Search

 

Cablegate: Efcc Arrests Former Governors

VZCZCXRO5990
PP RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHUJA #1535/01 1991321
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 181321Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0288
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHWR/AMEMBASSY WARSAW 0452
RUEHCD/AMCONSUL CIUDAD JUAREZ 0453
RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS 7424
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 001535

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DOE FOR CAROLYN GAY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KJUS KCOR NI
SUBJECT: EFCC ARRESTS FORMER GOVERNORS

REF: ABUJA 1434

ABUJA 00001535 001.2 OF 002


THIS CABLE IS SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. NOT FOR INTERNET
DISTRIBUTION.

1. (U) The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)
has arrested four former governors on allegations of money
laundering, diversion of public funds for private use,
conspiracy to steal, and abuse of office. Former governors
Orji Kalu of Abia State and Saminu Turaki of Jigawa State
were arraigned in the Abuja Federal High Court on July 16 and
remanded to prison custody. In a separate court, ex-governor
Joshua Dariye of Plateau State was remanded to police
custody. The fourth former governor Chimaroke Nnamani of
Enugu State was arrested by the EFCC on July 16; he is due to
appear in the Lagos Federal High Court on July 18. The
Federal High Court is set to entertain bail petitions at
separate hearings within the next two weeks. The EFCC
maintains that its arrest of the four governors is due to
their alleged "refusal" to honor the anti-graft agency's June
11 invitation to voluntarily disclose and account for their
use of state funds during their tenure in office. Under
Nigerian law, governors enjoy immunity from prosecution while
in office. The EFCC, while a law enforcement agency, does
not possess the explicit jurisdiction to make arrests;
rather, the EFCC may execute arrest warrants tendered by a
Nigerian court.

2. (U) Chimaroke Nnamani, former governor of Enugu and
currently a senator, was arrested by the EFCC on July 16 on a
34-count charge of money laundering. He is expected to
appear before the Lagos Federal High Court on July 18 to hear
the charges against him and render a plea. There have been
conflicting reports about whether or not Nnamani is in
custody. He was arrested while seeking medical treatment at
the National Hospital in Abuja, but was reportedly
transferred to Lagos July 17 to be arraigned. The EFCC
arrested former Abia governor and Peoples Progressive
Alliance (PPA) party presidential aspirant Orji Kalu on July
11. He is being indicted on 107 counts of money laundering
involving some 2.7 billion Naira (21 million USD). In May
2005, Kalu faced the Code of Conduct Tribunal for allegedly
operating foreign bank accounts in the Gambia and Sierra
Leone. In October 2006 the EFCC declared wanted several of
Kalu's staff and his mother on counts of conspiracy,
corruption, and money laundering. Former Jigawa governor
Saminu Turaki, also currently serving as a senator, was
arrested by the EFCC on July 11. Senator Turaki faces a
32-count charge of money laundering and misappropriation of
funds totaling 3.6 billion Naira (28 million USD). Turaki
evaded prosecution for alleged corrupt practices while
governor of Jigawa. In February 2004, the Nigerian
government seized Turaki's overseas bank accounts. The
Constitution and the 2004 Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal
Act prohibit public officials from "maintaining or operating
a bank account in any country outside Nigeria." In late
2004, the Code of Conduct Bureau later pursued Turaki for
possession of the off-shore accounts yet no decisive action
was taken. Plateau governor Joshua Dariye, arrested by the
EFCC, pleaded not-guilty to charges of money laundering
involving 2 billion Naira (16 million USD) and illicit
transfer of funds to third-parties. The EFCC included
Turaki, Nnamani, and Kalu on its list of corrupt governors
published in September 2006. Despite this, each man was
allowed to run for office during the April 2007 elections.
Dariye is scheduled to have a bail hearing on July 19, Turaki
on July 23, and Kalu on July 25.

3. (U) By Constitutional mandate, current governors
inaugurated on May 29 have been asked to declare their assets
before the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB). Section 185 of the
Constitution states that an elected governor "shall not begin
to perform the functions of that office until he has declared
his assets and liabilities." As of July 9, the CCB maintains
that twenty governors had declared their assets. While the
Constitution mandates that Nigerian officials declare their
assets before the CCB, the public declaration of those assets
is strictly voluntary. Since July 2, three public figures
have voluntarily publicized their assets declarations:
President Yar'Adua, 856 million Naira (7 million USD); former

ABUJA 00001535 002.2 OF 002


Zamfara governor and Senate Minority Whip Ahmed Yerima, 700
million Naira (5.5 million USD); and, Ogun governor Otunba
Daniel, 5 billion Naira (39 million USD). Sixteen governors
have thus far failed to file with the CCB, including Kwara
governor Bukola Saraki, Anambra governor Peter Obi, and Kogi
governor Ibrahim Idris.

4. (SBU) Prior to the May 29 expiration of tenure (and
therefore immunity) of Nigeria's former governors, the EFCC
pronounced that it would hunt down and prosecute public
officials the anti-graft agency deemed corrupt. By mid-July,
however, the EFCC had yet to swiftly and decisively prosecute
these officials. Whether the lassitude was due to
inefficiency, lack of evidence, successful prior brokering
of deals with the EFCC or old-fashioned politics remains
unclear. The arrests of four governors in the last week
seems to show that the EFCC is finally springing into action,
and the detention of Obasanjo's close allies and alleged
third term financiers, Enugu's Chimaroke Nnamani and Jigawa's
Saminu Turaki, may indicate emerging fissures within the
ranks of the People's Democratic Party (PDP).
Interestingly, Turaki has stated publicly that the funds he
allegedly diverted were used to finance President Obasanjo's
failed third term bid, and he claims that former Presidential
aide Andy Uba can confirm this, a charge Uba denies. The
EFCC continues to deny any allegations of political
interference in its investigations and announced July 18 that
it intends to arrest an additional six governors, "some of
whom were close to former President Obasanjo", soon.
CAMPBELL

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

New IPCC Report: ‘Unprecedented Changes’ Needed To Limit Global Warming

Limiting global warming to 1.5°C will require “far-reaching and unprecedented changes,” such as ditching coal for electricity to slash carbon emissions, says a special report that finds some of the actions needed are already under way, but the world must move faster… More>>

ALSO:

Jamal Khashoggi: UK, France, Germany Join Calls For Credible Investigation

Germany, the United Kingdom and France share the grave concern expressed by others including HRVP Mogherini and UNSG Guterres, and are treating this incident with the utmost seriousness. More>>

ALSO:

MSF Not Wanted: Nauru Government Shows Continued Callousness

The Nauruan Government’s decision to ask Doctors Without Borders to immediately leave shows continued callousness towards asylum seekers desperately seeking a safe place to call home, Green MP Golriz Ghahraman said today. More>>

ALSO:

Sulawesi Quake, Tsunami: Aid Response Begins

Oxfam and its local partners are standing by to deploy emergency staff and resources to the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, as an estimated 1.5 million people are thought to be affected by the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit on Friday. More>>

ALSO:

Decriminalising Same-Sex Relationships: UN Rights Chief Applauds Indian Decision

“This is a great day for India and for all those who believe in the universality of human rights," Bachelet said. "With this landmark decision, the Indian Supreme Court has taken a big step forward for freedom and equality...” More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC