A Rivers State based Civil Society Organisation, The Integrity Group, has faulted a denial by Chairman of Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay, to the effect that there are no allegations of corruption standing against any minister in the Federal cabinet.
Prof. Sagay had, while appearing on a television programme on May 29, called on anyone with evidence of corruption against any minister to forward same while dismissing one earlier filed against Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, by The Integrity Group, as an action taken by the incumbent Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike, to stop his (Amaechi) appointment as minister.
But upbraiding Prof. Sagay, the group expressed concern that he may be working on what it called “a deliberate plot by Prof. Itse Sagay-led group to crash the President Muhammadu Buhari’s widely acclaimed fight against corruption in Nigeria”.
The group said in a statement made available to The UNION via email, signed by its Executive director, Livingstone Wechie and two trustees of the group, Meshach Uyi and Minikwu Samuel, that it “had petitioned Mr. President, as well as the EFCC and the ICPC respectively, on the heading “Corruption, Criminal Breach Of Trust, Unlawful Enrichment And Conversion Of Over 70 Billion Naira Rivers State Resources By Former Governor Rotimi Amaechi And Other State Functionaries” dated July 29, 2015 received and duly acknowledged by the EFCC on August 13, 2015 and reminder duly received and acknowledged on February 2, 2016.
“The ICPC petition was also dated July 29, 2015 served and duly acknowledged on August 8, 2016 with all relevant documents attached therewith and an affidavit verifying documents and allegations annexed thereon.
“Whereas from the readings of the federal government, as represented by Itse Sagay, on various fora on the allegations of barefaced fraud and inextricable official corruption perpetrated by Rotimi Amaechi as governor of Rivers state, that the federal government has continued to disregard the credibility of the Justice Omereji Panel and the subsequent indictment of Rotimi Amaechi as published in the White Paper, with the view that it was politically motivated.
“That the items and terms of reference of the Justice Omereji led Panel contained some issues that had earlier been raised by the Integrity Group in its petitions and subsequent reminders as aforementioned to the respective anti-graft agencies.
“Therefore, if the federal government, which has vowed to fight corruption holds a protesting opinion against the said Panel, which has given it grounds to shield Rotimi Amaechi from prosecution, we wish to therefore restate that the petition by the Integrity Group, along with all relevant documents proving and verifying the alleged fraud and embezzlement of Rivers monies by Rotimi Amaechi who is one of the brides of the Muhammadu Buhari-led government are not only still ripe and fresh before the EFCC and ICPC, it remains the first and only petition with all needed incontrovertible documentary evidence needed to both investigate and prosecute Rotimi Amaechi.
“That just like the Nigerian populace and the International Community, the Integrity Group is also surprised that the Federal Government, through its agents, have remained resolute in shielding Rotimi Amaechi from prosecution in a matter that has generated global reaction bringing the integrity of President Muhammadu Buhari and his government to doubt and disrepute. This is giving the over politicization of the widely acclaimed anti-corruption war of the federal government which is seeking to give known corrupt key members of the ruling party a clean bill of right.
“To this end, we wish to state that the desperate position of the Chairman of Presidential Committee on Anti-Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay, of striving in futility to defend the indefensible and others ostensibly, is not only curious but speaks volumes.
“Therefore, as a renewed call, we put a challenge to President Muhammadu Buhari, EFCC and ICPC to show impartiality in this fight and present Rotimi Amaechi for investigation and prosecution for corruption acting on our petition.
“For the records, the Nigerian Senate in a report by the Senator Samuel Anyanwu led Public Petitions, Ethics and Privileges Committee dated October 22, 2015, upon the petition of the Integrity Group against the nomination of Rotimi Amaechi as Minister of the federal Government, recommended that Rotimi Amaechi should not be recommended for appointment until he clears himself of the corruption allegations.
“This was also in keeping with the effect of the combined readings of Sections 147 (5) and 66(1)(h) of the 1999 Constitution as amended. Unfortunately, rather than prosecute Rotimi Amaechi on the glaring evidence of corruption presented by The Integrity Group, which has not up till date been challenged by him in any court of law, some of us have continued to suffer harassment, hunted and hounded by certain security institutions of state for our fair citizenship actions being our only crime”, the group stated.