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Activists Dismiss Buhari’s Anti-corruption Vow After Appointment Of Bello-Koko Named In Pandora Papers



Anti-corruption activists have slammed President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to appoint an official named in the Pandora Papers to the top job at the Nigerian Ports Authority, calling it “one of the clearest pieces of evidence” that the president lacks the will to deal with rampant government corruption.

Mr. Buhari last week named Mohammed Bello-Koko as the NPA’s substantive managing director, months after designating him as an acting managing director. Many Nigerians believe that the decision, and its sheer boldness, confirms their suspicions that the Buhari administration’s pledge to enhance transparency in government is a ruse.

In a report assessing the six years of the Buhari administration, CDD had said Mr. Buhari’s often-repeated promise to fight corruption with zero tolerance has remained “largely unmet”.

It was reported last November how Mr. Bello-Koko, then acting MD of NPA, hid behind two firms tucked away in the British Virgin Islands, notorious secrecy and tax haven, to invest in the London property market, a common destination for dirty money flowing from the Global South.

The revelations came from Pandora Papers, a trove of 11.9 million leaked confidential records obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, ICIJ.

The reporters spent two years sifting through the leaked records, tracking down sources, and digging into court files and other public records from dozens of countries. It is the biggest collaboration of investigative journalists – from 117 countries and territories – in history.

The leaked records came from 14 offshore services firms from around the world that set up shell companies and other offshore nooks for clients like Mr. Bello-Koko, who seek to shroud their financial activities, often suspicious, in secrecy.

Mr. Bello-Koko used two BVI-incorporated shell companies – Marney Limited and Couldwood Limited – to secretly acquire a total of five London properties, including one in 2017 after his public service appointment. He was appointed executive director for finance and administration in 2016 and later acting MD in 2021 before taking his substantive appointment this week.

As a public servant, he continued to serve as a director of the two companies in breach of the country’s code of conduct law. The full extent of the officer’s violation of the country’s laws has not been fully determined but, last year, the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, the Nigerian chapter of Transparency International, demanded a transparent investigation of Mr. Bello-Koko and others.


The Code of Conduct Bureau declared a commitment, last year, to investigate Pandora Paper’s investigations. However, such an announcement has never been matched with action.

“It is quite unfortunate that the relevant anti-graft agencies have failed to investigate revelations of the Panama, Paradise, and Pandora papers,” said Auwal ‘Rafsanjani’ Musa, the CISLAC director, in a statement to PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday, also criticizing the Buhari administration’s failure to act on previous global investigations exposing offshore shenanigans involving Nigerian officials before the Pandora Papers.

“We find it also disturbing that Mr. Koko who was mentioned in the Pandora papers has not been publicly cleared by any law enforcement or anti-graft agency yet, he is to replace Hadiza Bala Usman who was suspended and Nigerians are yet to see the findings of the committee set up to look into allegations raised against her,” he said.

Mr. Buhari has repeatedly vowed his commitment to efforts against corruption, regarded as the country’s biggest problem stalling development.

“This whole process mocks the anti-corruption efforts of the government, and it is not surprising that Nigeria continues to fall on the Corruption Perceptions Index which we released last month. There is no way the anti-corruption efforts of the current government will be taken seriously,” Mr. Musa said.

Mr. Bello-Koko replaced Hadiza Bala, who was suspended last year for alleged misconduct and corruption. The government did not make public the probe report on the allegations made against Ms. Bala by his then supervisor, Rotimi Amaechi, the minister for transportation.

“The controversial appointment is another indication of the corruption-prone tendency of the Buhari-led government,” said lawyer Inibehe Effiong. “It shows convincingly that the government is not taking the fight against corruption seriously. The government should not downplay allegations of this nature. The allegation of ownership of assets abroad should be properly investigated.”


BREAKING: DSS Confirms Godwin Emefiele’s Arrest [VIDEO]



The Department of State Services (DSS) has confirmed the arrest of suspended Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Godwin Emefiele.

It was earlier reported the arrest of Emefiele by the DSS, shortly after he was suspended by President Bola Tinubu.

But on Saturday, the Service, on its Twitter handle said Emefiele was not in its custody.

Despite the denial by the DSS, report has it that the former CBN chief was in the custody of the secret police.

But confirming the report on Saturday evening, DSS spokesman, Peter Afunanya, posted: “The Department of State Services (DSS) hereby confirms that Mr Godwin Emefiele, the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is now in its custody for some investigative reasons.”


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UPDATE: Emefiele Not In Our Custody — DSS



The Department of State Services (DSS) says suspended governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, is not in its custody.

Following the announcement of Emefiele’s suspension, there were reports that he was arrested by operatives of the secret police.

Reacting in a terse statement posted on Twitter on Saturday morning, the DSS said the suspended CBN governor is “currently” not in detention.

“Currently, Emefiele is not with the DSS,” the tweet reads.

However, DSS did not elaborate on whether he was previously apprehended.

The office of the secretary to the government of the federation (SGF) announced Emefiele’s suspension on Friday.

Willie Bassey, director of information, SGF office, had said Emefiele was to transfer his responsibilities to the deputy governor, operations directorate.

Folashodun Adebisi Shonubi, the deputy governor, is expected to act as the CBN governor pending the conclusion of an investigation of Emefiele’s office.

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Democracy Day: President Tinubu To Address Nigerians On Monday



Nigeria’s President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, will on Monday, June 12 address the nation, in commemoration of Democracy Day, the Federal Government announced on Friday.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator George Akume, who disclosed this on Friday while addressing a world press conference in Abuja, also unveiled a two-item programme for this year’s Democracy Day.

According to Akume, this year’s celebration would be kept low-key, owing to the fact that the nation just came out of an elaborate Presidential Inauguration Programme.

“It is important to note that the Democracy Day has been reviewed to be celebrated annually from May, 29 to June 12 to honour the heroes who championed the struggle and made extra-ordinary sacrifice for the enthronement of the democratic rule in Nigeria from 1999 till date.

“However, May 29 remains the date or anniversary of handing over or taking over of power, and this happens every four (4) years according to the Nigerian Constitution.

“To commemorate this year’s anniversary, it is expedient for citizens and foreigners alike to take stock of how the nation has fared so far and assess the dividends that Democracy has ensued as well as areas where we need to make improvements. It is in light of this that the theme of this year’s Democracy celebration is ‘Hope Reassured’.

“It is pertinent to state that having had an elaborate Presidential inauguration this year, activities to mark the 2023 June 12, Democracy Day will be low key with the following two major activities:

“Presidential Broadcast,Monday, 12th June, 2023,7:00am.

“The events will be broadcast live on all major stations and streamed on various social media platforms,” Akume stated.

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