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19 August 2019

SERAP backs EFCC’s probe of Obasanjo govt’s $16bn power project

“This probe is something SERAP has consistently called for. Nigerians have, for far too long, been denied justice and the opportunity to get to the bottom of why they continue to pay the price for corruption in the electricity sector – staying in darkness but still made to pay crazy electricity bills,” the organisation said.

A statement yesterday by its Deputy Director Kolawole Oluwadare described the probe as timely.

SERAP said: “The probe is timely, especially coming at a time of citizens’ frustrations at persistent allegations of corruption and the impacts on their human rights. Investigating allegations of grand corruption and prosecuting former heads of state and other high-ranking officials, where such allegations show relevant and sufficient admissible evidence, would address the grave travesty that has for many years occurred in the Power sector.

“While some put the exact cost of the project at $16 billion, others say it is $13.8 billion. Key contractors and about 18 top public officers allegedly involved in the power project scam during the Obasanjo administration, and those of former Presidents Umaru Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan, may also be arrested.”  The organisation urged the EFCC to urgently invite anyone suspected to be involved in the alleged corruption for questioning.

It advised the agency to also extend the probe to cover the alleged squandering of N11 trillion on the Power sector between 1999 and 2015, and the unresolved case of the reported missing $12.4 billion oil windfall, allegedly spent between 1988 and 1993 by the government of former military leader, General Ibrahim Babangida.

The statement added: “The EFCC has the full support of Nigerians in its efforts to hold high-ranking public officials to account for grand corruption. If consistently, fairly and diligently pursued, this probe would contribute to ending impunity for corruption, and to mobilising and encouraging youth civic engagement in the anti-graft fight in the country. SERAP stands ready to work with the EFCC in pursuing all allegations of grand corruption.

“SERAP notes that former presidents have routinely faced corruption charges in countries like Iceland, Kyrgyzstan, Brazil, Montenegro, South Korea, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Slovakia, Peru and Mauritius; the probe by the EFCC would mean this list would grow even further to include Nigeria.

“Impunity for grand corruption will continue as long as high-ranking public officials go largely unpunished for their alleged crimes. It is by pursuing these allegations and taking the evidence before the court that the truth will be revealed and justice best served. Addressing impunity in the Power sector should be total. This would help to further public perception of fairness and thoroughness.

“Lack of regular electricity supply in the country had occasioned many other problems, including lack of access to potable water. The failure by successive governments to tell Nigerians the truth about allegations of corruption in the power sector amounts to a failure to ensure that electricity services are progressively made available, on the basis of equality and non-discrimination.”


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