The latest Wikileaks cables obtained by a Nigerian newspaper, 234Next, authenticate a series of investigative reports earlier done by SaharaReporters on a crisis of credibility besetting Farida Waziri, the scandal-plagued chairperson of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The Wikileaks cables reveal that the EFCC’s foreign partners subjected Mrs. Waziri to rejection and humiliation on account of their perception that she was sponsored into the leadership of the anti-corruption agency by some of Nigeria’s most corrupt elements. In numerous reports published between 2007 and 2010, SaharaReporters had disclosed that such politicians as former Governors James Ibori and George Akume as well as Governor Bukola Saraki and former presidential aide, Andy Uba, were responsible for convincing the late Nigerian ruler, Umaru Yar’Adua, to appoint Mrs. Waziri to head the EFCC.
Reached tonight, a diplomat from one of the EU nations told SaharaReporters: “Mrs. Waziri appears to me to continue to run her agency in a manner that is far from inspiring. I cannot say that she is taking the fight against corruption in Nigeria seriously.”
[ID:135857 Cable dated:2007-12-28T16:28:00]
C O N F I D E N T I A L ABUJA 002618
DOE FOR CAROLYN GAY
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/28/2017
TAGS: PGOV, KCOR, ECON, NI
SUBJECT: EFCC CHAIR RIBADU SENT BACK TO SCHOOL?
REF: ABUJA 2203
Classified By: Acting Political Counselor Heather Merritt for reasons 1.4. (b & d).
1. (C) Summary: Nuhu Ribadu, Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has been assigned to a one year course at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS). Speculation abounds that Ribadu's one year "study leave" is designed to remove him from the helm of the EFCC before the expiry of his four year term in April 2011. However, the Inspector General of Police claims that Ribadu was selected for the NIPSS course based on seniority. Ribadu is on loan to the EFCC from the Nigerian Police Force, where he was promoted to Assistant Inspector General in April 2007. He has been at the helm of the EFCC since 2003. The EFCC has yet to comment on the changing of the guard, though EFCC Secretary Emmanuel Akomaye confirms that he will be taking over as acting Chairman of the institution. Though it is possible that it is simply Ribadu's turn to attend a relatively prestigious training course, it seems likely that his agency's vigor in investigating powerful people had some impact on the timing of his NIPSS assignment. End Summary.
2. (C) Nigeria's Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mike Okiro announced at an Abuja press conference December 27 that Nuhu Ribadu, Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has been selected to attend a one year course at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS). Okiro said that attendence at NIPSS was "routine for senior officers" and that sending Ribadu to the course would be good for him and for the police force. The EFCC has not yet publicly commented on Ribadu's new assignment. According to colleagues from the British High Commission, Emmanuel Akomaye, the EFCC Secretary (effectively Ribadu's #2), confirmed December 28 that he will be taking over soon as acting EFCC Chairman and said that had known Ribadu was going to NIPSS for "some time."
3. (U) NIPSS is a Nigerian government training institution roughly equivalent to a U.S. war college (reftel). Sixty senior military officials and civil servants are chosen each year to attend a 10-month training course at the institute. Alumni of NIPSS include the current Sultan of Sokoto, several former heads of state, and numerous ministers and other high ranking officials.
4. (U) Nuhu Ribadu came to the EFCC from the Nigerian Police Force, where he holds the rank of Assistant Inspector General. Though Ribadu remains a police officer, he has independent statutory powers as Chairman of the EFCC, so it is not clear whether the IGP, though technically his commanding officer, can simply reassign him to NIPSS like any other member of the police force. Ribadu has been at the helm of the EFCC since 2003, and he was re-appointed as EFCC Chairman by former President Obasanjo in April 2007.
The EFCC Act (2004) grants him a four-year term of office, unless he is removed by the President for inability to discharge his office, incompetence, or "if the President is satisfied that it is not in the interest of the Commission or the public" that he should remain in office.
5. (C) Comment: Most press accounts speculate that Ribadu is being sent to NIPSS now in order to remove him prematurely from the EFCC, perhaps due to ongoing institutional battles between the EFCC and the Attorney General on actions against former governors. The EFCC has been active in recent weeks, jailing former Governors Ibori (Delta State) and Fayose (Ekiti State) pending trials, investigating allegations of corruption against Senator Iyabo Obasanjo (daughter of the ex-President), and reportedly preparing to indict another four ex-governors soon. Though it is possible that it is simply Ribadu's turn to attend a relatively prestigious training course, it seems likely that his agency's vigor in investigating powerful people had some impact on the timing of his NIPSS assignment. Embassy has already requested an anytime meeting for Ambassador with Ribadu and has calls in to the Foreign Minister and for the President, though both are out of Abuja at their respective villages. End Comment.
2) [ID:154266 Cable dated:2008-05-16T13:03:00]
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 000898
STATE FOR AF/W, INR/AA, INL
DOE FOR GEORGE PERSON
TREASURY FOR FINCEN AND INT'L
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/16/2018
TAGS: PGOV, EFIN, KCOR, SNAR, NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: NEW EFCC CHAIR APPOINTED, EX-GOVERNORS RUMORED INVOLVED
REF: A. 07 ABUJA 2082
B. 07 ABUJA 1741
Classified By: Acting Political Counselor Heather Merritt for reasons 1.4. (b & d).
1. (C) SUMMARY: The Federal Government announced the appointment of former Assistant Inspector General of Police Farida Mzamber Waziri as the new Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on May 15. Waziri is well respected among law enforcement and was, in fact, the officer in charge who trained former Chairman Ribadu and immediate past Acting Chairman Lamorde. Critics allege that a group of former governors currently under investigation or charged with corruption is behind Waziri's appointment. Waziri must still be confirmed by the Senate, which (despite press reports to the contrary) may not be a fait accompli. In the final analysis, we must keep in mind that neither Waziri's credentials nor the impetus or origin of her appointment are as important as how Waziri actually performs once she holds the position. END SUMMARY.
2 (C) The Federal Government announced the appointment of Farida Mzamber Waziri, a retired Assistant Inspector General (AIG) of Police and author of the book "Advance Fee Fraud, National Security and the Law," as Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on May 15. Waziri's name had circulated as early as December, when former EFCC Chair Nuhu Ribadu was sent to the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies for executive training.
Secretary to the EFCC Emmanuel Akomaye, a good contact of the Mission, will stay on in his position and it is believed (though not confirmed) that Ibrahim Lamorde, former Acting Chairman, will return to his position as Director of Operations. Lamorde is currently in Australia on business. Senior management of the EFCC met on May 16 and post will provide a readout of that meeting septel.
3. (C) Waziri is well-known in anti-corruption and law enforcement circles and generally highly respected. As the highest ranking woman in the Nigerian Police Force, she was Director of the Police Special Fraud Unit and trained both Ribadu and Lamorde in the 1990's. Waziri served in the Nigerian Police for 35 years and retired in 2000. A contact in the Police told INL Assistant that Waziri was chosen because she is retired and there was less concern that "she would get a big head." (NOTE: Ribadu was a serving AIG when he was appointed EFCC Chair.) Waziri holds a bachelors degree in law from the Nigerian Law School and two masters degrees (in Law and Strategic Studies) from the Universities of Lagos and Ibadan, respectively.
4. (C) Critics allege Waziri's appointment was orchestrated by former Delta Governor James Ibori, current Kwara Governor Bukola Saraki, former Abia Governor Orji Uzor Kalu, former Rivers Governor Peter Odili, former Jigawa Governor Taminu Turaki and Attorney General Michael Aondoakaa. (COMMENT: Ibori, Kalu, Odili and Turaki are all under investigation and/or charged with corruption. It is widely believed that Ibori was a large contributor to President Yar'Adua's campaign and there have been multiple allegations from many sources that Ibori has been applying pressure through Attorney General Aondoakaa to drop the investigation and charges against him (reftels). END COMMENT.)
Rumors have also surfaced in the press that Waziri has been instructed to go after former President Obasanjo and his family in an attempt to refocus attention away from the former governors.
