adults are supposed to do two hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate intensity aerobic activity or one hour and 15 minutes a week of vigorous intensity aerobic activity for “substantial health benefits,” according to the guidelines. Trump has been seen out on the golf course, and the guidelines do say that “some activity is better than none,” but if his doctor has any say in the matter, Trump will be exercising more.
“If we get diet and exercise right, then weight loss will come,” Jackson said.
Presenting the outcome of Trump’s medical fitness that the President could eat KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) and McDonald’s and still be in great shape because God gave him ‘incredible genes’, the doctor declared the president as “very healthy” and his overall health “excellent” in spite of his unhealthy habits.
“It’s called genetics. I don’t know. Some people have just great genes. I told the President that if he had a healthier diet over the last 20 years, he might live to be 200 years old. “I don’t know. It’s just the way God made him,” Jackson said.
The physician’s press briefing came after Trump underwent his first physical examination as President last Friday at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre in Bethesda, Maryland.
Jackson said Trump received a perfect score on a cognitive test designed to screen for neurological impairment.
According to him, it is evident that the President did not suffer from mental issues that could prevent him from functioning in office and can serve out two terms of eight years.
“I’ve found no reason whatsoever to think the President has any issues whatsoever with his thought processes,” Jackson, a rear admiral in the Navy, he said.
A book published earlier this month, “Fire and Fury” by Michael Wolff, asserted that even Trump’s own advisers and associates questioned his fitness for office.
Trump, the doctor said, asked for the cognitive test to answer his critics and attempt to quell questions about his mental abilities.
Jackson said with mostly normal results on a battery of tests and examinations “excellent”, Trump, 71, has remarkably good cardiac health, probably because he does not smoke or drink alcohol.
Jackson said the President sleeps only four to five hours a night but rarely sees the President overly stressed.
“He has a unique ability to just get up in the morning and just reset. He gets up and he just starts a new day,” the White House doctor said.
Colin Sharman was not an aristocrat. Neither did he attend any public school (Eton; Harrow; Winchester; King’s Canterbury etc.); nor did Cambridge University/Oxford University feature in his Curriculum Vitae (“CV”). Regardless, he was cut from the same cloth as his illustrious and legendary predecessor, Sir Ralph Leach, whose frequent exhortation when he was the Senior Partner of Peat, Marwick, Mitchell (the predecessor firm of “KPMG”), was that being a Chartered Accountant had three components.
First and foremost is character followed by the appetite for learning and acquisition of knowledge. According to him, the third leg is the application of knowledge in the pursuit of the public good.
Here we are twenty-five years after Sir Colin Sharman’s seminal endeavour to predict the future. He and his team certainly did not forecast the front page of “ThisDay” newspaper of January 18, 2018:
(i)Headline: “UK APPOINTS MINISTER FOR LONELINESS”
“In a first, British Prime Minister Theresa May has appointed Tracey Crouch as the country’s Minister for Loneliness.
Crouch is the current junior Minister for Sport and Civil Society.
The appointment is one of the recommendations made by a commission set up in honour of Jo Cox, a Labour MP.
Cox, who campaigned about loneliness, was murdered by a right wing extremist in 2016.
The government said it would develop a strategy on the issue, gather more evidence and statistics, and provide funding for community groups to start activities which connect people.
The prime minister was expected to formally announce the appointment yesterday and said she has accepted many of the recommendations made by the commission.
“For far too many people, loneliness is the sad reality of modern life,” May said.
“I want to confront this challenge for our society and for all of us to take action to address the loneliness endured by the elderly, by carers, by those who have lost loved ones – people who have no one to talk to or share their thoughts and experiences with.”
(ii) Headline: ’78 EX-US AMBASSADORS WRITE TRUMP OVER ‘SHITHOLE’ SLUR’
“The ripples generated by President Donald Trump’s alleged disparaging shithole comments have continued, with 78 former United States Ambassadors who served in Africa writing the president to remind him about the continent’s great exploits and potential.
“Africa is a continent of great human talent and rich diversity, as well as extraordinary beauty and almost unparalleled natural resources,” the former envoys said in a joint statement delivered at the White House Tuesday.
“It is also a continent with deep historical ties with the United States.”
