Opposition Party Tackles Jonathan over Malabu Oil Deal

2014-10-13
THISDAY Newspaper- Onyebuchi Ezigbo


The All Progressives Congress (APC) has asked President Goodluck Jonathan to urgently take action on the monumental Malabu oil scandal that is again putting Nigeria under the global searchlight as a corrupt nation.

In a statement sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said Jonathan must end his silence on the matter since half of the $1.1 billion paid to Malabu Oil and Gas for Oil Prospecting Lease (OPL) 245 by two oil majors was allegedly used to bribe Nigerian officials who, in turn, used the proceeds to buy private jets and armoured limousines.

It said since the deal to pay Malabu the huge funds was brokered and passionately defended by the Jonathan administration, it stands to reason that officials of the same administration will know one or two things, and perhaps are part and parcel of the whole scandal.

“The only way to know for sure is if there is an independent investigation of the allegation, which has been published by the international media after Italian prosecutors intensified their probe into the deal.

“This is where President Jonathan comes in: he must allow an unfettered probe of this scandal that has again put Nigeria in a bad light. Whatever happens, however, the names of those who received the bribes will soon be known, thanks to the determination of the UK and Italy to show that no one who violates their laws will go scot-free.

“Just like the Halliburton and Siemens bribery scandals that were also exposed from abroad, this Malabu scandal has again damaged Nigeria's standing in the comity of nations. While US, France, Italy and Germany have jailed officials and imposed fines on the foreign firms that gave bribes to Nigerian officials in the Halliburton and Siemens scandals, none of those who received the bribes here in Nigeria has been touched. The Malabu scandal must not go the same way,” APC said.

The party said Nigeria has never had it this bad, in terms of runaway corruption that has cost the nation billions of dollars in money that could have gone into national development, as is the case under the “prodigiously-corrupt Jonathan administration”.

“There is no better way to say this. The Jonathan administration is swimming in corruption and the president has contumaciously allowed it to fester because his government is feeding fat on the proceeds of graft. He has even tried to use semantics to cover up the extent of the sleaze, saying stealing is not corruption,” it said.

APC said apart from the Malabu, Halliburton and Siemens scandals, the Jonathan administration had done nothing to tell Nigerians what happened to the $20 billion in diverted oil money; the multi-billion naira fuel subsidy fraud for which no single person has been brought to justice; opaque crude oil swaps at the expense of encouraging domestic refining; payment of billions of naira in kerosene subsidy without appropriation; and the gargantuan police pension fraud.

“Under your watch, Mr. President, there is massive looting of the commonwealth by the same people being paid by taxpayers to ensure the judicious utilisation of the scarce national resources.

“There is a growing culture of impunity because no one is punished for the looting. Now you have another chance to turn things around for the better.

“The Malabu scandal provides such a chance. All those who collected millions of dollars in bribes in the illegal transaction must be identified and brought to justice immediately.

“We must not always allow foreign countries to be the ones exposing corrupt Nigerian officials. Our government must act like a responsible government by demonstrating it will not allow the violation of its laws or encourage corruption,” the party said.

 

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