5. (C) Although press reports indicate her confirmation by the Senate may be a fait accompli, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Narcotics, Financial Crimes & Anti-Corruption Sola Akinyede told PolOff and INLOff that he was opposed to Waziri,s nomination because of her age and that her confirmation would "never make it through the Committee." He lamented that the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC- Nigeria's other main anti-corruption body) is a
ABUJA 00000898 002 OF 002
"gerontocracy," contributing to its ineffectuality, and said he would not allow the same to happen at the EFCC.
6. (C) COMMENT. In the final analysis, we must keep in mind that neither Waziri's credentials nor the impetus or origin of her appointment are as important as how Waziri eventually performs in the position. Given Nigeria's historical trend of personality-driven institutions, USG support for the institution of the EFCC (and not just the personality at its helm) is crucial. Waziri appears to be well qualified and respected among her law enforcement colleagues. Her age is a legitimate concern both in terms of the energy and enthusiasm she brings to the job and in the fact that she is part of the "old school" of Nigerian law enforcement. We should, however, be careful to reserve judgement. Even if the former governors were responsible for her appointment, what she does as EFCC Chair is her own decision. END COMMENT.
3) [ID:157715 Cable dated:2008-06-11T13:43:00]
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 001079
DEPT FOR AF/W, INR/AA
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/10/2018
TAGS: PGOV, EFIN, KCOR, NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: NEW EFCC CHAIR AFFIRMS COMMITMENT TO FIGHT CORRUPTION
REF: A. ABUJA 946
B. ABUJA 898
Classified By: Political Counselor Walter Pflaumer for reasons 1.4. (b& d).
1. (C) SUMMARY. Ambassador Sanders paid a courtesy call on newly confirmed (June 5) Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairwoman Farida Waziri on June 10, where she underscored the importance the U.S. places on the EFCC maintaining its vigor and fight against corruption, noting that the U.S. had concerns given all the recent changes at the Commission. Waziri stressed her commitment to anti-corruption efforts and her hopes to continue the capacity building programs that the U.S. has with the EFCC.
She acknowledged that recent press reports regarding her appointment had likely caused significant concern in the international community, but wanted to reassure the U.S. through the Ambassador that these allegations were not true and that she was committed to actively working to advance Nigeria's anti-graft war. Waziri came across on the surface as wanting to maintain the EFCC's focus, and also advance it to become a strong institution. Ultimately, however, the true test of Waziri's commitment will be in how she handles ongoing high profile EFCC investigations and whether the EFCC moves forward or stalls. END SUMMARY.
2. (SBU) The Nigerian Senate on June 5 confirmed former Assistant Inspector General of Police Farida Waziri as the new Chairwoman of the EFCC after a contentious two weeks of allegations and counter-allegations regarding her fitness for the position based on her past connections to some ex-governors under investigation. (NOTE: On May 17, former Senator and 2007 Action Party (AC) Vice Presidential candidate Ben Ndi Obi told PolOffs he believes Waziri will go after the "big fish," including former President Obasanjo. Obi contended that Obasanjo was so worried by Waziri's nomination that he actively lobbied against it. END NOTE.)
Waziri's appointment effectively ends any speculation that the previous EFCC Chairman, Nuhu Ribadu, would be returned to the post following his 9-month study tour.
3. (C) Ambassador Sanders paid a courtesy call on Waziri on June 10, stressing that the call was meant to underscore the USG's concern about the EFCC as well as its desire to ensure that our capacity building programs on the anti-corruption fight would still be accepted and go forward. The Ambassador expressed the U.S. expectation that the EFCC will continue to pursue its investigations and fight corruption with the same vigor and commitment it has shown in the past under former Chairman Ribadu and acting Chair Lamorde. She stressed the need to support the EFCC as an institution, building capacity that is independent of personality. Ambassador Sanders briefly outlined ongoing USG cooperation with the EFCC and expressed hope that our programs with the organization will continue to expand and deepen under Waziri's Chairmanship.
She invited the EFCC under Waziri to participate in anti-corruption working groups under the U.S.-Nigerian bilateral Framework for Partnership program, which includes technical assistance on anti-fraud investigation, as well as discussions on the need for automated databases on criminal elements that would help overall to reduce graft.
4. (C) Waziri thanked the Ambassador for the visit, noting that the Ambassador was her first official visitor as Chairwoman -- a sign, Waziri observed, of U.S. support for Nigeria's fight against corruption. Waziri affirmed her commitment to anti-corruption efforts, expressing her desire to protect the sovereign wealth of the nation by ensuring that it is not used for illicit enrichment by those who do not have the best interest of the country at heart. She noted examples of her past work in the police force where she had played a key role in having monies that had been laundered through Germany returned to Nigeria, where she was involved in the protection of the German national who was brought back to provide evidence in the case. She noted recent allegations in the press regarding her bona fides for this appointment, recognizing the serious concern that these
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allegations have caused both domestically and among Nigeria's international community anti-corruption partners, such as the U.S. Waziri maintained, however, that they were nothing more than allegations, saying "This is newspapers... They don't care who they offend or misrepresent." (NOTE: Although she dismissed the reports as "allegations," she never explicitly denied nor refuted any of the charges of impropriety leveled by the press. She allowed the entire meeting with the Ambassador to be covered by her internal press office. END NOTE.)
5. (C) Ambassador Sanders reiterated U.S. concern over the EFCC, and shared with the new Chairwoman a schedule of upcoming USG programs that are planned with the Commission, noting that not only did we hope these could continue but that there was also a strong desire to see the EFCC strengthened. Waziri noted that she would look for continued capacity building support and technical assistance from the U.S.
6. (C) COMMENT. We still have grave concerns as noted in our reporting (reftels) regarding Waziri's questionable ties to Kwara State Governor Bukola Saraki (PDP), the Saraki family, former Delta Governor James Ibori (PDP), and former Benue Governor and current Senator George Akume (PDP) -- all of whom have cases or ties in some form or another before the EFCC. These connections will continue to make her suspect until we see how these are handled. In addition, despite Waziri's testimony to the Nigerian Senate that she did not stand surety for Senator Akume, online blog Sahara Reporters (we recognize that blogs can be incorrect in what they report) has posted purported copies of Akume's passport that were signed: "original passport of Senator George Akume collected by me. Chief Farida Waziri, AIG rtd." dated 8 November 2007. Ultimately however, the true test of Waziri's commitment to fighting corruption will be the extent to which she proceeds with EFCC cases against Ibori, the Saraki family, Akume, and other "big fish" currently under investigation and whether the EFCC is as robust as it was under Ribadu. END COMMENT.
4) [ID:161736 Cable dated:2008-07-11T13:17:00]
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ABUJA 001331
STATE FOR AF/W, INR/AA, INL
DOE FOR GEORGE PERSON
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/07/2018
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, KCOR, KCRM, NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: EFCC CHAIR WAZIRI'S FIRST MONTH, SOME WORRYING SIGNS
REF: A. ABUJA 1079
B. ABUJA 946
C. ABUJA 898
D. ABUJA 643
E. SANDERS-SILSKI E-MAIL OF 5/22/2008
Classified By: Political Counselor Walter Pflaumer for reasons 1.4. (b & d).
1. (C) SUMMARY. One month after Farida Waziri's June 5 Senate confirmation as new Chairwoman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) the jury is still very much out on Waziri's true intentions and any fallout her leadership choices will have on the EFCC as an institution; we believe that the future of the institution is still very shaky. Since Waziri assumed office, however, the EFCC has made a number of high-profile arrests: the former Coordinator and Deputy Coordinator of the Police Equipment Fund (PEF), two former Ministers of Aviation, and a handful of former officials of Bauchi State. Nigerian political pundits and press are divided on a major redeployment of staff, some (including Waziri's stated intention) see it as an attempt to rid the institution of politicized decision making, while others argue that it is an attempt to weakenthe EFCC's capacity to investigate and prosecute corrupt officials and selectively avoid investigating others or go after Obasanjo loyalists. We will monitor her every step closely, continue to note our concerns about the future of the institution, and advance our anti-corruption programs and activities. Ambassador also attended a July 8 roundtable on concerns about the EFCC by partners for UNODC Director General. Below, we highlight what she has/has not done to date and note worrying signs. END SUMMARY.