The statement came days after Trump reportedly derided Africa, Haiti and El Salvador in a meeting about immigration policy in the White House.
Trump reportedly singled out Haiti, El Salvador and parts of Africa as “shithole countries” during the January 11 meeting, according to the U.S. media.
But the president denied ever describing any race as coming from “shithole countries” in a January 12 tweet.
Several African countries, including Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa, have protested the alleged comments by Trump and summoned the U.S. top diplomats in their countries.
The All Africa Media published the reaction of the 78 former American top diplomats to the controversy on Wednesday morning.
“As American ambassadors abroad, we have seen Africa’s complex and rich cultures, awe- inspiring resilience, and breath-taking generosity and compassion.
Even as some nations have faced challenges, we have counted among our contacts dynamic entrepreneurs, gifted artists, committed activists, passionate conservationists, and brilliant educators,” the former ambassadors, who served in 48 different countries on the continent, including Nigeria, said.
“We learned of novel solutions to complex problems, helped American companies find partners critical to their success, and counted on African military and intelligence officials who often assumed real risks to help achieve outcomes critical to our shared security.
We know that respectful engagement with these countries is a vital part of protecting our own national interests. The United States of America is safer, healthier, more prosperous, and better equipped to solve problems that confront all of humanity when we work with, listen to, and learn from our African partners.
We also know that the entire world is richer because of the contributions of Africans, including the many Americans of African descent.
It was one of the greatest honours of our lives to represent the United States of America abroad. It was also a privilege to live in and learn from the diverse and spectacular countries of Africa,” they added.
The former diplomats urged Trump to re-evaluate his perception of Africa and its people going forward.
“We hope that you will reassess your views on Africa and its citizens, and recognise the important contributions Africans and African Americans have made and continue to make to our country, our history, and the enduring bonds that will always link Africa and the United States,” they said.”
Nowhere in Colin Sharman’s prediction was there any hint that Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu would lament, on CNN, his frustration regarding the sabotage of his Ministry’s fruitless efforts to repair/rehabilitate our nation’s four refineries tagged “Turn Around Maintenance” [“TAM”]:
“It got to a point where I started wondering whether as we repair them, somebody was going out there to destroy them, so that contracting can be done.”
Colin Sharman meant well. The only trouble is that predicting the future is tilted in favour of the past and the present i.e. history. However, Edward Gibbon [1734 – 1794] has cautioned us:
“History is indeed, little more than the crimes, follies and misfortune of mankind.”
Regardless, we are entitled to speculate on whether Sir Colin could have predicted: the front page of Daily Trust newspaper of December 14, 2017.
Headline: “‘FAILED’ EAST-WEST ROAD GULPS ¦ 300 BILLION’”
“The Federal Government yesterday said the East-West Road project in the Niger Delta region was designed to fail.
The government lamented that the project had so far gulped N300 billion with no substantial progress made.
Speaking to State House correspondents after the cabinet meeting, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Uguru, hinted that no fewer than 30 contractors would face prosecution.
He said a private consultant had been hired to review the cost, noting that some contractors would refund money for which the present cost would be discounted.
The minister also disclosed that the Federal Executive Council yesterday approved N16 billion for the construction of the headquarters of the Niger Delta Development Commission in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Asked if he meant that the East-West road project was gone, the minister repeated: “I have said East-West road was designed to fail and we are doing everything to correct that concept; which means if it was designed to fail, it was gone, but now, it’s being revived.
If you’ve spent N300bn and you are where you are then… the design, negotiations, contract everything is wrong. You designed a project of that nature and give it a lifespan of seven years and then no designs in some sectors and yet you are attributing cost to it. So by what means did you have the elements of costing? These are verifiable facts at any time.”
(ii) Front page of “The Punch” newspaper of December 14, 2017
Headline: ‘CIVIL SERVANT TO FOREFEIT 86 VEHICLES, FOUR HOUSES TO FEDERAL GOVERNMENT’
“The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Apo, Abuja, has ordered that 86 luxury vehicles, together with four houses and a quarry plant in Abuja, belonging to a civil servant, Mr. Ibrahim Tumsah, be temporarily forfeited to the Federal Government.
The luxury vehicles were allegedly seized from Tumsah, a director in the federal Civil Service.
