A new report by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has revealed how “55 politicians, high-level public officials and leaders allegedly stole N1.354tr between 2006 and 2013 from the nation’s treasury.”
According to the report, “The amount of money embezzled, misappropriated or stolen by public officials and leaders in the private between 2013 and 2017 has galloped beyond the contemplation of average Nigerians. Evidence abound that Judges, judicial officers, lawyers and military officers are participants in the frenzy of despoliation of national wealth.”
The 112 pages report launched today at the CITI-HEIGHT Hotels, Ikeja, Lagos is titled: “Letting the Big Fish Swim” How Those Accused of High-Level Corruption are Getting away with their Crimes and Profiting from Nigeria’s Legacy of Impunity. The report presented to the media by Dr. Esa Onoja, Senior Lecturer of Law, Litigation and Professional ethics at the Nigerian Law School, Abuja Campus discloses that “While the main anti-corruption agencies secured more than 1500 non-high profile convictions between 2000-2017, they could only muster 10 high profile convictions between the periods.”
According to the report, “In the investigation, prosecution and trial of high profile corruption cases in Nigeria, justice is imprisoned by snares contrived by actors in the legal community in aid of looters.”
The report listed “high profile cases of corruption prosecuted by anti-corruption agencies between 2000 and 2017 as numbering 177 out of which 167 are pending. Total convictions are just 10. Out of the 10, only 3 convictions were obtained after full trial while 7 convictions were based on plea bargaining. Yet 1 of the 3 convictions based on Full trial was discharged by the Supreme Court while 3 of the 7 convicted were granted Presidential pardon.”
The report launch chaired by Oladayo Olaide, Deputy Director Macarthur Foundation had in attendance human rights lawyer Femi Falana SAN; Barrister Babatunde Ogala; Mrs Juliet Ibekaku- Special Assistant to the President on anti-corruption and Coordinator of the Open Partnership Government; Chinedu Nwagu, Trust Africa; Mr Joy Esezebor, Ford Foundation; David Ukagwu Head, DFID South-West Regional Coordinator; Wahab Shittu; former NBA Chairman, Lagos Mr Martin Ogunleye; Miss Jennifer Ogbechi representing Mrs. Mariam Uwais; Mr Collins Okeke, representing Dr.Olisa Agbakoba; the media, civil society groups and representatives of anticorruption agencies.