EFCC ACTIVITY IN WAZIRI'S FIRST MONTH
2. (C) POLICE EQUIPMENT FUND (PEF) ARRESTS: On June 23, the EFCC formally charged Coordinator of the PEF, Chief Kenny Martins, and his Deputy, Ibrahim Dumuje, with mismanagement of approximately 50 million Naira ($427,000) from the PEF. The mismanaged funds were reportedly used to purchase gifts, including cash and vehicles. On June 20, the EFCC issued a 7-day ultimatum that recipients return the "gifts" or face prosecution. (NOTE: No subsequent arrests have been announced.) Martins and Dumuje's arrests were made in connection with an investigation reportedly initiated by a petition from Integrity International-Nigeria and Sultan of Sokoto Muhammed Sa'ad Abubakar III, who served as Chairman of the PEF until his recent resignation. Reports indicate the two were held and questioned as early as April 13 regarding the funds. FYI: Martins is former President Obasanjo's brother-in-law. End FYI.
3. (C) TRANSPORTATION SECTOR ARRESTS: Former Ministers of Aviation Femi Fani-Kayode and Babalola Borishade were arrested on June 30 following a Senate aviation sector probe of the 19.5 billion Naira ($166 million) Aviation Intervention Fund. The Senate found an inflated 6.5 million Naira ($55,000) "Safe Tower" contract awarded by the administrations of the former Ministers to Avsatel Ges MB of Austria. Information gathered following the EFCC's arrest of George Eider, Managing Director of Avsatel, led to the arrest of the former Ministers. FYI: Fani-Kayode was Obasanjo's Special Advisor for Public Affairs prior to his appointment as Minister. Borishade is also a close personal associate of Obasanjo whose nomination was turned down by the Senate three times in 2003 before an agreement was finally reached to confirm him for a Ministerial appointment. End FYI.
(Comment: Some critics of Waziri contend that these arrests and that of Martins indicate a new focus on Obasanjo's allies, and mark a return to the use of the EFCC as a political tool to go after the perceived enemies of the President, as Obasanjo often did during his administration. End comment.)
4. (C) STATE GOVERNMENT INVESTIGATIONS: Members of the former Bauchi State government (former Finance Commissioner, former Accountant General and former Secretary to the State
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Government) were questioned by the EFCC on July 1 regarding the alleged misappropriation of approximately 1 billion Naira ($8.5 million). The funds were reportedly intended for rural electrification projects and investments into the Yankari Game Reserve. On July 7, the EFCC called in two commissioners serving under current Adamawa Governor Murtala Nyako for questioning regarding alleged inflated contracts worth approximately 6.8 billion Naira ($58 million). The EFCC has already questioned Governor Nyako, the Deputy Governor, Chief of Staff to the Governor, and members of the State House of Assembly over the contracts.
5. (C) President Yar'Adua explained to the Ambassador on April 3 that he was unhappy with what he saw as the politicization of the EFCC under former Chairman Ribadu and holdovers connected to him. The President said he wanted to improve the EFCC's professionalism on prosecutions and its investigative capacity, and to obtain more convictions (Ref. D). He later in the press portrayed Waziri's appointment as part of his efforts to strengthen the rule of law. On May 22, Secretary to the Government of the Federation Babagana Kingibe reiterated to the Ambassador that Ribadu had done a good job, but that Waziri is the right person to further strengthen the institution and improve its performance on rule of law (Ref. E). (Note: It remains to be seen what the real commitment of the President is on the issue, although he says the right things. End Note.)
6. (C) IN HER OWN WORDS: WAZIRI'S COMMENTS: Meanwhile, in her initial meeting with Amb. Sanders (Ref. A) and subsequent public statements, Waziri has emphasized the need to continue capacity building efforts within the EFCC and strengthen its commitment to due process. At a Commonwealth Business Council meeting in London July 5-6, Waziri highlighted the importance of the rule of law, good governance and democracy, noting that corruption thrives because of weak institutions.
On July 9, Waziri, in a meeting with the head of the Nigerian Bar Association, called on the U.K. and other western nations to increase efforts to prevent stolen funds from being deposited in western banks. She also recognized the U.S. has the best models to follow on anti-corruption efforts and wanted to take these steps for the EFCC. She also called for psychiatric tests for all public officials, maintaining that corruption is a "symptom of mental illness." At this same meeting, she reiterated her commitment to work hard to prosecute all corrupt state and local government officials, including investigating sitting governors for prosecution upon leaving office, but said the issue of looking at what they do while in office is also key.
7. (C) PARTNERS MEET ON EFCC CONCERNS: During a July 8 roundtable briefing for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Director General, with development and other diplomatic partners, Ambassador discussed USG concerns over the EFCC. Of note, she highlighted the importance of the EFCC's capacity building over personalities, concerns over the redeployment of the lead investigator in Governor Ibori's case, and the real need for visible, completed prosecution of high level cases. The UNODC Chief said Waziri committed to him that she will be vigorous on all these issues.
8. (C) REDEPLOYMENT, WORRYING SIGNS: Post contacts within the EFCC have confirmed that somewhere in the range of 40 to 60 officers were redeployed to the Nigerian Police Force (from which many of the EFCC's officers come) on Friday, July 4. Official press statements from the EFCC on July 6 deny the redeployment; however, xxxxxxxxxxxxx, (an official of the commission, whose name we are holding because he is still in service) confirmed to Poloff on July 7 that "at least 60 officers were affected," calling it a "blanket sweep" of the EFCC and former Chairman Ribadu's close associates. Another official (whose name we are also holding because he is still in service) told Poloff on July 10 that at least 40 uniformed personnel were redeployed but that the number of non-uniformed personnel is hard to know because they are discretely handed letters of reassignment.
Among the police persons redeployed was Bello Yahaya, the EFCC officer designated to handle cooperation with the London
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Metropolitan Police (and former Delta Governor James Ibori's case in particular). Contacts at the UK High Commission confirmed Yahaya's redeployment to an as yet unspecified position at Police Headquarters and voiced frustration that bilateral cooperation in general, and Ibori's case in particular, will be significantly set back. In addition, in response to Ambassador's question to UNODC Chief on July 8 on this issue, he said that the EFCC boss in his meeting with Waziri explained the redeployments were needed as she found that case files were incomplete or missing and that there were constant leaks to the press which she believed these individuals were involved with.
TOO EARLY TO ASSESS IMPACT, INTENTIONS
9. (C) Comment. Despite former EFCC Chairman Nuhu Ribadu's accomplishments in building the EFCC as an anti-graft institution, most agree that, particularly during Obasanjo's Presidency, decisions on which cases to pursue were largely political, with the then-President's enemies being the main targets. It is not yet clear whether what we are seeing now from Waziri is a well-intentioned attempt to rid the organization of the politicization which crept in under Ribadu, or simply an attempt to turn it again into a politicized institution to go after the new administration's perceived enemies, while turning a blind eye toward its friends. If the former, then the recent arrests and redeployment are positive steps toward bringing corrupt serving and former officials to justice, and building a robust institution based on the rule of law rather than political decision making. If the latter, than this is really worrying. The recent arrests would just be a shift from pursuing Obasanjo's enemies to pursuing his friends.
The redeployments may be just an attempt to gut the institution's operational capacity, given the concerns that were raised over Waziri's close ties to some governors, political "godfathers" and others who were the subject of ongoing investigations in the EFCC (Refs. B, C).
