Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has endorsed the probing of the administration of the former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, over a $16 billion power project.
The probe is set to be carried out by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Further investigation also revealed the involvement of about 18 top public officers who were allegedly involved in the power project scam during Obasanjo’s administration. The former presidents, Umaru Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan, may also be investigated.
SERAP sees this as an opportunity for the anti-graft agency, EFCC, to show that former heads of state and other high-ranking public officials are not immune to investigation and prosecution for allegations of grand corruption in Nigeria, even after the completion of their administration. SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, listed other countries that have experienced similar probes in recent years.
“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, and the probe by the EFCC would mean this list would grow even further to include Nigeria,” Oluwadare said.
Oluwadare, who spoke on behalf of the organisation, spoke in a detailed statement presented to newsmen on Sunday, showing their support for the probe and advising EFCC on the measures to take during the probe.
“The EFCC has the full support of Nigerians in its efforts to hold high-ranking public officials to account for grand corruption, and 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.”
“The EFCC should urgently invite anyone suspected to be involved for questioning. The agency should also expand the probe to cover the alleged squandering of a total of N11 trillion in 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 dictator, General Ibrahim Babangida.”