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ANTI CORRUPTION TRACKER

Nigeria loses N15bn annually to illicit financial flow – HEDA

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The Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) Resource Centre, has put a figure to illicit financial flow in Nigeria. The chairman of HEDA, Olarenwaju Suraju said the country loses about N15 billion annually.

Speaking at a ‘One-day workshop on Illicit Financial Flow, Gas Flaring and COP 26’ organized by HEDA, re:Common and Cornerhouse in collaboration with Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative , with support from MacArthur Foundation, Suraju advocated for the immediate return of Ngeria’s looted funds stashed in foreign countries.

Suraju said the continued withholding of looted funds by foreign countries have inhibited development in Nigeria. He said, “It is critical that looted funds should be repatriated. That is what we have been working on for 8 years to ensure that we have the repatriation of our stashed away assets and funds, illicit or illicit. Either it is hidden or blatant, either it is owned by the private persons or enablers or the public people.

“So we have seen how we are said to be losing about N15 billion every year to illicit financial flow, Nigeria alone. That is humongous amount of money that can be used to start developing the new machinery, new capacities, new training that is required for Nigeria to migrate from fossil fuel and the exposure from the impact of climate change. So we do not need aid, we do not need free money because we have the money that is stashed somewhere and it is known. It is not hidden.

“We just need that to come back to us. It is time for those countries where Nigeria’s looted funds are still domiciled to start talking of refunds to us. We are telling them that we know that the money is there. We are telling them that they are our entitlement. They are not charity and gift that we are asking. They are our entitlement and we are saying return them to us.

On gas flaring, Suraju said more efforts should be made to stop the activity in the country. “In 2018 alone it is reported that Nigeria lost up to $563 million to uncollected penalties from gas flaring, just for one year. When you look at the pollution to water, go to Bayelsa and you will see the number of the impact of gas flaring on the water and how the inhabitants of the water are dying which are sources of livelihood to people around that area.

“The workshop is to build Nigeria’s response to both the climate change that is coming up in Glasgow but to present a nationally agreed position on how Nigeria wants to deal with it and that is why we are bringing the issue f gas flaring penalties and the illicit financial flows stoppage as a basis where Nigeria can also generate fund that is required for transition to fossil fuel.”

On his part, the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Rasheed Bawa said is losing about $I billion revenue annually to falsification of gas flare data by Multinational Oil Companies (MOCs) operating in the country. Bawa, represented by the Lagos Zonal Coordinator, Ahmed Ghali said the big oil companies falsified gas flare data in order to cut down on payment of penalties.

“Multinational Oil Companies (MOCs) operating in Nigeria has over the years been falsifying gas flare data to cut down on payment of penalties. The former Petroleum Minister, Dr lbe Kachukwu put the loss from this illicit flow to between $500,000,000 and $1,000,000,000 in revenues that would have accrued from the penalties.

“This is as a result of not having an independent tracking mechanism to monitor gas flare data and reliance on the figures submitted by International Oil Companies (lOC),” he said.

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Development Services, University of Lagos, Prof Ayodele Atsenuwa, who was chairman of the workshop, said gas flaring has refused to stop in the country because it is part of the grand scheme of corruption and illegality in high places and the failure to bring those who gained from it to justice.

On illicit financial flow, Prof Atsenuwa noted that the cankerworm is easy to trace when it is within a country’s territory. “But when it cross borders, you are entangled in international framework and this affects the issue of justice when the matter becomes complex.”

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ANTI CORRUPTION TRACKER

Alleged Corruption: Suspended NEMA Directors Reinstated

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The National Emergency Manage­ment Agency (NEMA) has recalled its newly-appointed Director Gener­al, Mustapha Habib Ahmed, follow­ing his suspension alongside other directors.

The directors, who were suspended in 2018, were said to have been recalled after their clearance by the Econom­ic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

According to NEMA Spokesper­son, Ezekiel Manzoh, the reinstated officers include Director of Finance and Account, Hakeem Akinbola; Di­rector of Disaster Risk Reduction, Alhassan Nuhu and the Deputy Di­rector Human Resource Management, Mohammed Kanar.

It was gathered that both manage­ment and staff of the agency trooped out to welcome the officers and com­mended the NEMA boss and the Min­ister of Humanitarian Affairs for the kind gesture in the reinstatement.

It was learnt that the directors and some officers were vic­timized by a former Director-General of the agency, Mustapha Maihaja, who submitted their names to the EFCC for investigation and suspended them from office in 2018.

“The suspension was initially given for a period of three months pending the investigation by EFCC. However, it was continuously extend­ed by Maihaja.

“At the time of the suspension, Mai­haja was facing serious scrutiny and investigation by the National Assem­bly for incompetence, corruption and high handedness in the management of the agency.”

Daily Independent

 

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ANTI CORRUPTION TRACKER

Kano Assembly suspends anti-corruption agency boss

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The Kano State House of Assembly has suspended the Chairman of the state Public Complaint and Anti-Corruption Commission, Muhyi Magaji.

Magaji was asked to step aside for a month over his alleged opposition to the posting of an accountant to the agency from the Office of the Accountant-General of the state.

The suspension, according to the state’s assembly, followed a letter of complaint sent to the house over the matter by the Office of the Accountant-General of the state.

The majority leader of the House, Labaran Madari, asked the house to refer the issue to the House Committee on Anti-corruption for investigation and action.

The committee is to report back in two weeks.

Magaji was earlier quoted to have said that he was facing interference and intimidation from government officials in his work.

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ANTI CORRUPTION TRACKER

How we spent N1bn COVID-19 funds- Edo govt

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The Edo State Government has explained how it went about the N1 billion it claimed it has spent in combating the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

The Deputy Governor of Edo State, Mr. Philip Shaibu, gave the breakdown while appearing on the Osasu Show, anchored by Osasu Igbinedion, saying the money was spent on medical equipment, isolation centres, PPEs and palliatives.

It would be recalled that Governor Godwin Obaseki claimed on April 19 that the state had spent over N1 billion in combating the spread of the deadly virus, which has been widely criticised, especially on social media.

Shaibu, who also serves as chairman of the state’s COVID-19 response technical committee, however said that “the over N1 billion that is becoming a controversy is crazy because, for instance, we have two new isolation centres that have been built, we have a 30-bed new isolation centre in Stella Obasanjo Hospital.

“We have a 12-bed isolation centre in Auchi, 12 female and 12 male, making a total of 24. The entire Stella Obasanjo Hospital now, that used to be 168-bed facility is being converted, as we speak, to a 400-bed facility, which will be also a holding centre and an isolation centre.

“Beyond that, equipment, ventilators, presently have become the hottest cake in terms of medical equipment in the entire country beyond PPEs. We procured recently, within this period, a total of 32 ventilators.

“When you quantify the amount of the cost of a ventilator, an average of N8 million, you would know the cost of that.”

Shaibu further explained the need to buy dialysis machines for renal problems, springing from COVID-19, saying the money was spent on it.

He said: “We also procured dialysis machines because when we were investigating this particular ailment, we discovered that you can get to a state where you will need dialysis because of kidney failure and other renal problems.

“So, we also procured six dialysis machines for the new facility, we also procured two new mobile x-ray machines for this new facility. When you check from the angle of this equipment alone, you have over N600 million.

“We are not talking about the facility itself, the structure itself. Don’t forget we have a brand new isolation centre in Stella Obasanjo, which was an expansion of the old one.

“We had one existing one that had a 24-bed ICU facility that we were supposed to use for the Edo 2020 national sports festival, but because of the pandemic, we decided to build a new one, which is a 30-bed one. That infrastructure was built in 12 days.

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