President Goodluck Jonathan lied to the world in his Independence Day anniversary speech about gains his administration has made in the fight against corruption, a PREMIUM TIMES investigation has revealed.
In what appears to be a major credibility stunt, President Jonathan read a speech in which he scored his government high on all sides.
In order to make his good performance appear holistic, the president included in his speech that global corruption watchdog, Transparency International, has endorsed and praised his administration’s war against corruption.
Mr. Jonathan’s words: “…the fight against the scourge of corruption is a top priority of our administration.
“We are fighting corruption in all facets of our economy, and we are succeeding. We have put an end to several decades of endemic corruption associated with fertilizer and tractor procurement and distribution. We have exposed decades of scam in the management of pensions and fuel subsidy, and ensured that the culprits are being brought to book,” he added.
To give his claims international credibility, the presidents then said: “In its latest report, Transparency International (TI) noted that Nigeria is the second most improved country in the effort to curb corruption.”
PREMIUM TIMES contacted Transparency International seeking a copy of its latest report which the President referred to in his speech.
The group replied promptly disowning Mr. Jonathan and saying it had no such report.
“Transparency International does not have a recent rating or report that places Nigeria as the second most improved country in the fight against corruption,” the group said in an email to this newspaper.
The group said its most recent indexing of Nigeria’s corruption activities was in the 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index, which measured perceived level of public sector corruption in the country.
In that index, Nigeria scored 2.4 on a scale where 0 means highly corrupt and 10 means very clean. It was ranked 143 out of 183 countries.
That rating was actually a dip in performance for Nigeria as the country was rated 134 out of 183 countries the previous year, 2010.
The president’s spokesperson would not comment for this story. The Special Adviser on Media, Reuben Abati as well as the Special Assistant on Public Affairs, Doyin Okupe, did not answer or return calls.
They also did not reply text messages sent to their telephones.
Corruption cases Jonathan ignores
Since resuming office in 2010, President Jonathan is believed not to have shown vigour in the fight against corruption – including corruption involving past and current actors in his administration. The tipping point in the president’s profile, regarding reluctance in promoting transparency, came when, in his last media chat, he scoffed at a question on why he had not publicly declared his asset. On live television, the president snapped “I don’t give a damn!”
The petroleum minister, Diezani Madueke, a close ally of the president, has heaps of established corruption allegations against her, but none has been investigated by Mr. Jonathan’s administration; while she still remains in office as one of the favorite ministers.
In August 2011, President Goodluck Jonathan secretly ordered the payment of $155 million to Malabu oil, a firm owned by an ex-convict and former petroleum minister, Dan Etete. Not only was the payment done without the knowledge of the Finance Minister, as revealed by PREMIUM TIMES, Malabu transferred the money into dubious accounts including that owned by a man with links to Mr. Jonathan. Both the Senate and the House of Representatives have agreed to investigate the Malabu scandal.
Two members of the President’s cabinet, Godsday Orubebe and Stella Oduah, illegally registered an NGO, Neighbour to Neighbour, on whose board they sit, and which they then used in campaigning for the President’s election; in contravention of CAC registration guidelines and the CAMA Act. The presidency has kept mum on this.
There have been several cases of visitors to the Presidential Villa being given huge sums of money after their visits. The Save Nigeria Group was offered $30 thousand, and the Northern elders N20 million; both groups rejected the cash gifts given to them by the presidency.
There are also mounts of corruption cases involving government officials, politicians and ‘friends of the government’ that have been lingering for years while perpetrators roam free.