NIGERIA’S Civil Society Network Against Corruption has written to that country’s President Muhammadu Buhari to help Zambia retrieve the proceeds of the government-to-government oil concession which Rupiah Banda and son, Henry, are believed to have diverted.
Olanrewaju Suraju, who is CSNAC chairman, stated in a letter to President Buhari dated July 16, that in view of the Zambian government’s inability to retrieve the proceeds of that concession for the ultimate benefit of an average Zambian, as per purpose of the original concession, CSNAC had been left with no option but to petition President Buhari, requesting his directive to Nigerian anti-corruption agencies, the Ministry of Justice and foreign affairs to demand, from the Zambian government, evidence of remittance of profit from that allocation to their federation account or any available proof of utilisation of that fund in public interest.
Among other demands, Suraju’s letter also stated that in an instance where the Zambian government is unable to provide the funds as requested, a money laundering and fraudulent diversion of public funds action should be instituted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, a Nigerian law enforcement agency established in 2003 to investigate advanced financial crimes, against former president Banda, Henry and the duo’s Nigerian partner. “Our demands are:
1. The EFCC should be directed to extract material evidence and information from the sacked EFCC in furtherance of establishing illegal diversion of the funds by Mr Banda.
2. The Commission, Ministries of Justice and Foreign Affairs to officially contact the Zambian government for details on utilisation of profits derived from the transaction.
3. The Singaporean government, through the embassy in Nigeria, should be contacted for investigation into IEXORA’s registration, its bank account and its operation, to ensure such money laundering deals are discouraged.
4. In the absence of concrete and convincing evidence from (2) above, Nigeria to immediately launch an official request for the refund of this money,” stated the letter to President Buhari, in part. Suraju further stressed that crimes against Nigeria under previous regimes were not limited to nationals and public office holders but that foreigners, in collaboration with public office holders, swindled the west African country. “You (President Buhari) recently acknowledged $150 billion might after all be an understatement, when many of such situations as the Banda’s fraudulent transaction are investigated!” he stated. “While thanking you in anticipation of your prompt response to this request, please accept the assurances of our esteem regards.” The Lusaka Magistrates’ Court recently acquitted Banda of abuse of authority of office in the Nigerian oil deal case on grounds that the state did not provide consistent evidence which the court could rely on.