Presidency, Jonathan in Row over Corruption Index

Presidency, Jonathan in Row over Corruption Index

The Presidency has said former President Goodluck Jonathan’s claim in his book, “My Transition Hours,” that there is more corruption in the country now compared to when he left office was not true. But Jonathan wants it to direct its spleen to Transparency International, the leading global anti-corruption body, which has scored the Buhari administration

The Presidency has said former President Goodluck Jonathan’s claim in his book, “My Transition Hours,” that there is more corruption in the country now compared to when he left office was not true. But Jonathan wants it to direct its spleen to Transparency International, the leading global anti-corruption body, which has scored the Buhari administration low on Corruption Perception Index.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, who debunked the claim by the former president in a statement in Abuja on Thursday, said Jonathan’s claim was untrue and that the facts today contradicted his claim.

He said President Muhammadu Buhari, in the fight against corruption, had set a number of local and international records, one of which was to call judicial officers in Nigeria to account.

Besides that, he noted that this was the first time top military commanders and service chiefs were brought to trial and convictions achieved on account of corruption.

Shehu further claimed that this was also the first time a ruling party would convict high profile citizens including former governors, who were members of the party.

The statement read in part: “This is the first time the international community is acknowledging the efforts of a government of Nigeria in this regard as manifested by the selection of President Buhari by the African Union as the Anti-Corruption Champion of the continent.”

“For the records, this is the first time a ruling party is investigating ranking officers of the administration, including some at the very top.

“In addition to the many firsts recorded by President Buhari’s administration, the government has introduced a lot of changes, considering that the laws relating to the fight against corruption cannot reasonably be static.’’

Shehu posited that the current administration had initiated new legislations and proposed amendments to different sections of the law which he said, include: The Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit Bill 2017 (NFIU); Public Interest Disclosure and Witness Protection Bill; the Money Laundering Prevention and Prohibition Bill 2017; Proceeds of Crime Bill 2017; Anti-Terrorism Prevention and Prohibition Bill 2017 and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill, 2017.

The presidential aide disclosed that the NFIU Act had been passed and the President gave assent on July 18.

Again, he said the administration was currently working with the legislature for an expedited passage of the Proceeds of Crimes Bill to make the anti-corruption war more effective.

Shehu called on Nigerians to dismiss Jonathan’s boast that he, not Buhari, introduced schemes such as the Biometric Verification Number (BVN), Treasury Single Account (TSA), and the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).

He queries: “Of what use is the announcement of good policies without the will to implement them?”.

“Since President Buhari assumed office, Nigerians are witnesses to the huge success recorded through the implementation of the TSA where some government agencies that had over the years remitted peanuts or nothing at all are now periodically pumping billions into government coffers.”

“Prominent among these remittances include the ones made by Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).”

“While it is also true, that the BVN was introduced in 2014 to ensure that all bank accounts have biometric identification of their owners, the lack of will and capacity under Dr Jonathan stalled implementation.”

“Today, BVN covers nearly all bank accounts. There are still some individuals who have shielded their identity and are now afraid of enrolling on the BVN platform as this will expose them and their corrupt actions. The law is going after them,’’ he said.

He also talked glowingly about the whistle-blower policy introduced by the government, revealing that “within six months of introducing the policy, over 5,000 reports were made through various channels, 365 actionable tips were received out of the 5,000 reports,” adding that “more than N200 billion had been recovered through the policy.”

Shehu further said: “Finally, as evidenced from a fleeting look at the book, the former President had nothing to say about his own achievements. If there was a recession, and yes we had a moment in it, was it due to one year of President Buhari’s government?”

“In his efforts to blame everyone but himself for his failures, Dr. Jonathan heaped the blame for the predictable economic recession on President Buhari, ignoring the seeds sown under him through mismanagement and the process set in firm roots for the decline of the economy. Evidently, he did nothing to avert the situation.’’

