June 11, 2024

Only three out of 614 public probes concluded since 1999 – Report


By Obas Esiedesa, Abuja

A report by the Centre for Fiscal Transparency and Public Integrity has revealed that only three out of 614 investigative probes related to corruption have been concluded since 1999.

The Centre noted that some of the probes which were mostly initiated at the National Assembly and by anti-corruption agencies have lasted for over 3,000 days without conclusion and public disclosures.

Prominent among the outstanding probes listed by the Centre were the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institution investigation on the “procedures adopted by telecommunications giant, MTN Nigeria, the Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah and four banks in repatriating the sum of $13.9 billion from Nigerian shores (2,791 days).

“The House of Representatives investigation of the Federal Ministry of Transportation and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency over a contract on behalf of Nigeria with a foreign private company, HLS International Limited, for the supply of certain security and surveillance equipment and systems worth $214,830,000, including $195,300,000 for the actual contract and an additional $19,530,000 (1,128 days).

“The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) investigation on ex-National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, over $2 billion arms fraud (3,115 days)”.

Speaking at public dialogue on the abandoned probes, Dr. Otive Igbuzor who chaired the event said the non-conclusion of the investigative probes showed that they were meant to divert public attention from the huge corruption going on at the various levels of government.

“This dialogue has been convened to shed light on the abandoned probes, discuss the implications and what can be done to reduce corruption and improve transparency and accountability in our country. The media has a great role to play in holding the government to account and promoting social justice, transparency and accountability in society. As we discuss the abandoned probes, I would like us to focus on sanctions, systems and society.

“As we discuss, let us have at the back of our minds that corruption has contributed a lot to the state of underdevelopment of Nigeria. In Nigeria, the crippled giant of Africa, the poverty rate increased from 15 percent in 1960 to 28.1 percent in 1980 to 69.2 percent in 1997 to about 40 percent. Currently, Nigeria is hosting the largest number of poor people in the world”, he added.

Earlier, the Executive Director of the Centre, Mr. Umar Yakubu explained that the centre in 2022 developed the probes monitor portal as a depository of information on “grand-corruption-related investigations that were made public between 1999 till date that have not been concluded”.

Mr. Yakubu noted that the monitor revealed that “out of the 614 probes initiated by various governmental bodies that are in public domain, only three are known to have been concluded. This alarming discrepancy underscores a significant accountability gap and raises serious questions about the effectiveness and commitment of the National Assembly, and other public institutions in pursuing transparency and justice”.