Idris N80bn Fraud: Don Decries ‘Selective Fight’ Against Corruption

2 years ago
3 mins read

Dr Bashir Abdullahi described the manner in which the Federal Government fights against corruption in Nigeria, describing it as “selective”.

Abdullahi who is also a member of the advisory board of Prime Business Africa made the observation in an interactive programme on Gotel TV during the weekend where he spoke extensively on the fight against corruption and factors contributing to the mismanagement of public funds.

He was speaking in relation to the case of the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) Mr Ahmed Idris who was apprehended by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) last week over alleged N80 billion fraud.

Recall that Idris was apprehended by the anti-graft agency after his failure to honour the invitation by the House of Representatives to answer some pertinent questions over the allegation of N80 billion money laundering.

This unfortunate development has left doubts in the minds of many Nigerians who have been asking questions, whether the fight against corruption is still genuine or not, and what is happening?

Dr Abdullahi pointed out that corruption has become endemic and has eaten deep into the fabric of the nation, especially in the public sector and everyone is beginning to see it as the new normal, adding that surprisingly at this point, the case of AGF is such that is coming from an angle where it is least expected.

The university don said, “It is a recurring issue in Nigeria, especially in the public sector. That’s not to say that in the private sector, there is no corruption. It has been endemic. You know that in this case, it is coming from where we do not expect Because one of the achievements so to say of this government is the TSA. Where they said that all government money should go to one single account where it can be traceable through ICT.”

The Treasury Single Account (TSA) although proposed by the past administration and implemented by the present administration was intended to have all government funds in a unified account where they can be traceable. This purpose for the creation of the TSA has indeed failed.

He decried the present state of the fight against corruption where it seems like the government fights selectively, saying, “Only a selected few are accused and some of them are not even found guilty by the court. The ones that have been found guilty get life sentences and some of the grand ones even get pardoned. So, it’s depressing. Why the government choose to fight selectively cannot be explained but it counters what democracy stands for.”

Abdullahi further stated that the actions of the government do not in any way support the fight against corruption.

His words: “I may not know their intentions. I may not know their moves but their actions which are the indicator do not support that they are fighting corruption. There are a lot of things right from the appointment, right from the procedures that are to be followed. Let’s look at the case of the accountant general; he is a civil servant who ought to have retired but was given another tenure. That is illegal. He didn’t follow the procedure. So, corruption is not necessarily in cash but corruption can be in kind, corruption can be in favour, corruption can be in bending rules to suit your friend (impunity), nepotism is corruption.”

“When we hear the allegation, we say it is no longer surprising. Why should somebody who ordinarily ought to have retired still serve while there are directors who are retiring when they reach the mandatory year? So that is when corruption manifests. So, technically the behaviour is not showing that the government is 100 per cent fighting corruption”

When asked what is responsible for failure in the fight against corruption, he stated that fighting corruption is holistic, “ you just can’t do one and leave the other. When you begin the war, you need to raise the consciousness of the people; you also need their support; you need to change a lot of rules; and be transparent and open up all records for the public to view.”

He added that fighting corruption also requires being impartial, deploying appropriate technology and giving the anti-graft agencies free access to monitor the organisation’s activities.

“Then you also need a strong judiciary that will be fearless, smooth, and that will not have delayed cases; and an independent press that can be able to investigate and have access to records and blow up this issue,” he further stated.

The establishment of these processes will prevent individuals from getting involved in corrupt practices. Since the processes are at work and are transparent, even when given the freedom to act individuals are unlikely to do wrongs, Abdullahi concluded.


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