10. (C) Comment continued. One month is too short a period to make a sound judgment on Waziri and her ultimate intentions. Yar'Adua and Waziri continue to talk the talk and certainly know the right things to say. The true test will be, however, whether they can walk the walk -- continue ongoing investigations, achieve high-level prosecutions, and take the initiative to go after well-known corrupt officials who continue to act with impunity. What will be important in the coming months is for the USG to continue our focus on building institutional capacity and transparency within the agency. In the past, our support was important in getting the EFCC off the ground; it is important that we continue to play a role in its development as a viable institution, challenge and monitor Waziri's activities, and forge ahead with our institution building programs such as our EFCC regular working groups and training activities. We need to be clear that our future engagement will be directly linked to concrete results, particularly if the EFCC shows progress toward locking up the most egregious offenders. We will continue to push Waziri and the EFCC in the right direction and publicly denounce any attempts to step away from the importance of a transparent EFCC as an anti-corruption institution. End Comment.
5) [ID:164047 Cable dated:2008-07-29T17:59:00]
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ABUJA 001465
STATE FOR AF/W, INR/AA
DOE FOR GEORGE PERSON
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/20/2018
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, EFIN, KCOR, NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: WAZIRI REQUESTS ASSISTANCE, CHANCE TO PROVE HERSELF
REF: ABUJA 1331
Classified By: Political Counselor Walter Pflaumer for reasons 1.4. (b & d).
1. (C) SUMMARY. Ambassador met with EFCC Chairwoman Farida Waziri on July 21, noting USG concerns about Waziri personally, her ability to strengthen the EFCC, and recent personnel redeployments. The Ambassador stressed Waziri's need to prove her bonafides to the U.S. through concrete results. Waziri said redeployments of long-time seconded police (as opposed to permanent EFCC staff) were necessary to close leaks to the press and to weed out those not loyal to the EFCC or to her. She confided to the Ambassador that she was shocked by the poor capacity and lack of seriousness within the EFCC and the NFIU, despite considerable international support. Waziri asked for U.S. assistance to bring a U.S. prosecutor to Nigeria soonest to help build capacity of EFCC staff, particularly to build case files and train prosecutors. The Ambassador informed Waziri of existing plans to bring a U.S. attorney to Nigeria for capacity building to the ICPC and indicated she would ask to expedite the timeline for this visit and ask about other opportunities. Waziri indicated she would like to travel to the U.S., potentially in October, to demonstrate in person her commitment to fighting corruption. The Ambassador noted her disappointment with the EFCC press coverage of her earlier meeting with Waziri, noting that our bilateral discussions are meant to be private and not open to the press. Waziri took note of the Ambassador's request and voiced her own displeasure with press coverage of the meetings. The Ambassador has laid down a marker on press coverate at bilateral meetings, that Waziri needed to prove herself sooner rather than later, and that we will be watching what she does closely. Ultimately, the proof will have to be concrete action -- continued investigations, arrests and prosecutions. END SUMMARY.
2. (C) Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairwoman Farida Waziri requested a meeting with the Ambassador and Legatt on July 21 to discuss USG programs in country and how best she could take advantage of them as an opportunity to strengthen the EFCC. The Ambassador noted strong USG concern about Waziri personally, her ability to strengthen the EFCC, and the numerous recent redeployments (NOTE: of seconded police and not EFCC permanent staff), stressing Waziri's need to prove her bonifides. The Ambassador indicated that ongoing Legatt and INL capacity-building programs with the EFCC will continue because we see a strong EFCC as a key element of the fight against corruption and graft in Nigeria.
WAZIRI'S SURPRISE: DISLOYALTY, LEAKS, WEAK CASES
3. (C) Waziri explained that the redeployments were meant to remove those she felt leaked information to the press, were disloyal to the EFCC as an institution, or were disloyal to her personally. She added that she arrived at the EFCC willing to work with those who were there, but had come to realize that some of them wanted to undermine her -- as well as the EFCC. As an example, she noted that information was recently leaked to the press regarding two ex-governors whom the EFCC was about to arrest, allowing the ex-governors to escape to London. Waziri admitted that some of the redeployments included investigators of high profile cases such as former Delta Governor James Ibori. She confided to the Ambassador, however, that when she inquired into the Ibori case, she found the case file weak and that even the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) did not have strong documentation on Ibori. The EFCC was trying to convince the judge in Kaduna to continue to hold Ibori's diplomatic passport, and had succeeded so far, but the weak case file made this more difficult. (Note: Press reports July 29 claimed that a former EFCC employee was arrested at his Lagos home with EFCC case files and computers. Post is seeking more information to clarify this report. End Note.)
4. (C) Waziri said she was alarmed to find that the EFCC and units like the NFIU, in which the U.S. and UK had invested
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considerable money and training, did not seem to have the capacity or seriousness to help build strong case files. The Ambassador noted that a DOJ mentor, scheduled to assist the NFIU over a 4 month period, left early when he was not given appropriate access; the mentor had told us that members of the NFIU were not as serious as they should have been about moving forward. Despite this disappointment, we had brought another U.S. Attorney to Abuja for two weeks last Spring, and the U.S. Mission is already planning for another INL-funded TDY intermittent legal advisor to come to Abuja who normally works with the ICPC.
WAZIRI SOUNDS ALARM - REQUESTS USG ASSISTANCE
5. (C) Waziri said her alarm and resulting concern regarding the management of other cases prompted her call to the Ambassador for USG assistance. Waziri asked to get a U.S. prosecutor to ehlp her staff with their capacity to manage case files and to provide capacity building for EFCC prosecutors. (Comment. The timeline for the current efforts to get a TDY attorney may be longer than what Waziri needs. After the meeting, the Ambassador and Legatt discussed the possibility of getting a U.S. Attorney to respond to this request and have since then provided the background and request to Washington offices. End Comment.)
6. (C) Waziri told the Ambassador that big cases such as that against Ibori must be prosecuted. She wants her prosecutors to be better prepared, particularly because she believes the information in many of the case files may not be enough to really bring these "theives" (her words) to justice. Waziri contended that if the EFCC under her chairmanship could successfully prosecute high profile cases -- like some of these ex-governors -- then the international community will see that she is serious about fighting corruption, and serious about making the EFCC a strong institution.
7. (C) Waziri told the Ambassador she wants to travel to the U.S., as she did to the UK, so people can hear directly of her commitment to the anti-graft war. She asked that the international community, including the U.S., give her a chance to do her job and let her prove herself. She noted that she met with the Metropolitan police and other UK officials when they came to Abuja and had made the same points she expressed to the Ambassador. The Ambassador said we were willing to allow Waziri to prove herself, but noted that we would be watching to see if her deeds matched her words. The Ambassador promised to inform the Department of Waziri's desire to travel to the U.S. to make her points directly. Waziri said she wanted to travel in October.
NO PRESS IN MISSION/EFCC MEETINGS
8. (C) The Ambassador expressed her displeasure at EFCC press coverage of her earlier meeting with Waziri, noting that USG and Embassy meetings with Waziri and her staff are not a platform for the press. She told Waziri press coverage should be limited to programs such as the Legatt and INL/Treasury-led anti-corruption training programs, which highlight anti-corruption efforts. The Ambassador mentioned the visit of U/S Jeffery, reiterating that this would be a private discussion and not a matter for the press. (NOTE: The conversation was prior to a decision from U/S Jeffery's staff that he not see Waziri.) Waziri took note of the Ambassador's concerns regarding press coverage, indicating she had been following the recommendations of some of her staff, but later realized that not everyone was working in either her or the EFCC's overall best interest. She agreed to private meetings in the future, and said she was alsodismayed by the press coverage of the earlier meeting. She added that, given her experiences with the press leading up to her own confirmation, she was not surprised by the misrepresentations.
ULTIMATELY, THE PROOF IS IN ARRESTS, PROSECUTIONS
9. (C) Comment. The Ambassador laid down a marker that we expect results. Some of Waziri's comments about the EFCC we
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information, and a lack of capacity has hindered some of its efforts toward effective prosecution and bringing cases to court. Nonetheless, we have made clear to Waziri that, while we are willing to give her the chance to prove herself, we will be assessing her every move and performance not by rhetoric or promises, but by results. The next six months will be critical. Only the continued pursuit of cases, arrests and prosecutions, can ultimately demonstrate whether the EFCC under Waziri's leadership (including Waziri personally) will be committed to fighting corruption.