Tumsah is said to be the Director of Finance and Accounts in the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing.
All the 86 vehicles, 23 of which were said to be armoured, linked to him, were described by detectives as brand new.
The court’s forfeiture orders also affected four houses, two of which are located in Wuse II; one in Wuse Zone 7, and the other in Jabi, all in Abuja.
Also to be forfeited to government by the court’s orders, is a quarry in Kuje, Abuja, which was said to have been seized from Tumsah.
Eight containers, with household items, also seized from Tumsah, are affected by the court order.
The 86 vehicles, the landed assets and the other items were said to have been found on November 17, 2017, in a warehouse located on the premises of the house at 22 Igbani Street, Jabi, Abuja.
Court papers obtained by our correspondent on Wednesday showed that Justice Muawiyah Idris of the FCT High Court made the interim forfeiture orders on December 6, 2017.
The judge made the orders following an ex parte application filed on November 23, 2017, by the recently constituted Special Investigation Panel on the Recovery of Public Property on behalf of the Federal Government.
The panel is chaired by the Special Assistant to the President on Prosecutions, Chief Okoi Obono- Obla.
The judge granted the interim forfeiture order after the panel’s lawyer, Rimamsomte Ezekiel, argued the ex parte motion on December 6, 2017.
The court, in its ruling, granted the orders authorising the panel “to freeze” all the items listed in the schedule attached to the ex parte motion “pending full investigation on the serious criminal allegations that were brought against the respondents” – Tumsah and his brother, Tijjani Tumsah.
But the judge also ordered that the panel’s ongoing investigation must be completed within three months.
He then adjourned until March 6, 2018.
Some of the 86 cars listed with their chassis numbers and colours in the schedule attached to the panel’s ex parte motion include Wrangler Jeep (black), Audi ASL (ash), Toyota Hilux (white), Taurus Ford (red), Mercedes Benz S550 (red), Mercedes Benz GL 550(black), Toyota Land Cruiser V6 (black), Toyota Prado Jeep (white), Jaguar (ash), another Toyota Hilux (white), Toyota Highlander, and another Mercedes Benz S550 (black).
Also on the schedule are two Golf GTI cars (both black), Hyundai Veloster (red), Wrangler (red), Chevrolet (ash), Mercedes Vaneo (ash), Infinity FX50 (ash), Honda 2008/9, Jaguar XF (silver), Sahara Jeep (grey), BMW 7 Series (dark ash), Mercedes E550 (silver), Toyota Avalon (dark ash), Mercedes CLK 550 (ash), Cayenne Porche (black), Toyota Camry 2009 (sky blue), Jeep SRT Cherokee (silver), BMW GT550 (white) and BMW R8 2 Series (black).
Others on the list are Hyundai Velager (red), Camry 2013/14(white), Mercedes C300 (black), Ford Taurus (golden), Lincoln Niks (dark ash), Equus 2013 (dark ash), Toyota Sequoia (black), Audi A7 3.OT (black), Toyota Prado (black), another Mercedes C550 (black), KIA 900 (black), Avalon 2014(dark ash), Fiat 500 (silver), Acura RNX 2013, Lexus 15 3500, another Ford Taurus.
(Maroon), Caridac XT54 (red), Fiat; Turbo; Ford Excursion; Honda V6 Tourine, Audi Q 736, Ford BW, Lexus LS430 and Infinity QX705.
They also include Maserati, Ford Super Duty, Toyota RAV4, Ford 4X4 Super Duty, Land Rover VIE 1155, Land Rover VIE 1265, Ford Taurus, Ford SHD, Audi 55, Royal Turbo and 20 other luxury cars.
The seized houses are located at 34 Euphrate Street, Wuse II, Abuja; 5 Siraso Crescent, Wuse Zone 7, Abuja; 27 Cairo Crescent, Wuse II, Abuja; and 22 Igbani Street, Jabi, Abuja.
The quarry, said to have been seized from the civil servant, was said to be located in Kuje.
Of the eight “containers” also allegedly seized from him, one was said to be empty, while the rest were said to have contained items like mattresses, cables, Honda Bike 4 Wheel, among others.
