Prosecute Okonjo-Iweala For Crime Against Humanity, Falana Tells ICC

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Human rights lawyer Femi Falana (SAN) has requested the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute former minister of finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iwela, for failing to “prevent systematic and widespread corruption” in the last administration.

“The failure of a former Finance Minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to prevent widespread and systematic corruption including the re-looting of the Abacha loot amounts to complicity under the Rome Statute, and therefore fits the legal requirements of a crime against humanity,” noted Falana, in a petition addressed to the prosecutor of ICC, Fatou Bensouda.

Falana also sought the prosecution of Dasuki, saying his trial by the current administration should not stop the international body from probing him.

“We are a firm of civil rights lawyers based in Lagos, Nigeria. We are the defence counsel for the majority of the members of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Nigeria who were charged with mutiny, cowardly behavior and sundry offences before the courts-martial instituted by the former military authorities,” the petition read in part.

“As we shall demonstrate anon, the only “offence” proved against our clients in the military courts was that they had the temerity to demand for weapons to fight the well equipped troops of the Boko Haram sect.

“On account of the deliberate refusal of the former military authorities to equip and motivate the members of the armed forces involved in combat operations the insurgents have killed about 25,000 soldiers and civilians including children and displaced over 2,000,000 people. Having compromised the security of the people of Nigeria by collaborating with the terrorists the former military authorities deliberately encouraged the brutal killing of innocent people including ill-equipped officers and soldiers.

“During a visit to Borno state in 2014, former President Jonathan revealed to some selected leaders of the community that it was when Alhaji Modu Ali Sheriff caused the extra judicial killing of the leader of the Boko Haram sect, Mohammed Yusuf that the group declared war on the Nigerian people. Even though President Jonathan knew that Alhaji Sheriff was a major sponsor of the terrorist group the government did not charge him to court under the Terrorism Act applicable in Nigeria. In order to divert the attention of the Nigerian people and the international community from the afore mentioned crimes against humanity, scores of soldiers were put on trial before courts-martial for demanding for equipment to fight the well-armed members of the Boko Haram sect.

“The military courts convicted the soldiers and sentenced them to various terms of imprisonment while 70 were sentenced to death. Over 3,000 others were dismissed from the Nigerian Army in similar circumstances. Having investigated and confirmed that the said soldiers were sacrificed to cover up the criminal negligence of the former military authorities the current Army leadership has ordered the recall and reinstatement of the 3,000 dismissed soldiers and commuted the death sentence of 66 out of 70 convicts on death row to 10 years’ imprisonment.

“The inquiry conducted by the Presidential Panel on arms procurement has established that the bulk of the sum of $2.1 billion and N643 billion ($4 billion) earmarked for the purchase of military hardware to fight terrorism was criminally diverted by the former government through the office of the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd). It has also been confirmed that the said Col. Dasuki colluded with some serving and retired military officers and civilians to divert the sum of $2 billion and N29 billion set aside for the procurement of fighter jets and other equipment for the Nigeria Air Force. As if that was not enough, the sum of $322 million and £5.5 million from the Abacha loot which was illegally transferred to Col. Dasuki by a former Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for prosecuting the war on terror has also been criminally diverted. Part of the stolen fund was used to fund the campaign for the re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 general election.

“Apart from diverting the fund for acquiring military equipment some corrupt public officers also stole money set aside for acquiring the necessary gadgets and equipment for securing the Nigerian people. For instance, the $470 million contract awarded in 2009 for the installation of CCTV cameras in Abuja, the seat of the federal government, was poorly executed due to corrupt practices. Thus, the identification of terrorists who launched bomb attacks in public places in Abuja has been frustrated by the government officials who stole the contract sum. Notwithstanding the deliberate refusal of the military authorities to purchase arms and armament due to the criminal diversion of the security fund, Col. Dasuki gave a lecture at Chatham House in London on February 8, 2015 where he claimed that Nigeria had acquired adequate equipment to prosecute the war on terror. At the time he was addressing his London audience Col Dasuki was well aware that the fund for procurement of weapons had been stolen by himself and his cohorts.

“However, out of the fear that he could be made to account for his role in the diversion of the security fund the then Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Barde disclosed, while he was retiring from the service on July 30, 2015, that the armed forces led by him lacked the equipment to fight the terrorists. In his reaction to the disclosure Col. Dasuki stated sometime in August 2015 that the equipment ordered by the Jonathan administration had not arrived the country! It is submitted that the former public officials, serving and military officers as well as civilian collaborators who engaged in the criminal diversion of the security fund are liable to bear full responsibility for the death of about 25,000 people who were killed by the Boko Haram sect and the over 2,000,000 people displaced by the terrorist organisation. Nigeria is a state party to the Rome Statute and deposited its instrument of ratification on 27 September 2001.