However, more importantly, we need to determine what tools the EFCC reallly does have to effectively move forward on these issues. It is unclear now whether all the assumptions we made in the past about the internal capacity of the EFCC are valid. Post recommends we consider having the upcomign TDY U.S. prosecutor spend some time at EFCC so we can have better intelligence on the capacity or lack thereof of some of its senior leadership, prosecutors and directors. End Comment.
6) [ID:165088 Cable dated:2008-08-06T17:28:00]
C O N F I D E N T I A L ABUJA 001551
STATE FOR AF/W, INR/AA
DOE FOR GEORGE PERSON
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/04/2018
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, EFIN, KCOR, KCRM, NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: FORMER EFCC OFFICIALS DEMOTED, QUESTIONED, ARRESTED
REF: ABUJA 1331
Classified By: A/DCM Walter Pflaumer for reasons 1.4. (b & d).
1. (C) SUMMARY. There have been three separate actions taken this week against former officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Press reported on August 6 that members of the State Security Service (SSS) visited the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPPS) to arrest former EFCC Chairman Nuhu Ribadu. CDA spoke to Ribadu twice on August 6; he reported he was not arrested but was asked to appear for questioning at SSS headquarters on August 7. On August 5, 140 police officers, including Nuhu Ribadu, were demoted, allegedly because their promotions did not follow due process. As well, former Head of the EFCC Economic Governance Unit Ibrahim Magu was arrested on August 4, following allegations that police discovered EFCC files and a computer containing classified documents at his Abuja residence. Magu's Economic Governance Unit led the EFCC investigations into corrupt governors, including former Delta Governor James Ibori and current Governor Bukola Saraki. Magu is a recipient of USG and London Metropolitan Police institute training. The three incidents, occurring in the space of just two days, are leading critics to question the Yar'Adua administration's commitment to fighting corruption. END SUMMARY.
2. (C) Three separate incidents involving former officials of the EFCC have occurred over the span of just two days. On August 4, members of the SSS reportedly visited the NIPPS to arrest former EFCC Chairman Nuhu Ribadu. (Note: Ribadu has been attending executive training at NIPPS since December 2007). CDA spoke to Ribadu twice on August 6. Early on August 6 when CDA spoke to Ribadu, he reported he had not been arrested but could not talk as he was in a meeting. CDA noted that Ribadu and those around him were laughing and seemed in good spirits. CDA spoke to Ribadu again late in the day and he confirmed that he had not been arrested. Ribadu said he was asked to report to SSS headquarters in Abuja August 7 for further questioning, which he plans to do. He told CDA he does not feel he is in imminent danger of arrest.
3. (C) On August 5, the Nigerian Police Service Commission (PSC) announced the demotion of 140 police officers, alleging that their promotions did not follow due process. Among those demoted was former EFCC Chairman Ribadu, who was demoted from Assistant Inspector General to Deputy Commissioner -- a two-step demotion. The PSC maintains that the promotions were not based on established criteria (including seniority, merit, time in rank, completion of promotion course, and passing of a promotion exam) and were abreach of the 1999 Constitution and the Police Service
Commission Act. Ribadu told CDA on August 6 he plans to keep quiet and not challenge the demotion, although he does not feel it is justified. Secretary to the EFCC Emmanuel Akomaye told Poloff on August 6 that the demotions were initiated and carried out within the Police, not by the EFCC, and that the EFCC could not comment on police matters. Akomaye maintained that Ribadu was the only name on the list with a connection to the EFCC. (Note: Names of several other high-ranking police officials who were demoted were included in press reports. None of the other names were immediately known to the Mission. We will, however, continue to check on the composition of the list. End Note.)
4. (C) On August 4, former EFCC Economic Governance Unit Head Ibrahim Magu was reportedly arrested following searches of his Abuja and Lagos residences which reportedly found EFCC case files and a computer with classified information. Magu was redeployed from the EFCC to the Police force on July 4 (reftel) and was serving as Chief Superintendent at Ado, Ekiti State at the time of his arrest. Although press reports alleged the EFCC carried out the arrest, EFCC Secretary Akomaye told Poloff on August 6 that the investigation, search and arrest were all handled within the Police and that the EFCC (once again) could not comment on police matters. Meanwhile, EFCC Chief of External Relations Mohammed Bamalli (strictly protect), a trusted Embassy contact within the EFCC, told Poloff he knows Magu well and cannot believe that Magu, whom he termed a "skilled professional," would keep files at home. Bamalli told Poloff he plans to meet Magu late on August 6 and will relay what he learns to Poloff. Post will report any information from Bamalli septel.
5. (C) Comment. The confluence of events in the course of a few days, with the appointment of Ibori's former Commissioner of Finance as Principal Secretary to the President, the questioning of Ribadu, Ribadu's demotion and Magu's arrest, does not bode well for the Administration's commitment to fighting corruption. The thread that runs through all of them is former Delta Governor James Ibori, the target of major corruption and money laundering probes by the EFCC and British Metropolitan police. Ibori was believed by many to be the driving force behind Ribadu's removal from the EFCC and Waziri's appointment. Antony Goldman, independent energy consultant and former Economist Financial Intelligence Unit Africa Analyst, told Poloff a few weeks ago that, during a recent phone conversation, a cheerful Ibori commented that "Ribadu will be in jail before I ever will be." End Comment.
7) [ID:165408 Cable dated:2008-08-08T17:12:00]
C O N F I D E N T I A L ABUJA 001573
STATE FOR AF/W, INR/AA
LONDON POL - LORD, PARIS POL - KANEDA, USVIENNA FOR UNODC
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/04/2018
TAGS: PREL, PGOV, EFIN, KCOR, SNAR, NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: EFCC DEMARCHE DELIVERED TO ATTORNEY GENERAL AONDOAKAA AND SGF KINGIBE
REF: SECSTATE 84635
Classified By: A/DCM Walter Pflaumer for reasons 1.4. (b & d).
1. (C) Summary: In separate meetings August 7, CDA presented reftel demarche expressing our concerns about developments at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to Attorney General (AG) Michael Aondoakaa and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Baba Gana Kingibe. She left a nonpaper conveying the substance of the demarche with Kingibe. Both the AG and SGF attempted to push back against the strong messages conveyed in the demarche. Aondoakaa attempted to argue that there were legal reasons requiring the redeployments, and appealed for new Chairwoman Waziri to be given more time to prove she could show results. He argued that our views were informed by former Chairman Ribadu's inappropriate "badmouthing" of his own government in London and Washington. Kingibe argued that President Yar'Adua was serious about the fight against corruption, but was perhaps going about it in a way which tried the patience of Nigeria's foreign partners. He cautioned, however, that an approach based on "demands and demarches" was less likely to succeed with the President than one based on an attempt to find common ground and a conversational tone. End Summary.
2. (C) After CDA went through the demarche point by point, Aondoakaa launched into a lengthy, rambling response. He provided a long-winded defense of the deployments of EFCC staff, arguing that Ribadu had improperly stacked the Commission with people from Adamawa state and his own (Fulani) ethnic group. This, he said violated the "Federal Character" provisions of both the Nigerian Constitution and Federal Character Act, which require that all parts of the GON reflect the ethnic and regional diversity of the country as a whole. He claimed that Adamawa Fulanis amounted to 80% of those who had been reassigned. (Comment: we question this. Our contacts inside the EFCC agree Adamawa people were the plurality, but not a majority of those reassigned.
Certainly not 80%. The AG, however, claimed to have documentary evidence, which he will share. End comment.) He also claimed that former Chairman Nuhu Ribadu, his deputy Ibrahim Lamorde and the recently arrested Inspector Magu were all from the same village. (Comment: we challenge this.
