Farouk Lawan among 55 implicated by FG
…Wike, Sylva, Akingbola, Farouk Lawan named too
…FG still studying list to accelerate trial of suspects
Barely two weeks after revealing that 55 past public officers and private individuals allegedly looted N1.354,132,400,000.00 trillion, the identities of those suspected have been unveiled.
Some of the affected suspected former public officers and corporate players had been on trial since 2006.
But a few others have had their cases either dismissed by the appropriate courts or taken to the Court of Appeal by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC).
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alh. Lai Mohammed had on January 19 claimed that the N1.3 trillion was lootedÂ in seven years.
Mohammed said: â€œThis is the money that a few people, just 55 in number, allegedly stole within a period of just eight years and instead of a national outrage, all we hear are these statements that the government is fighting only the opposition, or that the government is engaging in vendetta.â€
Although he refused to disclose the identities of those involved, he asked the media to investigate further.
Findings however confirmed that Mohammed based his statement on the records made available to the presidency by the EFCC and a report submitted to it by Human Development Initiatives(HDI).
The EFCC records and HDI report were exclusively obtained last night by THE NATION.
According to a list obtainedÂ from the presidency, out of the said sum allegedly embezzled, past public officers accounted for N176,422,400,000 (13 per cent) and those in the private sector mismanaged about N1.17trillion.
A breakdown of the list includes the following 15 ex-governors(146,840,800,000); four ex-Ministers(N7,050,000,000); sevenÂ ex-Federal public servants(N6,906, 600); five ex-state public servants(N7,275,000,000); Private Sector( 8 in Banking Industry)–N524, 560,000,000) and 11 businessmen(N653,150,000,000).
Some of the 55 highly-placed, whose alleged embezzlement trials had been “crawling or gone to sleep” or concluded include Governor Ayo Fayose(N1.2billion); ex-Governors Joshua Dariye(N700m);Â Saminu Turaki(N36billion);Â Orji Uzor Kalu(N5billion); Jolly Nyame(N180m);Â Chimaroke Nnamani(N5.3billion); Rashidi Ladoja(N6billion); Adamu Abdullahi(N15billion); Attahiru Bafarawa(N15billion) and Gbenga Daniel(N211.3m)— set free of 43-count charge by court.
Other ex-governors are Danjuma Goje(N52billion); Bayo Alao-Akala(N11.5billion); the late Michael Botmang(N1.5billion); late Abubakar Audu(N4billion); Timipreye Sylva (N2.45b) and Boni Haruna(N254million), who has been discharged and acquitted.
Those on the list are Governor Nyesom Wike(N4.670b)—court quashed charges, EFCC on appeal;,a former Minister of Health, Prof. Adenike Grange(N300million) who was discharged but not acquitted with appeals filed at the Court of Appeal); ex-Minister of Aviation, Prof. Babalola Borishade(N6.5billion); former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode(N250m)–who was set free; Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello(N10m); Sen. Nicholas Ugbade, Paulinus Igwe, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, Hon. Mohammed Jibo and Dr. Aliyu Abdullahi and others (N5.2billion)—-acquitted but EFCC on appeal; ex-Kogi State Commissioner, T.J. Faniyi, Albert Soje and others (N3billion)—EFCC withdrew charges; Hon. Farouk Lawan(N96million); and Hon. Herman Hembe and Chris Ifeanyi Azubogu(N44m)—Appeal Court has discharged the two Representatives.
Others are Erastus Akingbola(N47billion)—Appeal Court orders retrial; Osa Osunde and four others( N55billion); Okey Nwosu and three others (N19.2billion)—freed by Court of Appeal; Francis Atuche(N80billion) —freed by court but EFCC on appeal; Raymond Obieri and six others (N131.8billion); Sebastian Adigwe, Peter Ololo, Falcon Securities(N277.3billion); Mahmud Tukur, Ochonogor Alex, Abdullahi Alao, Eterna Oil plc(N1.8billion) ; Patrick Fernandez(N32billion)—ongoin
The document said: “As this report will show, the EFCC is not entirely to be blamed for this, given the constraints that permeate the entire judicial process where casesÂ drag on endlessly. Indeed,MIT appears the laws are often twisted to favour the wealthy and powerful in Nigeria.
“The EFCC has recorded reasonable successes in the arrest of top politicians, captains of industries, Directors-General of federal institutions and similar personalities accused of corruption.
“Similarly, available statistics show that between 1999 and 2012, EFCC has prosecuted, at least 16 ex-governors for varying economic malfeasance. Many of them allegedly stole from monthly allocations and took questionable loans from banks.”
The HDI identified some factors for the delay in prosecuting the high-profile accused persons including transfer or promotion of trial judge,Â frivolous interlocutory applications, frequent applications for adjournment, congestion and slow pace of court proceeding.
“In summary, the high profile cases are hanging due to–
*too many charges filed
*weak evidence from inception or due to prolonged trial
*compulsory bail application usually for medical or religious grounds or just as of right
* frequent change of counsel
*frequent adjournment for flimsy reasons
* lack of witnesses or uncooperative witnesses
*negative role of defence counsel and use of delaying tactics
* political influence peddling to delay! quash case! get it struck out for want of prosecution or lack of evidence or both or get public and media support that the accused is a victim of witch hunt .
* political rehabilitation of accused with high profile appointment, electoral victory into public office
*increased possibility of behind the scene political resolution and rehabilitation of accused
* compromise of the court or of the prosecution or both
*prosecution apathy or fatigue
* underfunding of anti-corruption agencies
* delay divides public interest and opinion about the guilt or otherwise of accused and leads to increased benefit of the doubt that the accused is being witch-hunted
* diminishing media and public interest! which affects zeal of prosecution
Culled from THE NATION