The Obono-Obla-led panel had alleged that Tumsah, from whom the multi-million naira assets were seized, was merely on a monthly salary of less than N500,000, yet acquired all the assets between 2016 and 2017.
Muhammed Kabiru, a police officer and a prosecutor seconded to the panel, informed the court in a supporting affidavit filed along with the ex parte motion, that the panel, earlier in the year, received a petition against Tumsah, who was accused of “official corruption and abuse of office.”
According to the panel’s investigators, Tumsah acquired the seized assets in the name of two of his companies registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission –Integrated Service Insurance Limited and Integrated Bureau De-Change Limited.
It was alleged that Tumsah used his brother, Tijjani Tumsah, as front, to act as the Chairman and Managing Director of the companies.
Both Tumsah and his brother were joined as respondents to the application marked M/873/17.
Alleging that the seized assets were proceeds of crime, the panel said both Tumsah and his brother, when invited for interrogation, could not explain or justify their sources of wealth and how they acquired the assets.
The investigator also alleged that both of them could not remember the number of bank accounts they were operating on behalf of their two companies.
He stated, “That the items listed above in our schedule were acquired in 2016 and 2017.
“The second defendant (Tumsah’s brother) is not into any business, and neither is he a retired civil servant in any office.
“That when the respondents (Tumsah and his brother) visited our office, they could not explain, or remember the number of their bank accounts which they are operating under the name of their two companies.
“That our investigation reveals that the first respondent, who is a civil servant and a director in the federal ministry, used his office to acquire those vehicles, the houses, landed properties, those containers and the rest of those items listed in our schedule.
“That the first respondent and the second respondent could not explain or justify the sources of their wealth regarding how they came about those items in our schedule above.
“That our investigation reveals that those items in the schedule are proceeds of crimes, abuse of office and official corruption against the first respondent, Ibrahim Musa Tumsah.
“That those items in our schedule are exhibits which can be used against the respondents in their criminal prosecution in the court of law.
“That those vehicles from numbers 1 to 86 in our schedule are expensive in market value.
“That we need an interim order of this honourable court to keep those vehicles, the houses, containers and other items in their preserved position (the status quo) pending the completion of our investigation and to charge the respondents to the court of law.
“That our intelligence report shows that the respondents are trying to sell those houses, and some of the containers listed in the schedule.
“That our intelligence report also reveals that the respondents are trying to remove some of those vehicles in order to destroy our possible exhibits.
“That the respondents, some few days ago, came to the premises and threatened to sell some of those vehicles without our knowledge and consent.
“That hereby attached is the investigation report in this matter as our Exhibit SPP 1.
“That also attached is the list of those vehicles, the containers and Honda Bike 4 Wheel as Exhibit SPP2.
“That our investigation is still ongoing and is yet to be completed.”
No fair-minded jury could conceivably indict or convict Sir Colin Sharman for failing to predict the trenchant demand by His Royal Highness Muhammadu Sanusi II, the Emir of the ancient and magnificent city of Kano, that all politicians should be subjected to drug tests. Here is the report from ‘Vanguard’ of December 19, 2017
Headline: “Test Nigerian leaders for drug abuse – Emir Sanusi”
“The Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi, has called for a law to compel Nigerian political and religious leaders, including lawmakers, governors and traditional rulers, to undertake drug test.
According to him, leaders in the country condone the use of illegal substances by their bodyguards and thugs.
Sanusi, who made the call at the opening of a two-day Senate Roundtable on Drug Abuse Epidemic in Nigeria, organised by the Senate in Kano yesterday, said he would be happy to subject himself to same test.
He said: “I will be happy to subject myself to drug test. We deceive ourselves if we say we are not part of the problem. 90 per cent of issues that we have, flourish due to lack of political will. “Anybody who an element of drug abuse is found in him should quickly resign his position because he is not fit to hold public position.”
He said it was hypocritical and amounted to mere talk for a governor or senator or any big political office holder, to speak against drug abuse in the society, while having highly drugged thugs as his body guards moving around freely. “Today, it is better to be a drug baron on the payroll of a political leader, than to be a legally recognised security man, which means we must clean our acts before trying to achieve anything.
“Political leaders employ and support drug addicts as body guards, despite their unlimited access to established security agencies, both public and private.” He said he was “very ready and happy to be subjected to drugs test. And if I am found not worthy of being emir, I will quietly resign because the matter is bigger than what we are talking about.”