Ribadu and Lamorde are both from Adamawa, but from towns 100 miles apart. Magu is a Kanuri from Borno state. End comment.)
3. (C) Aondoakaa also insisted that the reassignments were in line with standard police procedure, and in fact required by the Police Service Reform Act, which mandates reassigning officers every three years. By contrast, many of the officers at EFCC had been there for 5 years or more. He also argued that the recent demotion of Ribadu (among others) was not an attempt to treat him unfairly. He pointed out that Ribadu's earlier promotions had been contrary to Police regulations requiring at least three years between promotions. Ribadu, he claimed, had been promoted three times in one year. The AG added that Ribadu had been traveling around the UK and US badmouthing the GON in ways that no government would tolerate from one of its own staff.
He also claimed that Ribadu was planting stories favorable to himself in the Sahara Reporters website, and was even "bankrolling" the site.
4. (C) Responding to the Charge's expression of high level USG concern over Ribadu's treatment, Aondoakaa stressed that Ribadu was not/not under arrest, nor likely to be arrested. He flatly denied press reports that Ribadu would be required to leave the police training course he is attending at NIPSS.
5. (C) Turning to the performance of new EFCC Chair Waziri, the AG noted that she had only just arrived, and was trying to deal with the genuine problems created by Ribadu's tenure: not only the "federal character" and length of stay questions, but also the evidence of officers having done a poor job of building cases against alleged corrupt officials.
President Yar'Adua's commitment to rule of law also meant not going forward with cases that would not stand up in court, he stressed. Aondoakaa appealed for Waziri to be given more time to show results. He pointed out that Waziri had just proposed a new bill to the National Assembly, a "Civil Forfeiture Act," which would effectively remove the current immunity of serving governors, ministers and even the President, against being brought to court over corruption charges while in office. He also pointed to the August 6 arrest of Chief Bode George, former head of the Nigerian Ports Authority and a senior chieftain of the PDP. He insisted that none of the investigations of other corruption cases would be stopped or even significantly delayed by Waziri's shakeup.
6. (C) That said, the AG noted that, while 26 former governors were being investigated by the EFCC, it was likely that only four states (presumably Akwa Ibom, Delta, Rivers and Bayelsa) were guilty of the bulk of all the stealing by state governments. When asked if that meant that the case against former Delta Governor Ibori was going ahead, Aondoakaa did not answer, instead launching into a long account of how Ribadu had attempted to smear him by planting stories alleging that he had interfered with the money laundering case against Ibori in the UK. The AG claimed that it was Ribadu who had endangered the UK case by attempting to bypass the HMG-GON legal assistance treaty concerning the handling of evidence.
7. (C) Aondoakaa appealed repeatedly for the USG to give Waziri and the EFCC more time to prove themselves. "Just two more months" would be enough to show this was true, he said. He added that he would reiterate to her the importance of achieving progress on existing cases, and added that there was "momentum building" for the GON's anti-corruption effort.
8. (C) The CDA responded that this was not the impression created by both Waziri's moves at the EFCC, the lack of movement on high profile cases and other recent developments such as the appointment of David Edevbie, an Ibori crony and "person of interest" in the UK's investigation of Ibori (FYI: press reports claim Edevbie was instrumental in organizing Ibori's money laundering operations. End FYI), to a senior position on President Yar'Adua's staff. The AG first denied being aware of the appointment, then argued that Edevbie should be treated as innocent until proven guilty. Just because there were allegations against him in the press did not mean he was guilty. The CDA responded that the negative perception created by such an appointment was hard to reconcile with the President's desire to create momentum against corruption.
9. (C) CDA reviewed reftel demarche in detail with Kingibe, and left him a nonpaper drawn from it. The SGF argued that much of what we perceived as backtracking, was in fact just part of President Yar'Adua's commitment to rule of law and proper procedure. This was, in some ways, a "double-edged sword," he said, since it also meant that cases had to be prosecuted based on properly assembled evidence, and the accused rights such as the presumption of innocence and right to habeas corpus needed to be respected. He said the President was very "deliberative," but was committed to the strategic goals set forth in his reform agenda. He said Mrs. Waziri's actions were a result of the "mess" she had found when she took over the EFCC, when cases were being pushed ahead without concern for the fine points of legal procedure.
He noted that his own son worked at the EFCC, and had earned the nickname "Mr. Due Process" from his colleagues because (according to his father) he was trying to follow the rules while they were used to cutting corners.
10. (C) The CDA responded that, while we had heard Mrs. Waziri on all these points, and that the Ambassador has discussed USG concerns repeatedly with the President, it was nonetheless our judgment that, prior to Waziri's arrival, the previous team at EFCC had been making significant headway, both in terms of real prosecutions and the recovery of stolen money, among other things. The CDA also reiterated our concern about the effect on the EFCC's institutional capacity of the removal of so many experienced officers with whom webuilt up trust, whom we had trained with USG funds, and with whom we had established cooperative working relationships.
11. (C) Kingibe acknowledged these concerns, and that the impression they were leaving was having a negative impact on our assessment of the basic credibility of both the President's reform agenda and his whole government. He was also aware of the Department's conversation with the Nigerian Charge' about the treatment Ribadu and our concerns about the possibility that he might be arrested. He said he was not aware of any plans to arrest Ribadu.
12. (C) The SGF questioned, however, whether the right way to raise these issues was through "demands and demarches." He argued that a less adversarial and more conversational approach, like that which Ambassador Sanders had been pursuing heretofore, was more likely to succeed with the President. The CDA said we would convey this back to Washington, but stressed that the way the GON and EFCC had been functioning recently had created the perception that the GON was walking away from the fight against corruption. She reiterated our concerns over the impression created by the appointment of David Edevbie to a senior position on Yar'Adua's staff. Kingibe responded "I hear you," and said the GON would attempt to address our concerns, but reiterated his view that a less confrontational approach would be more likely to yield positive results.
Possible UK-U.S. Joint Approach
13. (C) In an August 8 meeting with CDA and A/DCM, UK High Commissioner Dewar said HMG was also in the process of rethinking its relations with the EFCC in the light of recent developments regarding corruption, including both Waziri's actions and the Edevbie appointment. He said the need for action on corruption, including the pursuit of high-profile cases, had been a major item for discussion during President Yar'Adua's recent visit to London. He asked if there was merit in considering a joint approach by the UK and U.S. and perhaps others (particularly the EU) to the President on this issue. CDA agreed to forward this suggestion to the Department.
14. (C) While this pushback from the AG and SGF was predictable, it is clear that the GON is aware of the seriousness of our concern. Kingibe in particular took note of the effect events were having on USG's evaluation of GON credibility. It is extremely rare for us to be able to get meetings with the likes of Aondoakaa and Kingibe on short notice. We have now also managed to arrange meetings with FonMin Maduekwe and EFCC Chair Waziri for August 8 (see septels). We will continue to deliver the message at every opportunity. End comment.
8) [ID:166860 Cable dated:2008-08-21T13:37:00]
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 ABUJA 001665
STATE FOR AF/W, INR/AA
DOE FOR GEORGE PERSON
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/21/2018
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, KCOR, KCRM, NI
SUBJECT: WAZIRI RESPONDS TO DEMARCHE ON GON BACKSLIDING
REF: A. ABUJA 1574
B. STATE 84635
C. ABUJA 1465
D. ABUJA 1356
E. ABUJA 1331
Classified By: Acting DCM Walter Pflaumer for reasons 1.4. (b & d).
1. (C) Summary. Embassy received a written response from Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairwoman Farida Waziri to Ref B demarche, which was delivered on August 8 (Ref A). Post found two of Waziri's claims particularly questionable: a professed ignorance of corrupt formern officials with considerable influence in the GON and the claim that only ten officers were redeployed. It is hard to believe Waziri (or any other GON official) could be unaware of the identity of corrupt former officials with influence in the current administration (such as former governors Ibori and Odili, to name but two); and we can disprove her claim of only ten redeployed officers, since we know of two specific officers included in the July 4 redeployment who are not on Waziri's list (although we note that the two we have specifically brought up with her previously do appear on her list). Waziri's letter may be more for Yar'Adua's consumption than ours, perhaps an attempt by some of those around him to suggest that we are over-reacting to what is happening at the EFCC, and that he should therefore push back. Alternatively, others think Yar'Adua is perfectly aware of what is happening to the Commission, and supports it, whatever line he may take with us. End Summary.
