Halliburton Scandal: Call A Spade A Spade!
To The Great and Good People of Nigeria:
We, The Champions For Nigeria Organisation wish to sympathize with you for all your endurance and diligence in the face of avoidable economic hardship, socio-cultural deterioration and political despondency caused as a result of the greed, selfishness, inconsideration, mismanagement, corruption and visionless leadership of our leaders. Looters with stolen and rigged mandates live in affluence, openly insult our collective intelligence and squander our collective resources and wealth without regard to us and the consequences, while the majority of Nigerians live in poverty, starvation, fear and great inconvenience.
Champions For Nigeria believe that corruption is arguably the major problem we have in Nigeria today that is preventing Nigeria from achieving any semblance of greatness or even socio-economic growth and development. And we know those who are perpetrating this evil monster on us; we know those who are still bent on keeping the majority of Nigerians as serfs and slaves long after colonialism – the inept ruling clique.
The recent catalogue of distressing, outrageous and profound revelations of blatant and reckless corruption and bribery, plundering of the nation’s treasury by a few clique, started during Abacha’s ignominious regime and continued into Obasanjo’s “holier-than-thou” administration and now being covered up by the lame-duck Presidency of Yar ‘Adua is a testimony yet again to the fact that despite all the noise of the war against corruption, nothing has really changed.
The looters are still in charge, and actually admitting new looters everyday to join their evil enclave. Of particular interest is the allegation of massive, unbelievable, bribery and corruption against three successive governments (Abacha, Abdulsalam and Obasanjo) and other top government officials by Halliburton, a United States-based company engaged in building Africa’s first liquefied natural gas plant in Nigeria. Awashed with undisputable facts about the Halliburton bribery scandal, this is a true litmus test for the rule of law mantra of Yar A’dua government. The fact remains that in Nigeria’s political space dogs don’t eat dogs. It has been proven again and again.
This is behaviour that helps perpetuate corruption and bold-faced illegality in the dealings of individual and agents of government on behalf of Nigerians, without regard to the consequences of that behaviour and the effect on the image of Nigeria and Nigerians in the Diaspora. Unless you are not in the good books of the government of the day, whatever action or inaction a highly placed official or representative of government takes, there is no reprimand.
Halliburton scandal is going down the annals of unsolved sticky issues in Nigeria political life and the world is watching the unfolding drama once again. It is obvious that, there is a deliberate effort by the incumbent government to cover up, but the fact that this is a scandal of International dimension is what is keeping this matter in the public domain.
Hence, the setting up of a lack lustre enquiry committee to look into the matter that is as plain as the broad day light. Name and shame the culprits! That is what this scandal demands! Let the Yar A’dua Government start the rebranding programme by showing commitment to the following agenda in respect of the Scandal:
The Champions For Nigeria therefore calls for the following: Liaise with foreign governments to determine names of bribe-takers The Halliburton scandal is the lever for uncovering high profile corrupt practices in Nigeria and it will help to further the fight against economic and financial crimes in the country. Nigeria government must therefore liaise with the US counterpart to uncover the names of the Nigerian bribe-takers in Nigeria. Release and publicise the names of the bribe-takers to the public.
We want the government to show transparency by naming and shaming those officials involved in this transactions and mess. When the names of the Nigerian officials, high and low, who partook in the bribe taking, are known, their names must be published immediately. This will serve as a great deterrent to future thieves and bribe-takers if they know the authorities will nit hesitate to publish and publicise their names into the public domain. Explore known international treaties Show cooperation with the international community in order to forestall such activities in the future.
Nigeria should explore all international treaties with all the countries concerned including USA and Switzerland to ensure adequate information and evidence are available for a valid legal prosecution in Nigeria. The treaty between Nigeria and USA on Mutual Legal Assistance is one example of the treaties that must be explored and used to the advantage of Nigeria in the corruption fight. Apply Nigerian law evenly Allow the law to take its course and justice to prevail in line with the rule of law mantra of the government.
Nobody is above the law in Nigeria. If the names of the alleged bribe-takers are known and evidence gathered, they should be arrayed before a competent court in Nigeria without preferential treatment. The successful prosecution of Nigerian bribe-takers will ensure the fight against financial corruption in Nigeria is on course. No secrecy as case is in public interest
The Nigeria government must avoid secrecy in the legal case against any Nigerian bribe-takers because this case maintains a high public interest. Any attempt to keep secrecy in this case would be counter-productive and could lead to further abuse of public office with impunity. No plea bargaining The Nigeria government must avoid legal plea bargaining. Criminals must be brought to justice. If criminals are found guilty of their crimes, they must face the consequence of their actions as stipulated in the laws of Nigeria.
Legal plea bargaining will allow criminals to continue their criminal intents while escaping the law and it will allow new criminals to explore more corrupt opportunities to defraud Nigeria. Identify and confiscate assets Repatriate the bribery funds that have already been traced to Swiss bank account (s) and disclose the identity (ies) of those having historical interactions with the account(s). All the proceeds of crime recovered from the Nigerian bribe-takers must be accounted for including their local and known international assets.
The assets and all proceeds from the crime must return to the coffers of the Federal Government of Nigeria. Promulgate laws to bar bribe-takers from public office Strengthen the regulatory laws that guide international business interactions between Nigerian government and other entity. Criminals who steal public fund in one way or another should be stopped from taking any public office in Nigeria in the future. This should include bribe-takers who collaborate with foreign firms to dupe the country, Nigeria.
Furthermore: We call on the Authorities and Government to review all allied contracts with a view to ensure that level playing ground and meritocratic due process prevail in the ways and manner the contracts were awarded Clean up our image in the International community by showing more transparency in the conduct of business dealings with other nations and business entities.
Let’s call a Spade a Spade…that would help reshape our brand! “-30-”
Signed: For and on behalf of CHAMPIONS FOR NIGERIA Organisation.