Nigeria’s free fall into the corruption cesspool continues

by Tola Adenle

Take your pick(s) from any of the following links to stories that make one wonder if the corruption cancer has not eaten so deep into the Nigerian fabric that there no longer seems any way out or the will to fight it by the Jonathan administration is not there.

When will President Jonathan’s war on corruption start, or if it has started, when will the effects start to be felt?  When will civil servants who loot have to be treated with more than suspensions and/or “reprimand”?  How could banks with massive involvement in the massive looting that goes on daily not be given their just rewards?

I remember that about seven years ago, the old Riggs Bank – I once temped at the downtown D.C. Bank back in the 70s – was slapped with a $25 million for not reporting large money deposits to the appropriate government regulatory agencies. These supposedly dated back to the 70s and included the Saudis, Pinochet of Chile and, of course, an African head of State.

“In July 2004, the US Senate published an investigation into Riggs Bank, into which most of Equatorial Guinea’s oil revenues were paid until recently. This showed that accounts based at the embassy to the United States of Equatorial Guinea were allowed to make large withdrawals without properly notifying federal authorities. At least $35 million were siphoned off by long-time dictator of Equatorial Guinea,Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, his family and senior officials of his regime. Simon Kareri, the Riggs employee in charge of the Equatorial Guinea and other accounts, stands accused of money-laundering in separate charges. As the account manager, it is alleged that he established a fake holding company in his wife’s name, and diverted funds into this account”. [Wikipedia.]

Riggs went under and became part of Bank PNC.

Will the banks being named in the various scams in Nigeria not have to face the music?

The Pension Fund investigation has revealed sordid details of bank culpability in the looting of pensioners’ funds, e.g. a civil servant with over fifty (50) bank accounts.

The idea of the never-ending searches for so-called foreign investors by retired General Obasanjo as president and, now, by Dr. Jonathan, his successor is a joke that has never been funny. On President Jonathan’s recent visit to Germany, it was reported that “Dr Jonathan also allayed the fear of investors and potential tycoons …  his administration was packaging measures that would guarantee good returns for their investments … assured the gathering that Nigeria was an investors’ delight because of its favourable investment climate.  Dr Jonathan said: “For those yet to take advantage of opportunities available in my country, I challenge you to take the plunge today and you would be glad you did. As they say, the taste of the pudding is in the eating.”

This call sounds like a badly-packaged ad to me.

As I once alluded in an essay about these endless searches for apparently elusive “foreign investors”, if we clean up our act, investors would not have to be begged; “if you build it, they will come”, I wrote, borrowing words from the baseball movie, Field of Dreams.

TOLA, April 22, 2012



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