2. (C) The GON responded in record time to the demarche we presented on Friday, August 8 with a letter from EFCC Chairwoman Farida Waziri dated Monday, August 11 (though it did not reach us until August 18.) The letter, addressed to the Ambassador, alludes to the cooperative relationship between Waziri and the Ambassador and expresses "shock and surprise" at the August 8 demarche. Waziri specifically addresses the stated concerns that certain corrupt former officials continue to have considerable influence within the GON and that the July 4 reployments have significantly weakened institutional capacity. Full text of the letter is provided in Para 8.
WHAT FORMER CORRUPT OFFICIALS?
3. (C) In internal paragraph 6 of her letter, Waziri professes ignorance of the identity of corrupt former governors and other officials who retain considerable influence within the GON. She specifically asks the Embassy to provide her with "the facts of the nature of this influence and who, particularly ... ." We find this claim truly remarkable. It is not credible for Waziri to be ignorant of the influence of individuals such as former Delta Governor James Ibori, former Rivers Governor Peter Odili and others (as is regularly reported in Nigerian press), or to be unaware as Chairwoman of the EFCC of the numerous and serious charges of corruption against them. The CDA specifically mentioned the recent appointment of Ibori's former Commissioner of Finance, David Edevbie, as Principal Secretary to the President in her meetings with Secretary to the Federal Government Kingibe, Foreign Minister Maduekwe and Attorney General Aondoakaa while delivering the same demarche. We did not specifically mention Edevbie to Waziri, but given the press coverage on Edevbie, and that Waziri told us she had been briefed by AG Aondoakaa on our demarche to him, it is hard to believe she could be unaware of our concerns regarding the appointment, and the appearance of Ibori's influence in it.
DOWNPLAYING THE REDEPLOYMENT
4. (C) In internal paragraphs 8-12, Waziri responds to our assertion that the redeployments carried out on July 4 threaten the EFCC's insitutional integrity. In her response, she claims that only ten officers (other than Mobile Police who carry out physical security for the Commission) were redeployed and she supplies the names of those ten. Among
ABUJA 00001665 002 OF 004
the ten named are the two about whom we have specifically voiced concern previously -- Ibrahim Magu and Yahaya Bello. We recall, however, that, in her July 21 conversation with the Ambassador, Waziri did not dispute our assertion of 40-60redeployed, but merely maintained that these transfers were necessary due to leaks and incompetence (Ref. C).
5. (C) Multiple trusted sources within the EFCC have told Poloff the actual number of operational officers redeployed is in the range of 40-60 (Ref. E). In addition, post is aware of two officers (former Head of the Banking and Fraud Unit Muhammed Wakili and former Press Spokesman Osita Nwajah) who were redeployed on July 4 who do not appear on Waziri's list. Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx of the EFCC (we are withholding his name because he is still in service) toldPoloff on July 10 that both Wakili and Nwajah were redeployed to rural areas where they report to officers lower in rank.
COMMENT: PUTTING A SPIN ON THE USG DEMARCHE
6. (C) The August 8 demarche clearly got the attention of the GON, and we continue to believe Waziri and FonMin Maduekwe took our points very personally. On August 14, MFA Director for North and Central America Charles Onianwa (strictly protect) told Poloff that Maduekwe is considering asking for an apology, claiming he was not aware of USG concerns about the EFCC. The Ambassador has, of course, repeatedly expressed to Maduekwe the concerns of both the USG and the international community over Waziri's appointment and the July 4 redeployments, including quite specifically in their July 11 meeting (Ref D).
7. (C) Yar'Adua's own role in all this remains unclear. Waziri's letter may be the outward reflection of an attempt by those around the President (including Aondoakaa and Maduekwe) to "spin" our demarche internally, and convince Yar'Adua that we simply have our facts wrong, and that he should push back. Others believe the President is not nearly so out of touch as he is sometimes portrayed, knows what is happening at the EFCC (and supports it), is reasonably aware of how his close relations with the likes of Ibori and Edevbie are perceived, but has nonetheless decided that they are the people he wants around him. Either way, Waziri comes off as a minor tool. End comment.
8. (SBU) BEGIN TEXT OF LETTER.
August 11, 2008
Embassy of the United States
1075 Diplomatic Drive
Central Business District
RE: SUPPORT TO THE ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL CRIMES COMMISSION, EFCC
You would please recall your recent visits to my office wherein we exchanged ideas on how to enhance and strengthen our on-going cooperation in the fight against economic crime.
2. On both occasions, you pledged the continuous support of your government and embassy to the activities of the EFCC.
3. On my part, I assured you that the work of the Commission would be re-invigorated, joint operations in on-going cases stepped up and that Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) who have abused their offices would be brought to justice within the principle of the Rule of Law.
4. I was therefore not only shocked and surprised but felt personally embarrassed when I received an unsigned and undated document from your official, Cheryl Fernandes, First
ABUJA 00001665 003 OF 004
Secretary of the Economic Section of your Embassy in Abuja, on Friday, August 08, 2008, raising concerns which are not borne out of facts.
5. Within less than two months of my assumption of office as Chairman of the EFCC, at least five (5) high profile cases involving Politically Exposed Person (PEPs) have been charged to Court and this included two (2) former Ministers, two (2) former Governors and a former Chairman of a first class parastatal. All these cases are on-going in the courts. It is therefore surprising for the US Embassy to allege that "other than one recent arrest, we have not seen any progress on EFCC prosecutions of over a dozen former Governors and senior officials, some of whom seem to retain sizeable Government of Nigeria influences."
6. I do not know the nature of progress on the prosecution of EFCC cases expected by the Embassy and the cases for which insufficient evidence has been pleaded and by whom. I do not also know of those former Governors and senior officials who "retain sizeable Government of Nigeria influences." Because this information is available to the Embassy, I will appreciate the facts of the nature of this influence and on who, particularly as it affects the work of the EFCC.
7. The document went so far as to question the integrity and credibility of the Government of Nigeria ostensibly on the alleged sizeable influence of the former Governors, on the Government of Nigeria. To say the least, this is indeed regrettable and runs contrary to the on-going talks between the two countries to enhance their existing cooperation in several matters.
8. The document also alleges massive redeployment of staff of the Commission, leaving "a shell of inexperienced replacements at best in most areas, wasting considerable United States Government and international training, threatening the EFCC's institutional integrity, and jeopardizing cooperation efforts." This is perhaps one allegation that is not only grossly unfounded but rooted in what seems fixated opinion of the Embassy which has of recent become common place.
9. In the first place, there has been no "massive redeployment of staff of the Commission." The Commission has up till now redeployed 10 officers back to the Nigeria Police Force one of who is a transport officer. These officers are:
1. MAGU, Ibrahim (CSP)
2. CIROMA, Bala (CSP)
3. MOHAMMED, Bunu (CSP)
4. ATfEH, Seidu K. (SP)
5. CHEMMY, Panda (SP)
6. EMEKA, Nwonyi (SP)
7. DANJUMA, Mohammed (DSP)
8. MADAKI, Abubakar (DSP)
9. MOHAMMED, Yerima (DSP)
10. BELLO, Yahaya (DSP)
10. Out of the above number, those who have benefited from any kind of training sponsored by the US Embassy are:
1. MAGU, Ibrahim (CSP)
2. ATTEH, Seidu K. (SP)
3. DANJUMA, Mohammed (DSP)
4. MOHAMMED, Bunu (CSP)
5. CHEMMY, Panda (SP)
11. All the other officers are still in the EFCC, performing investigative duties. The only other redeployments which are considerable in number are men of the Mobile Police Force whose duties are only confined to providing physical security during operations and providing further general security to the Commission. These are not investigators and have not received any training from the US Embassy.
