Nigeria: Corruption stories, cases dominate front pages in Nigeria

Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - The current wave of corruption allegations and cases were the dominant stories in Nigeria this week even with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo indicting all sectors of being guilty of the menace.

Under the headline, "All arms of govt are corrupt, says Osinbajo", the PUNCH said Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has returned a damning verdict on the three arms of government on corruption - the executive, judicial and legislative arms, saying "They are all corrupt".

He gave his verdict when he presided over the 4th convocation ceremonies of the Afe Babalola University (ABUAD), Ado Ekiti, in South West Ekiti State.

According to the PUNCH, Osinbajo said it was for this reason that the Muhammadu Buhari administration is currently fighting corruption in the country. He said corruption has polluted every stratum of the society, bringing along with it poverty and other social vices.

“All the institutions of government, I mean the executive, legislature and the judiciary are corrupt. What we need is serious reorientation,” he said.

“That is why the ABUAD is a great university because it teaches learning, character and morality. So, value reorientation is a key weapon to fight corruption."

He said the present federal government is intervening because "if we refuse, every facet of the country will fail. We must act fast and deal with the situation as quickly as possible.”

In its story, the SUN reported under the headline "We are all corrupt – Osinbajo", with the rider "Says no sector ’ll be spared in anti-graft war", that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has assured Nigerians that no sector of the society will be spared in the ongoing fight against corruption, describing the menace as too endemic to be overlooked.

Osinbajo said what is happening in the country, especially the high level poverty and other vices bedeviling the country, were direct consequences of corruption that has permeated every sector of the economy. He spoke in Ado Ekiti on Friday during the 2016 convocation of Afe Babalola University, in the state capital.

He stated that Nigerian citizens need re-orientation to wipe out corruption that has permeated every institution of government.

In other corruption stories, the NATION headlined its story "FG set for trial of Supreme Court Justices, seven others". The pro-government paper said the Federal Government is set for the prosecution of two Supreme Court Justices and seven other judges in spite of the memos written by three of them to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed.

The charges against the judges were ready at press time, following the conclusion of investigation by the Department of State Services (DSS), the paper said.

It said that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has started probing the accounts of six judges of the Federal High Court who are undergoing interrogation.

The anti-graft commission has allegedly discovered payment of bribe sums/financial assistance into the accounts of two of the six judges after gathering tons of evidence against the judges.

Of the nine judges, the NJC has recommended sanctions for Justice Mohammed Ladan Tsamiya; the erstwhile Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice I. A. Umezulike; and Justice Kabiru Auta.

The paper quoted a source as saying: “The Federal Government is going ahead with the trial of the nine judges. The charges and evidence against them are ready. I can tell you that the DSS has conducted diligent investigation.

“Even if you look at the list, only three out of the nine judges have joined issues with some people. But these issues have nothing to do with the overwhelming evidence against them.”

The source added: “The trial will enable Nigerians to know how the sting operations were conducted, the findings of DSS and the charges.

“If a judge alleges that DSS operatives planted money in his residence, did they also lodge cash in his account(s)?”

It was further learnt that snippets of the findings were presented to the executives of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) with the bar deciding that justice must run its full course.

The bar has also asked that the judges being probed should step aside.

“This investigation was tight and it is in the public interest for the trial to begin as soon as possible,” the source said.

"EFCC re-arrests Fani-Kayode as N4.9 billion money laundering trial begins" was the headline of the NATION which reported that the EFCC on Friday picked up a former Minister of Aviation, Mr. Femi  Fani-Kayode, on the premises of the Federal High Court, Lagos.

Fani-Kayode was stopped by three EFCC operatives at about 1:55pm just as he stepped out of Justice Muslim Sule Hassan’s court where he and four others were on trial on a N4.9 billion money laundering charge levelled against them by the commission.

Fani-Kayode is standing trial alongside a former Minister of Finance, Nenandi Usman, and Danjuma Yusuf, as well as a firm, Joint Trust Dimension Nig. Ltd.

They were arraigned on June 28 on a 17-count charge bordering on unlawful retention, unlawful use and unlawful payment of money in the tune of about N4.9 billion.

The NATION also ran another corruption story under the headline "Obanikoro offers to refund N785m slush fund". It said that the embattled former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, may soon be let out of custody by the EFCC following indications that he has agreed to make refunds of the money he allegedly collected from the Office of National Security Adviser (ONSA).

The anti-graft agency accused the ex-minister of collecting N785 million from ONSA while in office. His friends and associates are understood to be rallying around him to raise the funds as a first step to secure his bail, according to the paper.

Obanikoro told EFCC interrogators that N3.880 billion of the N4.685 billion was allocated to Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State and Senator Iyiola Omisore.

He also said he handed over US$5.377 million (about N60 million) cash to Fayose at Spotless Hotel, Ado-Ekiti, in the presence of the former Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party in the state, Dr. Tope Aluko, and other party stalwarts.

He said the balance of N785 million was expended on alleged anti-Boko Haram campaign in Lagos and the South-West.

A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The ex-minister has been cooperating with detectives and he appears willing to refund some cash out of the N785 million traced to Sylvan McNamara."

The SUN, under the headline "Bribery scandal: Senior lawyers, Eminent Nigerians demand probe", reported that eminent Nigerians who have made marks in their fields, especially in law and politics have demanded for an independent probe into allegations of bribery to pervert justice, made against two prominent ministers by two Supreme Court Justices following the raid on their homes by DSS operatives.

Barely days after Justice Inyang Okoro accused the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, of seeking to manipulate governorship election court cases in favour of the ruling APC, another judge on Thursday leaked a letter in which similar allegations were made against the minister and another of his colleague in the Buhari cabinet.

Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, also of the Supreme Court, accused Amaechi of attempting to manipulate him to rule in favour of the APC in an election dispute.

Okoro and Ungwuta are the most senior among the seven judges arrested about a fortnight ago for alleged corruption by the DSS. All the arrested judges were later released on bail.

Like Okoro, Ngwuta also addressed his letter to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, where he made the damning allegations. In the letter, Ngwuta narrated his version of how he was arrested by DSS officials, accusing the agency of “planting huge sums of money” in his house when it was searched.

Apart from accusing Amaechi of plotting to manipulate him to rule in favour of the APC in the Ekiti election dispute, Ngwuta also accused the Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, of also seeking his help to manipulate an election hearing. Amaechi had earlier denied the charges by Justice Okoro, just as he has also denied Ngwuta’s allegations, describing it as “unadulterated fallacy”.

None of the two judges provided any reasons, in their separate letters to the CJN, why they did not report the allegations to law enforcement agencies before their arrest for corruption about a fortnight ago.

Nigerians spoken to on the raging controversy agreed on the need for a further investigation of the allegations to determine their veracity.

Amaechi had in a statement late Thursday denied the allegations by Justice Sylvester Ngwuta that he attempted to bribe him in order to swing the governorship election appeals in Ekiti, Rivers and Ebonyi states in the favour of the APC.
-0- PANA VAO 22Oct2016

22 october 2016 06:46:18

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