“The preamble to the 2003 United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), which Nigeria has also ratified states that corruption “is no longer a local matter but a transnational phenomenon that affects all societies and economies. We strongly believe that allegations of corruption so far made against Col. Sambo Dasuki and other public officers have had catastrophic effects on the lives of over 25,000 Nigerian soldiers and civilians including children akin to crimes against humanity as contemplated under the Rome Statute and within the jurisdiction of the Court. The Rome Statute in article 7 defines “crime against humanity” to include “inhumane acts causing great suffering or injury,” committed in a widespread or systematic manner against a civilian population.”

“The common denominator of crimes against humanity is that they are grave affronts to human security and dignity. We believe that the staggering amount of public funds alleged to have been stolen create just these consequences. Crimes against humanity are not only physical violence; allegations of corruption highlighted above hold a comparable gravity, which the Prosecutor should examine and thoroughly investigate. The elements that need to be established to prove a “crime against humanity “under article 7(1)(k) of the Rome Statute are that, the perpetrator inflicted great suffering or serious injury by means of an inhumane act; that the perpetrator was aware of the circumstances, and that the act was committed within a widespread or systematic attack on a civilian population; and that the perpetrator knew of that link. The consequences of allegations of corruption highlighted above are similar to those of the offences in article 7(1). Corrupt officials in the government know well that their conduct is criminal and injurious, and that their ostentatious lives, built on a radical breach of solemn trust, aggravate their crime against humanity.

“We believe that these allegations of widespread and systematic corruption amount to crimes against humanity and therefore clear violations of the provisions of the Rome Statute of International Criminal Court. These allegations have given rise to individual criminal responsibility of those suspected of perpetrating corruption, as entrenched in the Rome Statute. Although the government of President Muhammadu Buhari has so far shown some political will to fight corruption and recover stolen assets, we believe that an international investigation by the ICC from the perspective of crimes against humanity would complement the anti-corruption initiatives by the current government and contribute to ending a culture of impunity of perpetrators. We submit that substantial grounds exist to warrant the intervention of the Prosecutor in this case.

“Under Article 30(2)(b) of the Rome Statute, a person has intent “in relation to a consequence, [where] that person means to cause that consequence or is aware that it will occur in the ordinary course of events. We therefore submit that this is sufficient to hold Col Dasuki and others that have been indicted in the arms theft scandal responsible for crimes against humanity perpetrated against Nigerians.

“The failure of a former Finance Minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to prevent widespread and systematic corruption including the re-looting of the Abacha loot amounts to complicity under the Rome Statute, and therefore fits the legal requirements of a crime against humanity. Falana then asked the ICC Prosecutor to: Urgently commence an investigation proprio motu on the allegations of the criminal diversion of the security fund of $2.1 billion and N643 billion earmarked by suspected perpetrators, with a view to determining whether these amount to crimes against humanity within the court’s jurisdiction. In this respect, I also urge you to invite representatives of the Nigerian government to provide written or oral testimony at the seat of the Court, so that the Prosecutor is able to conclude on the basis of available information whether there is a reasonable basis for an investigation, and to submit a request to the Pre-Trial Chamber for authorization of an investigation.

“Bring to justice those suspected to bear full responsibility for deliberate under funding of the armed forces through widespread and systematic corruption in Nigeria; and Urge the Nigerian government to fulfil its obligations under the Rome Statute to cooperate with the ICC; including complying with your requests to arrest and surrender suspected perpetrators of the criminal diversion of security fund, testimony, and provide other support to the ICC,” the petition read.

28 Comments

  • Okonjo Iweala didn’t authorise any payment to Dasuki. Jonathan did. We must be tired of people like Falana who delight in unnecessarily raising people’s emotion.

  • Falana is a corrupt lawyer seeking for attention and public notice. Have you forgotten when you all over the place praising Jonathan for the national conference. You’ve collected part of the money and now you are playing innocent….. Hmm Falana.

  • For your information Falana, Okonjo was only doing her job, Jonathan was the one that authorized the payment made to Dasuki. But I’m sure You cannot attack Jonathan because your mouth is full of the money you collected when you were appointed as a delegate at the national conference.

  • If you are a true Lawyer Falana you should know that making spurious allegations without evidence is not right. And you could get sued for it. You should be careful about what you say about Okonjo Iweala. She is one transparent public officer Nigerians know will never compromise

  • Falana I assume you live in another country. You should know that the Minister of finance is subject to the authorities of his or her appointee. Instead of attacking an innocent woman who was just doing her job, I think you should direct your attack on the person who approved the payment and the person caught with the money. Okonjo Iweala is innocent of all accusations.

  • Falana only wants to appear relevant since he was dropped by Buhari in his appointment. He wants attention to be drawn to him. This is why he chooses to even attack the innocent. I could remember when the same
    Falana was praising Okonjo Iweala in Jonathan’s administration. Now he has decided to go against her saying she allowed systematic corruption which he knows it’s a lie. Shame on you Falana.

  • To your surprise Falana, Okonjo Iweala is one woman that keeps records. All the documents and memo approved by the president before she made the payment to Dasuki is intact. I’m sure that even if the ICC go ahead to prosecute her, Falana your counsel will be turned to foolishness.

