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‘How 55 politicians, others ‘stole N1.3 trillion in seven years’

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Looting

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has disclosed how “55 politicians, top public officials and leaders allegedly stole N1.3 trillion from the nation’s treasury between 2006 and 2013.

A report by the group said the amount of money they stole between 2013 and 2017 was beyond the understanding of average Nigerians.

“Evidence abound that judges, judicial officers, lawyers and military officers are participants in the frenzy of despoliation of national wealth,” the report stated.

The 112-page report 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, was launched at the CITI-HEIGHT Hotels, Ikeja, Lagos.

The report presented by Senior Lecturer of Law, Litigation and Professional ethics at the Nigerian Law School, Abuja, Dr. Esa Onoja, further disclosed that while the main anti-corruption agencies secured more than 1,500 low-high profile convictions between 2000 and 2017, they could only achieve 10 high profile convictions within the same period.

“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 stated.

It said out of 177 cases, 167 were pending, adding that there were only 10 cases tried, while only three convictions were obtained after trial while seven convictions were based on plea-bargaining involving high profile cases of corruption prosecuted by anti-corruption agencies between 2000 and 2017.

SERAP also pointed out that the Supreme Court discharged one of three convictions based on full trial while three of the seven convicted were granted presidential pardon.

Meanwhile stakeholders in the nation’s fight against corruption have called for citizens’ action against graft.

Deputy Director, Macarthur Foundation, who chaired the presentation, Oladayo Olaide said the problem was not about stealing in the country but the generation impact on the future of the country since somebody must pay the price for corruption at one time or the other.

He stressed that there was the need for Nigerians to see corruption as a societal problem that inflicts huge cost on the conscience of the people, stressing that it would not go until Nigerians do something about it.


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