The emir noted that several laws are in the books to fight drug abuse but lamented that they are not being implemented.
He said: “If we are not implementing these laws already in the books, what assurance do we have that new ones will be implemented? “The trade in illicit drugs is a protective trade, and we must ask, who are those involved in this? How many rehabilitation centres do we have? How well equipped are they ready for the challenges; how many capacity development centres do we have? I think we must answer these questions for us to make headway. “Like I always say, if you don’t want to hear the truth, don’t invite me. Our major problem is that we are not implementing the laws we have for regulating drugs. “We have guidelines on who is allowed to sell drugs and who to sell the drugs to, but we are not following these guidelines.”
In his remarks at the roundtable, Senate President, Bukola Saraki, said the Senate is pushing for laws that will tackle the menace of drug abuse in the country because of its concern for the future of younger generations of Nigerians.
Saraki, who noted that the National Assembly decided to take decisive actions against drug abuse in Nigeria through the roundtable, as part of moves to finally tackle the menace, said: “If we continue to be a society that ignores laws and do as we wish, we are not far from being a failed state. “But in the Senate, we are firm in ensuring that what is right is done to protect the nation. We want to see here before we finish the two-day roundtable in Kano that some pharmacies are closed down for violating the rules. Then we will know we are serious about it.”
According to him, the main purpose of the roundtable is to send a message that there was hope in actualising a drug-free society. “There is no sense in calling agencies to fight drugs when we are not funding them. It doesn’t make sense. We must make a commitment that we are ready to do away with these problems. We should not be discouraged in the fight, as political leaders, we must have political will in the fight.”
Deputy Governor of Kano State, Prof. Hafiz Abubakar, said drugs worth N4.1 billion had been confiscated and burnt in the state, while another seizure worth N1 billion had been made and the suspects arrested.
Professor Abubakar said: “As you know, Kano has the largest share of all the challenges, considering our population and commercial base, but we have just one rehabilitation centre. “The government set up task force to track the drug abusers and arrests were made. Drugs worth N4.1 billion have already been destroyed, but I can tell you, this has little or no significant effect from what is on ground. So, we need federal government’s support.”
Throwing its weight behind the Emir, the pan-Yoruba socio political organisation said it was a good consideration. Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yinka Odumakin said: “It is a good consideration because most of the actions that our public office holders exhibit at times, we wonder if they are not under influence. I think it will be good for them to take such drug test and ensure that drug is not one of the things we would not be dealing with in those who are ruling us.”
On his part, Mr Akin Osuntokun, former Political Adviser to ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo said: “Well I don’t know whether the Emir has any specific reference in mind but given the ways and manners of a number of characters in public office there’s logic to his concerns. For instance it is next to impossible to fathom a reason to what is happening in Imo state. I’m almost certain that the governor is not a drug addict but there’s something unhinged about recent developments in that state.
Look also at Donald Trump and his sparring partner in North Korea. The leading American psychiatric association has actually come out with a publication on the subject of the mental stability of President Trump.”
Recall Vanguard report yesterday, in which the Senate had raised alarm three months ago on the floor of the Senate that the 19 Northern states of the federation are under serious threat due to drug abuse, stating that over three million bottles of codeine syrup are consumed daily in Kano and Jigawa states. It disclosed that across the 19 states, women, young girls in tertiary institutions, working class ladies, including married and unemployed women displaced by Boko Haram insurgency, among others, were involved in drug abuse, and that in 2015 alone, over 2,205 people were arrested in North-West geo-political zone by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, over drug-related abuses.
Consequently, the Senate mandated its Joint Committee on Drugs and Narcotics and Health to investigate the growing misuse of cough and other prescriptive drugs abuse and report back to the Senate on the needed legislative interventions to combat the trend. The senators stressed that secondary school students consume cough syrups regularly.”
Even more remarkable is the failure of the Colin Sharman team to have predicted the voracious appetite and sexual harassment unleashed by Dr. Larry Nassar on female American gymnasts who were thoroughly traumatised by the brazen abuse of trust. Here is the report from CNN on January 25, 2018:
Headline: ‘LARRY NASSAR SENTENCED TO UP TO 175 YEARS IN PRISON FOR DECADES OF SEXUAL ABUSE’
“Once a world-renowned sports physician treating America’s foremost Olympic women gymnasts, Larry Nassar now will spend the rest of his life behind bars.
