Prosecute Fashola, el-Rufai For Corruption, PDP Charges Buhari | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Prosecute Fashola, el-Rufai For Corruption, PDP Charges Buhari

Posted: Sep 4, 2015 at 5:15 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

• Accuses President Of Using State Funds To Offset APC’s Campaign Debts    •  Don’t Distract Buhari – Presidency 

By Chesa Chesa and Rotimi Akinwumi


The Opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has charged President Muhammadu Buhari to   prosecute former Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), and the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai, over alleged corruption.

Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN),

Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN),

The PDP also accused President Buhari of using state funds in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) to offset campaign debts incurred by his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), during the electioneering processes leading to the 2015 general elections.

The party tasked Buhari to book Fashola and el-Rufai and some other leading members of the ruling APC for trial in a statement issued yesterday in Abuja, wherein the opposition party made veiled references to series of allegations of corrupt practices that had been widely leveled against them at different times.

The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, accused the Buhari administration of giving cover to members of his ruling APC, including corrupt persons who defected from the PDP and who helped him to win the last presidential election.

While describing the Federal Government’s posture on the fight against corruption as “holier than thou,” he challenged the president to show his sincerity of purpose by getting el-Rufai prosecuted for his past deeds as well as Fashola, including some others who defected to the APC, for the various acts of corruption that had been leveled against them.

Metuh said that the manner Buhari had made new appointments into financial sensitive positions without recourse to constitutional rules suggested that they were deliberately skewed to open up the treasury to his acolytes in the ruling APC, arguing that the approach had created a system that is neck deep in corruption, while the government hoodwinks unsuspecting public with propaganda.

Shielding Corrupt Associates

Accusing the Buhari administration of shielding corrupt members of his party, the PDP spokesman said: “We wish to draw the attention of all Nigerians to the fact that this administration, for obvious reasons, has deliberately turned a blind eye to the corrupt acts of most APC leaders, who as governors, ministers and labour leaders have been the worst corrupt set of people ever to bestride the political landscape of the country.

“Otherwise, how else can one explain the deafening silence by the government to the public outrage over the massive looting of public funds by some past APC governors?

“How can the Federal Government explain its continued silence to the current indignation in one of the prominent South West APC state over corruption issues, including but not limited to alleged mismanagement of N32 billion SURE-P fund; N78 million state money allegedly spent on the personal website of a former APC governor, who is also accused of inflating a N2.1 billion contract for the construction of pedestrian bridges, N25 billion for 1.36 kilometres link bridge, US$200 million World Bank education fund while leaving behind N500 billion debt arising from alleged reckless spending?

“Why has the Federal Government maintained sealed lips on charges of looting, diversion of state funds as well as the embarrassing accusations of stashing away of billions of Naira state funds in foreign banks by a former APC governor of a South South state?

“What about the reprehensible pillaging of state treasury by the last APC administration in a prominent North West state, including the alleged mismanagement of N10 billion belonging to pensioners, which that government has failed to account for?

“What is the Federal Government’s stance on yet another prominent APC governor in the North West who, as a former minister, was indicted by the Senate for corrupt practices and embezzlement of over N32 billion proceed from the sale of government property, for which he was disgracefully declared unfit to hold public office by the highest law making body in the land?”

The PDP noted that there was incontrovertible evidence that grave corrupt practices were ongoing and allowed to fester by associates and cronies of government, including former and present APC governors and others who played major roles in financing his campaigns with stolen state funds, saying “the onus lies on the APC-led Federal Government to wage a credible holistic anti-corruption war by first purging itself of unclean association and coming out clear on sleazes already going on in government quarters since it took office in May.”

Continuing, Metuh said: “Whereas the PDP restates its respect for the person and office of the President as well as our support for the war against corruption, it is incumbent on us to alert Nigerians of the prevailing circumstances around this government that are capable of fundamentally undermining good governance if left unchecked.

“Charity,” they say, “begins at home. For the APC-led Government, it has now become a question of “physician, heal thyself.”

“Every discerning mind knows that this administration is not executing a credible holistic war against corruption because it is a product of corruption, surrounded by corrupt persons; a factor apparently responsible for its obvious blind eyes to huge sleazes now being perpetrated in government agencies by persons claiming closeness to the President.

“It is indeed alarming that in so short a time, an administration that rode to power on claims of anti-corruption credentials, has broken the records in constitutional violations and abuse of regulations, especially in its adamant stance to run a government without the statutory components of a full cabinet, thereby creating loopholes for APC interests to invade key government agencies for inflated concessions, allocations, jobs and other financial sleazes.”

Financial Corruption

The opposition party queried for the umpteenth time the appointments so far made by the Buhari government, suggesting that the president had committed deliberate violations of the country’s constitution.

“How else can one explain the deliberate constitutional violations in the appointment of heads of financial handling federal agencies such as the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), without due process of ministerial consultations and legislative clearance, as the case may be?  Is this a scheme to open up these key finance institutions for malpractices and turn them into cash cows for APC interests?

“This is in addition to ongoing maneuverings in the oil sector, where clandestine moves are on to award oil refining licences to cronies without the due process of open bidding, as well as statutory guidelines and checks by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).

“Similarly, we invite Nigerians to note that the APC-led administration has not been forthcoming on how it has been depleting the funds it inherited in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) and other government savings. Are they the source of the funds now being circulated to pay back huge contributions for APC Presidential campaign expenses?”

Presidential Spokesman Garba Shehu, however, explained that since President Buhari came into office, he had never told the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) not to prosecute any APC governor because he belongs to the same party as the President.

According to Shehu, it was convenient for the PDP to remember the cases of Sule Lamido, but it pretended not to notice the fact that former Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State, who is an APC member, was also arrested and arraigned at the same time.

He also challenged Metuh to produce any evidence or instance when Buhari interfered in the activities of the EFCC by telling them who to prosecute and who to shield from prosecution.

Shehu also condemned as malicious and unfounded the allegation by Metuh that funds from the Excess Crude Account are being depleted by the Buhari administration to allegedly pay back APC Governors that contributed to his presidential campaign.

He advised Metuh to “either come forward with evidence, or apologize to Nigerians for willfully propagating falsehoods in order to gain cheap publicity or public sympathy”.

The Media aide said it was the responsibility of the former PDP administration to prosecute APC and PDP Governors whose alleged cases of corruption were brought to its attention.