  • Falana is already getting his fingers involved in politics. No lawyer will make this kind of noise except he has been given money. Falana, you are now corrupt. I saw this coming, present your evidences and not make spurious allegations against Okonjo Iweala.

  • Mrs Okonjo Iweala is such a honest and faithful servant of Nigeria, she made every necessary effort while in office to serve the best interest of Nigerians. OKONJO HAS NOTHING ABSOLUTELY TO DO WITH THE ARMS DEAL AND CORRUPTION DEFAMATION THAT ALL THESE POLITICAL THUGS, JUNTAS AND DOGS SUCH AS Femi Falana are placing on her. As for Oga Femi Falana, it is so much gleering that FEMI FALANA has been bought-over! Falana YOUR HANDS ARE SOILED!! YOU NOW RUN YOUR MOUTH BASED ON WHAT THE CORRUPT LEADERS ARE SENDING YOU!!! Ole ni e…. “Enu Ofifo kokii Dun Yanmu Yanmu”

  • It’s pathetic to watch the rapid transformation of Femi Falana from a human rights lawyer to a tool in the hands of political gladiators.

  • Your allegations are baseless… Falana. Lawyer turned Politician. And it baffles me that this Falana of a guy only tries to attract audience around himself. Leave Okonjo out of this mess, the Madam is a Great Woman. Nigerians are just so ungrateful to people after they have serve meritoriously, however, we must stop this spuriously malicious saliva sprinkles against good people. NIGERIANS ARISE AND FIGHT FOR YOUR HEROES! Mrs Okonjo is an Heroine, and she must be FOUGHT FOR! I love Mrs OKONJO. FEMI FALANA is playing on people’s intelligence, he is a daft!

  • We say NOOOOOOOO to politically soiled Lawyers. Femi Falana is nothing more than a Stupid Malady in Nigerian Legal system. It is crystal clear that this Falana guy has a personal interest against Okonjo, so a cluster of Nincompoops have fronted Falana to spread WRONG AND INCORRECT DEFAMATION about Okonjo. Honestly, this woman is a GREAT LEADER IN NIGERIA!!! Can’t you see, Nigerians????? WAKE-UP GOOD PEOPLE!!!

  • I agree with you Mr AZUMA. Maybe Femi Falala has been toasting Okonjo during her official term here, but what do you expect, Iweala is a Sweet madam of a very high class, she would only spit on rifrafs like Femi, OR he also desired to loot money in which Okonjo refused him. So now what do you expect him to do, BAD-BELE Falana! The guy’s relevance to the principle of Natural Justice, Equity and Good Conscience is already crippled. Femi Falana is a LUNATIC. He can’t mislead us again. We are all stake-holders in this country!

    Thanks!

  • This Falana guy has probably been “settled” and is being sponsored by some political big wigs. Abi why is he taking it personal with Okonjo-Iweala? Lawyers hardly make noise and expend their energy except something is motivating them. He is only a veritable pencil in the hands of his paymasters.

  • Even when you are a good person you will still have enemies. Have you forgotten that under Okonjo-Iweala, the economy has grown in leaps and bounds; Nigeria is the strongest economy in Africa? Thank God for the competency of Okonjo-Iweala and her team the economy would have collapsed under the crude oil price crunch. All over the world this woman is being acknowledged as an astute economist; it is only unappreciative and ignorant Nigerians like Falana that will file useless petitions like this.

  • The fight against corruption must not be condensed to fighting perceived political opponents. The manner in which this petition was written, one has the incline that it was meant to embarrass the former minister of finance on the international scene.

  • Okonjo has all her evidence to display about her CREDIBILITY, it is GOODLUCK JONATHAN they should be haunting, these ghetto daft called Falana and all his allies are picking on the wrong person.
    Falana has no COMMON SENSE…! Gone are the days when a person will just open a Stinking mouth against a fellow Patriot and Nigerians will gullubly believe. Why is Falana just picking on only Iweala. The woman is innocent. WE LOVE YOU OKONJO.

  • We will not allow this undue victimization from Political THUGS championed by Femi Falana to thrive. This guy is a THIEF!!! FEMI FALANA HAS BEEN PAID BY PEOPLE TO bastardize the image of this wonderful woman. Isha Allau!!!

  • Falana has no case against Okonjo-Iweala, her integrity has been proven time and time again. This is just a sheer waste of Falana’s time

  • This singular act by Femi Falana is a serious crime against the person/integrity of Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, I mean, a woman who served two governments would not have been considered capable and qualified if she was dubious or corrupt.

  • I used to believe Femi Falana was one lawyer who would never compromise his standards or get involved in dubious dealing, alas, the yeye lawyer has proved me wrong with this singular act. How much could they have possibly paid you to demean the person of Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala? My guess is as good as his; in millions of dollars.

  • Madam Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is not responsible for any systematic widespread of corruption. As far as this arms withdrawal is concerned, she has stated all the facts with documents to show her innocence.

  • ICC should trash Falana’s call into the bin and not let it see the light of day. Falana is only trying to seek international recognition. Mr Falana, that’s too cheap to do, if you want to international recognition work for it without getting cheap!

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