The disgraced former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University doctor was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison, a judge announced Wednesday, after more than 150 women and girls said in court that he sexually abused them over the past two decades.
“I’ve just signed your death warrant,” Judge Rosemarie Aquilina said in a Lansing, Michigan, courtroom. “I find that you don’t get it, that you’re a danger. That you remain a danger.”
Nassar had pleaded guilty to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct in Ingham County in Michigan and admitted to using his trusted medical position to assault and molest girls under the guise of medical treatment.
He offered a short statement in court, apologizing and saying that hearing seven days of victim impact statements had shaken him to his core.
“There are no words that can describe the depth and breadth of how sorry I am for what has occurred,” Nassar said. “An acceptable apology to all of you is impossible to write and convey. I will carry your words with me for the rest of my days.”
But before delivering her sentence, Aquilina read aloud a letter Nassar wrote to the court recently in which he defended his medical care, said he was “manipulated” into pleading guilty, and accused the women of lying.
“I was a good doctor because my treatments worked, and those patients that are now speaking out are the same ones that praised and came back over and over,” Nassar wrote. “The media convinced them that everything I did was wrong and bad. They feel I broke their trust. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”
The letter “tells me you still don’t get it,” Aquilina said, tossing the letter dismissively. “I wouldn’t send my dogs to you, sir,” she added.
The sentence brings to an end a wrenching seven days of victim impact statements as part of Nassar’s plea deal.
A total of 156 victims spoke, recounting similar stories of how they went to Nassar to receive treatment for sports injuries only to be sexually assaulted and told it was a form of treatment.
“The breadth and ripple of this defendant’s abuse and destruction is nearly infinite,” Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis said in her remarks before the sentencing.
Many of the women said that when they spoke up about the treatment, they were ignored or their concerns brushed aside by organizations in power, primarily USA Gymnastics, Michigan State University and the US Olympic Committee.
The final speaker was Rachael Denhollander, the former gymnast who first made Nassar’s abuse public in a September 2016 story in the Indy Star. She meticulously laid out the ways that the systems failed her and other women and allowed this abuse to continue for so long.
“Women and girls banded together to fight for themselves because no one else would do it,” she said.
Nassar sat and listened on the witness stand, sometimes hiding his head in his hands or wiping away tears with a tissue.
Separately, he has already been sentenced to 60 years in prison for federal child pornography charges. He also has pleaded guilty to three charges of criminal sexual conduct in Eaton County in Michigan and is due to be sentenced on those charges on January 31.
Between the three sentences, Nassar, 54, will never get out of prison, Aquilina said.
But the judge reminded everyone in the courtroom that the focus of the week-long sentencing hearing was the victims — or survivors, as many have called themselves. One by one, women and their families came forward to confront Nassar and explain how he used his respected position to molest young, injured girls.
“I think what we’ve seen over the past week may have been a watershed moment in our country,” said attorney John Manly, who represents more than 100 women in civil lawsuits. “(This happened) because these women had the courage to get up and speak.”
The women — almost all of whom initially met Nassar for a sports-related injury — said that, because of the abuse, they struggled with anxiety, depression and instances of self-harm. Others said they no longer trust doctors or that they shrink from any physical touch.
“Sexual abuse is so much more than a disturbing physical act,” Kyle Stephens, the first victim to speak, said last week. “It changes the trajectory of a victim’s life, and that is something that nobody has the right to do.”
But the women also showed remarkable resolve and bravery, staring down Nassar in court and calling out the systems of power that protected him for more than two decades. The victims include some of the most famous Olympic gymnasts in American history, including gold medallist Aly Raisman, as well as athletes at Michigan State University and at USA Gymnastics.
“We, this group of women you so heartlessly abused over such a long period of time, are now a force, and you are nothing,” Raisman said. “The tables have turned, Larry. We are here. We have our voices, and we are not going anywhere.”
Court officials initially expected 88 victims to speak in court. But that number nearly doubled over the course of the sentencing hearing as more and more women came forward, inspired to speak out by what many called an “army of survivors.”
