Crime

Top Politicians Facing Trial For Corruption, Full Details

Top Politicians Facing Trial For Corruption, Full Details

The judiciary is widely regarded as the last hope for the common man. But, in Nigeria, the judicial system is bogged down by delay and inefficiency, as many politicians facing trial for corruptly enriching themselves while in office are exploiting loopholes and deliberately frustrating other parties to protract the matter for as long as possible. A publication by Human and Environmental Development Agenda, the fourth edition gives an update of some of the pending cases. Deputy Political Editor RAYMOND MORDI reports

Top Politicians Facing Trial

The fourth edition of the Compendium of 100 High Profile Corruption Cases in Nigeria recently presented to the public by the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) is like a who’s who in the country’s political arena. The names on the list are politically exposed persons (PEPs) and members of the former ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). They are mostly former governors, former ministers, former and serving state and federal lawmakers, former top security chiefs, and former heads of government ministries, departments and agencies. Many of the personalities on the list of high profile corruption cases have defected from the PDP to the APC, perhaps hoping that their cases will be dropped or will be let off the hook with a light sentence and an option of paying a fine.

The judiciary is regarded as the last hope for the common man. But, in Nigeria, the judicial system is bogged down by delay and inefficiency. Many of the litigants in the HEDA list are exploiting loopholes and deliberately frustrating other parties to protract the matter for as long as possible. In his foreword to the publication, the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Professor Itsejuwa Sagay said it is sad that less than five per cent of high profile public officers being prosecuted for corruption have so far been convicted. He commended HEDA for revealing the face of corruption in Nigeria through the compendium.

Top Politicians Facing Trial

Corruption cases involving politically exposed persons in Nigeria runs into hundreds. The EFCC has recovered billions of naira in local and foreign currencies through non-conviction asset recovery action. Yet, progress has been very slow. It is in a bid to raise citizens’ awareness about the updates on pending key corruption cases that HEDA Resource Centre decided to start publishing the compendium. The cases listed in the compendium, which was published with support from MacArthur Foundation, are those with recent updates from the hundreds being handled by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other anti-graft agencies.

The EFCC has been prosecuting some of the cases since as far back as 2005; this goes to show that the axe of justice grinds slowly in this part of the world. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo echoed this remark in his address during the 2020 Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Virtual Conference when he lamented the slow pace of trial in the country. He proposed the need for a reform of the judiciary by introducing time limits for all cases, as is now the case for election petitions.

Top Politicians Facing Trial

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In its background to the publication, HEDA Resource Centre said corruption has robbed Nigeria of opportunities for development in critical sectors. It added: “It is perhaps the most troubling issue in Nigeria as of today. It is a major setback to the development of Nigeria. Corruption has reduced the incentive for investment, increases the cost of the transaction and provides an environment dictated by a questionable approach to issues of economic and political magnitude. It is responsible for political instability, economic underdevelopment, low administrative efficiency, a hindrance to socio-economic development and it weakens the institutional foundation on which economic growth and development depend.”

Top Politicians Facing Trial

Top Politicians Facing Trial
Top Politicians Facing Trial

The following are some Top Politicians Facing Trial For Corruption

Sambo Dasuki

The first case on the list is that of the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo (read). Nothing is heard about Dasuki’s case these days; it has probably become a cold case. He is being tried for two separate cases, alongside other defendants. He was arrested on December 1, 2015, on allegations of diversion of $2.1 billion from funds meant for the war against terrorism. Dasuki has denied any wrongdoing and is yet to be convicted. Since his arrest and arraignment, he was granted bail at least seven times by various courts and the State Security Service (SSS), also known as the Department of State Services (DSS), refused to heed all the orders. On December 24, 2019, the Federal Government ordered the DSS to comply with the court bail granted the former NSA. His trial is stalled. He last appeared in court in 2017. Incidentally, his case is tied to that of many accused persons who received varying amounts of money through him before the 2015 general elections. Since his release in 2019, was quoted in an interview with the Hausa Service of the Voice of America (VOA) that he was ready to defend himself over the money laundering charge preferred against him by the EFCC.

Top Politicians Facing Trial

Olisah Metuh

Former National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chief Olisah Metuh was sentenced to seven years imprisonment on February 26, 2020. Metuh, alongside his firm, Destra Investments Limited was found guilty of count one, two and three of the seven-count charge levelled against them by the Federal Government through the EFCC.

Top Politicians Facing Trial

Gabriel Suswam

On a few Nigerians would remember that the former governor of Benue State is still standing trial in three cases pending before the Federal High Court in Abuja concerning an alleged diversion of N3.1 billion fraud on police reform and Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme. Suswam is at present the senator representing Benue Northeast at the National Assembly. Suswam was also allegedly involved in another three-count charge of money laundering and illegal possession of firearms on which he was arraigned on July 6, 2018, before Justice Babatunde Quadri. He was accused of illegally concealing weapons in his Mercedes Benz 550 4Matic car with registration number BWR 135 AH parked at Dunes Investment and Properties Limited, 44 Aguiyi-Ironsi Way, Maitama, Abuja.

