Over N5tn Stolen Under Jonathan’s Watch – Investigation

Last week Sunday, during his media chat, President Jonathan opined that his administration has done more to fight corruption than the previous administrations and most took it with a pinch of salt. To make matters even worse, a SUNDAY PUNCH investigation has found that over N5tn in government funds have been stolen through fraud, embezzlement and theft since May 6, 2010, when President Goodluck Jonathan assumed office.

The stolen sum was arrived at after the reports of the various committees set up by the President to probe some sectors of the economy, particularly oil and gas was finely combed through. Also  relied upon was disclosures by some senior government officials.

Five trillion naira is the summation of government funds said to have been stolen, according to the Mallam Nuhu Ribadu-led Petroleum Task Force report; the Minister of Trade and Investment’s report on stolen crude; the House of Representatives fuel subsidy report and investigations into the ecological fund, SIM card registration and frequency band spectrum sale.

Reacting to the massive frauds that have greeted Jonathan’s tenure, Transparency International, revealed that Nigeria would continue to slack in development as long as it keeps paying lip service to the fight against corruption.

It said via electronic mail, “President Jonathan should insist that those accused of corruption are properly investigated and punished if found guilty, irrespective of their positions and connections. The judiciary must be seen as impartial and fair.

“To signal a break with the past, the government should set up an independent investigatory panel to review charges of corruption within government and the private sector. President Jonathan should endorse the panel and commit to ensure it has both the scope and the power to investigate and prosecute.

“This is not just a matter of justice; fighting corruption can affect the lives and livelihoods of millions of people. The current culture of corruption hurts the majority of Nigerians while the inequality gap widens.”

A global audit and financial advisory firm, KPMG, had on Thursday stated that Nigeria accounted for the highest number of fraud cases in Africa in the first half of 2012.

The cost of fraud in the country during the period was put at $1.5bn (N225bn).

For detailed report of the investigation, read http://www.punchng.com/news/n5tn-stolen-under-jonathan-investigation/