“We were ultimately strong enough to take you down,” Kaylee Lorincz said on Wednesday. “Not one by one, but by an army of survivors. We are Jane Does no more.”
Judge Aquilina allowed everyone who wished to speak a chance to be heard, and she offered personal responses to each woman in court. Legal experts said her intimate comments were unusual, but Nassar’s victims praised Aquilina for doing what so many others had failed to do: listen.
Though the sentencing marks the end of Nassar’s time in the public eye, it has focused critical attention on USA Gymnastics, the US Olympic Committee and Michigan State University, the institutions that employed Nassar for about two decades. A number of women have accused the organizations of turning a blind eye to Nassar’s abuse and even pressuring outspoken victims into silence.
“Michigan State University, the school I loved and trusted, had the audacity to tell me that I did not understand the difference between sexual assault and a medical procedure,” Amanda Thomashow said in court. “That master manipulator took advantage of his title, he abused me, and when I found the strength to talk about what had happened I was ignored and my voice was silenced.”
All three organizations have denied wrongdoing and said they reported the sexual abuse allegations to authorities once they learned about them.
Still, the fallout at those organizations has moved slowly and then all at once. Michigan State University asked the state attorney general to investigate its response to the abuse, and President Lou Anna Simon has faced calls for her resignation.
In the past week, USA Gymnastics cut ties with the Karolyi Ranch, the training facility where the abuse happened, and three leaders of its board stepped down under pressure.
The US Olympic Committee called on the rest of the USA Gymnastics board to step down and said it was considering decertifying USA Gymnastics as a national governing body, according to a statement from USOC CEO Scott Blackmun on Wednesday. The USOC statement also apologized for failing to stop Nassar’s abuse and for its inadequate response at his trial.
“The purpose of this message is to tell all of Nassar’s victims and survivors, directly, how incredibly sorry we are,” Blackmun wrote. “We have said it in other contexts, but we have not been direct enough with you. We are sorry for the pain caused by this terrible man, and sorry that you weren’t afforded a safe opportunity to pursue your sports dreams.
“The Olympic family is among those that have failed you.”
Even more startling is the “sang froid” by Yoweri Museveni, the President of Uganda in his response to the viciously disparaging and blatantly racist remarks of Donald J. Trump against Africans. Here is the report in the Washington Post on “January 23, 2018.
Headline: ‘UGANDAN PRESIDENT SAYS HE LOVES TRUMP: ‘HE TALKS TO AFRICANS FRANKLY’’
“Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni spoke in defence of President Trump on Tuesday, telling lawmakers at the opening of the East African Legislative Assembly held in Kampala he loved the American leader as “he talks to Africans frankly.”
The comments came a little less than two weeks after Trump described African nations, along with Haiti and El Salvador, as “shithole countries” whose inhabitants were not desirable as immigrants to the United States. Trump later suggested he had not used the word “shithole” during the private White House meeting. However, Sen. Richard J. Durbin (Ill.), the lone Democrat present in the Oval Office at the time, said Trump’s denial was false.
After Trump’s remarks were reported, a number of African leaders directly rebuked the president for his remarks. Nana Akufo-Addo, president of Ghana, suggested he could not “accept such insults, even from a leader of a friendly country, no matter how powerful,” while Macky Sall, president of Senegal, said he was “shocked” by the comments and “Africa and the black race deserve the respect and consideration of all.”
Speaking on Tuesday, however, Museveni suggested he felt differently about the comments. “America has got one of the best presidents ever. Mr. Trump. I love Trump,” the Ugandan president said, according to video published by local media outlets. As his audience laughed nervously, Museveni continued: “I love Trump because he talks to Africans frankly. I don’t know if he’s misquoted or whatever, but when he speaks I like him because he speaks frankly.”
Museveni went on to say Africa needed to be stronger. “It is the fault of the Africans that they are weak. They have this huge continent,” he said. “If you look at Africa, Africa is 12 times the size of India, in terms of land area, lots of resources, and the population is growing now. Why can’t we make Africa strong?”