In the first of the two cases, Suswam is being tried with a former Commissioner of Finance in Benue State, Omadachi Okolobia. They were accused of diverting proceeds of the sale of Benue State’s investment in some companies. Suswam, Okolobia and Mrs Janet Anuga, in the second charge, were accused of diverting funds meant for SURE-P project in the state. The case has suffered several adjournments since 2015 when the accused persons were first arraigned.

Top Politicians Facing Trial

Erastus Akingbola

Many Nigerians may have probably forgotten Erastus Akingbola. He is a former managing director of the defunct Intercontinental Bank. Akingbola’s case is number four in the compendium. The EFCC is prosecuting him for allegedly using N179.3 billion belonging to the bank for fictitious transactions. The anti-graft agency claims that he used the money “to buy Intercontinental Bank Plc shares, thereby inflating the market price of the bank’s shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange”. He was also accused of reckless granting of credit facilities to five firms, which were each granted a loan of N8 billion without adequate security for the loans. The case has been on since 2009. Justice Charles Archibong, who first handled the case, had struck out the charges, citing a lack of diligent prosecution. Not pleased with the ruling, the EFCC appealed, and Justice Archibong’s ruling was upturned. This compelled Akingbola to the high court to face his trial. The case is yet to be decided.

Top Politicians Facing Trial

Mohammed Adoke

Next on the list is former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Bello Adoke. The anti-graft agency is prosecuting him on 14-count charges bordering on money laundering to the time of $6 million. Adoke, who had fled the country in 2015, arrived in Nigeria on Thursday, December 19, 2019, from Dubai, United Arab Emirates into the waiting arms of operatives of the EFCC at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. Adoke is being charged with abuse of office and money laundering in respect of granting the Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245 to Shell and ENI. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo had revoked the OPL 245 license, which the late dictator, Sani Abacha granted to Dan Etete, his then Petroleum Minister, and reassigned it to Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company. Etete’s Malabu Oil and Gas Company, however, reclaimed it in 2006 through the court. While Shell challenged the decision, a “fraudulent settlement and resolution” was consummated under President Goodluck Jonathan’s government, with Shell and ENI buying the oil block from Malabu Oil and Gas Company with the sum of $1.1 billion. The absence of the defendants has slowed down the trial.

Top Politicians Facing Trial

Abdulaziz Nyako

Abdulaziz Nyako is the son of former Adamawa State Governor Murtala Nyako. He is also the senator representing Adamawa Central in the Senate. He is facing an N29 billion fraud initiated against him by the EFCC. The senator is being prosecuted alongside his father and two others on a 37-count charge of criminal conspiracy, stealing, abuse of office and money laundering.

Top Politicians Facing Trial

Femi Fani-Kayode

Femi Fani-Kayode is a former Minister of Aviation. He is standing trial alongside a former Minister of State for Finance, Mrs Esther Nenadi Usman, Danjuma Yusuf and a company, John Trust Dimensions Nigeria Limited, before a Federal High Court in Lagos over an alleged N4.6 billion fraud.

Top Politicians Facing Trial

Peter Nwaoboshi

Peter Nwaoboshi is the lawmaker representing Delta Central at the upper legislative chamber, the Senate. He is currently facing trial for an alleged fraud of N322 million.

Dele Belgore

Mohammed Dele Belgore, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), is a former governorship candidate in Kwara State on the platform of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), one of the three major parties that metamorphosed into the APC in 2013. Belgore was standing trial alongside a former Minister of National Planning, Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman, on five counts of conspiracy and possession of proceeds of crime to the tune of N450 million. The Supreme Court struck out the fraud charges preferred against him on April 3, 2020. His case is listed as Case 10 in the compendium.

Top Politicians Facing Trial

Some of the remaining cases in the list include that of former Abia State Governor, Senator Orji Kalu; former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Adesola Amosu; former Coordinator of the Police Equipment Fund, Kenny Martins; former Inspector General of Police, Sunday Ehindero; former Chairman of the House of Representatives ad hoc committee on fuel subsidy regime, Farouk Lawan; former Plateau State Governor, Senator Jonah Jang; former Niger State Governor Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu; former Managing Director of Eternal Plc, Mahmud Tukur; former Petroluem Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke; former Jigawa State Governior Ibrahim Saminu Turaki; former Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose; former Rivers State Governor Peter Odili and the governorship flag bearer of the APC in last year’s election in Edo State, Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

Top Politicians Facing Trial

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