Also touching on the oil sector, the statement claimed; “in the 16 years of PDP and earlier than that, the country solely relied on oil, the price of which was as high as 140 dollars per barrel under their watch.”

But former President Goodluck Jonathan has however told the President Muhammadu Buhari led federal government to leave him alone and face Transparency International, who claimed that Nigeria was more corrupt today than under the last People’s Democratic Party government.

Mr Reno Omokri, Jonathan’s former media aide in a statement, said  the presidency is showing signs of guilty conscience in its manner of response to the contents of the new book, launched by the former president, titled, “My Transition Hours”.

Part of the statement read, “It is just evidence of a guilty conscience. As Shakespeare said “The lady doth protest too much, methinks””.

“First and foremost, it was not former President Jonathan who said Nigeria is more corrupt today than it was under the last Peoples Democratic Party administration. That fact was actually stated by Transparency International, the only global body acknowledged as an independent rating agency for corruption.”

“Whereas under Jonathan and the PDP, Nigeria made her best ever improvement on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, moving eight places forward from 144 to 136 in 2014, but under President Buhari and the All Progressives Congress, Nigeria has made her worst ever retrogression, moving backwards 12 places from 136 to 148. This is a fact.”

The statement added, “And other people have stated the obvious besides Transparency International, one of them being Ms. Priti Patel, immediate past UK Secretary of State for International Development, who this week described President Buhari’s anti-corruption war as a sham and an impediment to Nigeria and urged foreign direct investors to shun Nigeria because of Buhari.”

“Predictably, President Buhari’s faithful slanderer, Garba Shehu, threw diplomatic etiquette to the winds and hurled invectives at Ms. Patel.”

“But Mr. Garba Shehu forgot to tell Nigerians how his boss, President Muhammadu Buhari went to Paris and praised the Governor of Kano state, a man caught on camera hiding dollar bribes in his babanriga. Yet, they charged Ayo Fayose (former Ekiti State Governor) and refused to charge Babachir Lawal.”

“Even the blind can see the corruption of this administration and the deaf can hear it. With questionable certificates, fraudulent #NextLevel logo and document, plagiarizing speeches of both Barrack Obama and Charles DeGaulle. Not to talk of the $25 billion dollars’ worth of contracts awarded without due process at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation as revealed in Mr. Ibe Kachikwu’s leaked memo, Aisha Buhari’s ADC’s looted billions and the reinstatement and promotion of a thief like Maina.”

“Besides, if the Buhari administration is upset at their gold medal for corruption, they should not take out their frustrations at Mr. Jonathan. They should face the umpire who gave them the award, Transparency International.”

“Moreover, Garba Shehu descended further into his dark art of lying when he falsely alleged that Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweka warned Dr. Jonathan about saving but she was rebuffed.”

“That is an obvious lie and is easily demolished by the accounts in Mrs. Iweala’s book, “Fighting Corruption is Dangerous”. In her book, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said she warned the Governors, but APC Governors led by Rotimi Amaechi, refused to save. Must Garba twist the truth with such satanic abandon?”

“This is an administration where the Minister of Power, Tunde Fashola tells the Yoruba ethnic nationality to vote President Buhari and the Southwest will get the Presidency in 2023. The next day, Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Federal Government, told the Igbos to vote for President Buhari and get the Presidency in 2023. They cannot even harmonize their LIES.”

“Lies such as the claim that in 16 years of being in office, President Jonathan and the PDP achieved nothing. Meanwhile, the only federal university in President Buhari’s home state was built by Dr. Jonathan. He built 165 almajiri schools, Abuja-Kaduna super-fast railway, four power stations, four hospitals and revived the nationwide rail service. Question for Garba, can he name even one project which was initiated, started and completed in the last three and a half years by President Buhari?”

“In conclusion, we urge Garba Shehu to grow a spine and tell his boss the truth about his corrupt laden administration instead of coming out to insult the PDP, a party which brought him to national limelight,” he said.

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