The Ugandan leader’s thoughts on the U.S. president may not be shared by everyone in his country. Uganda’s state minister for international relations, Henry Okello Oryem, has called Trump’s remarks “unfortunate and regrettable,” while the U.S. ambassador to Uganda, Deborah Malac, said she herself had found the comment “obviously quite disturbing and upsetting as I know Africans themselves felt.”
Museveni has directly praised Trump before — just weeks ago in a New Year’s address, the Ugandan leader said he liked Trump. The U.S. president has also offered some limited praise to Uganda, listing its “incredible strides in the battle against HIV/AIDS” as one of a number of positive aspects to the relationship between the United States and Africa in a meeting with African leaders at the United Nations last year.
To critics of Museveni, the kinship is not so surprising. The Ugandan president has led the country for over three decades and recently lifted an age limit on his office. Meanwhile, he has allocated more than $77 million for expenses related to his residence and is openly grooming his son as his successor. Under his rule, Uganda has come down harshly on his critics: One university lecturer who called him “a pair of buttocks” on Facebook recently ended up in maximum security jail, while in 2014, a TV station was banned from presidential events after showing Museveni asleep in parliament.
Shortly after Trump’s “shithole” comments were first reported, Nigerian American journalist Dayo Olopade said the U.S. administration’s appointment of political novices to key positions resembled Museveni’s own “disorganized” executive staff. “What the president doesn’t grasp is that if some African nations have been reduced to ‘shithole countries,’ it’s precisely because they’ve been run by leaders like Trump,” Olopade wrote.”
However, both Sir Colin Sharman and Sir Ralph Leach would be deeply saddened (on behalf of the retired partners of KPMG who are still awaiting their gratuity and pension) that “Private Eye” magazine in its 1,461st issue took KPMG to task (and the cleaners):
Headline: ‘FIFA CORRUPTION, YELLOW CARD FOR KPMG’
“Football fans put off travelling to a less than welcoming Russia for the world cup this summer – not to mention to the 2022 event in Qatar – might might ponder the decades of corruption that led to the bizarre hosting decisions seven years ago.
When the depth of Fifa sleaze became clear with a raid on its snoozing officials at Zurich’s Baur au Lac hotel in May 2015, one question hung over the affair: with so much dodgy money sloshing around, how had the organisation’s auditor, KPMG, signed off its books as squeaky clean every year since the turn of the millennium?
Among the findings in US attorney-general Loretta Lynch’s indictment against the Fifa officials was that in 2008 $10m had been sent from Fifa to accounts controlled by the legendarily bent top Caribbean Fifa man Jack Warner as part of a kickback scheme for rigging the 2010 South African world cup vote. It should not have been difficult for the auditors, themselves well schmoozed at tournaments and elsewhere, to spot. Later in 2010, the same absence of controls let unlawful bonus payments (11m Swiss francs in Sepp Blatter’s case) go through on the nod.
With these and other scandals emerging, Swiss audit regulators agreed to examine KPMG’s work with Fifa between 2008 and 2014. The Eye can now reveal the so far unnoticed conclusion. The regulators identified “shortcomings” in the auditing and instituted enforcement proceedings against one individual (who can’t be named because of Swiss secrecy law). He or she received a reprimand. This all sounds very bureaucratic; but it does at least give official notice of flawed auditing at the heart of world football’s governing body.
KPMG’s shortcomings almost certainly go back far further than 2008. Effective auditing would have picked up the corruption at the core of Fifa long before it was allowed to turn the people’s game into a racket for a privileged few at the expense of grassroots facilities and fans.
KPMG’s “global head of communications” told the Eye he had nothing to add to an anodyne statement of resignation from the Fifa account in 2016. A promised review of its work by global HQ firm KPMG International is now two and a half years old… and silent.
When KPMG was found to have been up to its neck in the Gupta corruption affair in South Africa recently, worldwide Chairman John Veihmeyer apologised profusely, sacked the firm’s local leadership and claimed “this is not who we are”. But that was only after the beancounters began feeling the heat of some seriously bad publicity. Until that happens, as the Fifa episode shows, it’s business as usual, sweeping things under the carpet. For that is who KPMG are – and millions of fans are paying the price.”
* Randle is a former President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and former Chairman of KPMG Nigeria and Africa Region. He is currently the Chairman, J.K. Randle Professional Services.