12. It is therefore not correct to say that the Commission is now made up of "inexperienced officers." I would appreciate information on the cases that suffered on account of inexperience of investigators. Even if the allegations were to be true, how does redeployment of staff affect an
ABUJA 00001665 004 OF 004
"institution's integrity?" On the other hand, is it now contended that the redeployed officers are so indispensable to the EFCC that the anti-corruption fight would be shut down in their absence? These insinuations are so unfair to the Commission.
13. I, indeed feel greatly worried that internal matters of management of the Commission are now increasingly unnecessarily occupying the attention of the Embassy and have unjustifiably been used as arguments to review relationship with the Commission or provide her (it) with technical assistance. I want to assure that whatever changes that have been effected are for the good and sustainable building of the Commission. The present leadership of the EFCC remains positively focused to attain its core objectives.
14. While the US government reserves the right to decide on who to support and cooperate with, we would appreciate it if the Embassy does not use the bait of the changes in the EFCC as a basis of its relationship with Nigeria.
15. Please accept the assurances of my high regards and esteem.
CHIEF (MRS.) FARIDA WAZIRI, AIG (RTD)
END TEXT OF LETTER.
9) [ID:170240 Cable dated:2008-09-17T16:04:00]
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ABUJA 001870
STATE FOR AF/W, INR/AA
DOE FOR GEORGE PERSON
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/16/2018
TAGS: PGOV, PINR, PREL, EFIN, KCROR, KCRM, MARR, MASS, NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: BILATERAL RELATIONS POST-EFCC DEMARCHE
REF: A. ABUJA 1595
B. STATE 84635
Classified By: Ambassador Robin R. Sanders for reasons 1.4. (b & d).
1. (C) SUMMARY: On September 14 and September 15 respectively, Ambassador met with Foreign Minister Ojo Maduekwe and newly appointed Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Mahmud Yayale Ahmed. Both Maduekwe and Ahmed expressed their comments and concerns about our bilateral relations in the aftermath of the USG demarche on the EFCC on August 11 (reftel A), saying that the GON thought the USG approach was condescending, insulting, and counterproductive. Each also added that the USG should give EFCC Chairwoman Waziri a chance to prove herself. Ambassador conveyed the need for the EFCC to show real results, and emphasized the importance of President Yar'Adua meeting with SecState during UNGA. Both conversations ended with a renewed recognition of the need for continued dialogue in the face of challenges to the U.S./Nigeria partnership. END
Meeting with Foreign Minister Maduekwe
2. (C) The Ambassador met with Nigerian Foreign Minister Ojo Maduekwe on evening of September 14 at his residence. During their two-hour meeting the FonMin discussed the state of U.S.-Nigerian relations and provided both his own comments and what he said was the sentiment inside the Villa on recent USG demarche on the EFCC. The Ambassador took the opportunity to note that she and the UK High Commissioner would seek the opportunity to come in together to discuss the Niger Delta and a joint paper on the issue. The Ambassador also left a non-paper with him, after highlighting the key points. A somber FonMin said that we needed to work together to try to get the goodwill in our bilateral relationship back on track after the recent ref A demarche on the EFCC. He added that what ruffled the feathers in the Presidential Villa was not so much our policy issue and position, which we have the right to maintain as a government, but rather the manner, tone, and unfriendly way in which his government felt that the demarche was carried out. He said that the non-paper left behind had been circulated within the Government and even the President was surprised by the tone of the demarche. The Ambassador responded that, with the recent changes and redeployments, the EFCC had turned out to be a disappointment, and that our concerns were meant to demonstrate our strong interest in getting the institution and leadership to do the right things to move on high profile cases.
3. (C) Maduekwe also said he had high hopes that the U.S. and Nigeria had reached a more "adult level" in our bilateral relationship, but the tone and wording of the demarche "challenged not only Nigeria's dignity," but put Nigeria on the level of a "banana republic." The FonMin told the Ambassador he was being frank and honest with her as a colleague and a friend, but noted that his government was concerned about the turn of events, and that the "UK had handled the actions on this far better than the U.S. had, making the same points and discussing the same high profile cases." He added that EFCC Chairwoman Waziri had just returned from London on September 11, where although a strong concern over the EFCC's progress was expressed, the UK offered constructive suggestions on the way forward regarding the same EFCC cases and issues, and "the door was left open to dialogue to give EFCC Chairwoman Waziri a chance to prove herself by moving forward on some of the big pending cases."
The FonMin went on to contrast the UK's approach with the USG's, where Nigeria was faced with threats and the discontinuation of training. The Ambassador replied that the EFCC must prove that it can deliver before any door can be reopened. Maduekwe noted that this was unfortunate as there is a current sentiment that Nigeria does not want U.S. training under the current circumstances, and added that Nigeria had worked very closely with the U.S. recently on key issues such as Zimbabwe, and despite a lot of private accolades and thanks, nothing was said publicly by the US to
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recognize Nigeria's efforts. Ambassador responded that we had recognized Nigeria's partnership with the U.S. on Zimbabwe, particularly highlighting a SecState press briefing.
4. (C) The Ambassador then noted that the best way to move forward and to further discussions on this and other bilateral issues would be to ensure that President Yar'Adua and SecState meet during the upcoming UNGA, further noting that that we were still waiting for the GON's response to the proposed time for a September 27 meeting. Maduekwe said that the President's plans originally were to return to Nigeria on September 26, but also, in light of how the GON was feeling about the EFCC issue, he questioned if this is the right time for a bilateral between the two. The Ambassador stated that not meeting would not be productive and emphasized that certainly this would be the wrong way to go as it was key to maintain dialogue on this issue not only with him as Foreign Minister, but certainly with the President, so that as partners we can ensure that the international reputation of the EFCC is restored by concluding and prosecuting the pending high profile cases. She added that we are still friends and partners and that a high level dialogue at this time would be fruitful. The FonMin considered this and said that he would work to get the President to add a day to his UNGA travel plans so that he can meet with SecState.
Meeting with SGF Ahmed
5. (C) In a subsequent September 15 meeting with Mahmud Yayale Ahmed, new SGF and the former Defense Minister, the Ambassador began the initial courtesy call by congratulating him on his new appointment, noting that she looked forward to continuing the same positive working relationship she had with him at the Ministry of Defense. She also took the opportunity to present to him the joint U.S.-UK paper on the Niger Delta, noting that it tracked with what she had previously given him in July in offering USG support, if requested, for Niger Delta-related issues. Ahmed was extremely friendly and also welcomed the continued positive and open dialogue as enjoyed before. He then said he wanted to have a private meeting to talk through some the recent issues, most notably the EFCC. Ahmed said our EFCC demarche points (ref A) had certainly made the rounds within the GON, and then went into what he viewed as a bit of background, the state of play in the government regarding the President's health, and how we needed to work through some of the GON's concerns about the tone of our position on the EFCC. To begin, Ahmed said that his government understood the international community's concern about the EFCC, their respect for Ribadu, and their desire for Nigeria to succeed in its fight against corruption. The SGF added that he agreed with the USG that the Ribadu issue had been handled badly in terms of how he was relieved of his job, and certainly as the former Head of the Civil Service, he strongly disagreed with any attempt to demote him. That being said, despite several warnings by Yar'Adua over the course of many months to tone down his "grandstanding", he refused to respect President Yar'Adua's wishes and in the end lost his position because of it. Ahmed added that what the GON wants now is for the international community in general, and the United States in particular, to give the EFCC Chairwoman a chance to prove herself and do her job. The new SGF said that Nigeria was willing to work with the U.S. on this issue, but there was a manner to go about doing this that was not reflected in the tone and "unfriendly" points in the ref A demarche. "We Nigerians," Ahmed emphasized, "are very proud and can be very stubborn if we feel that our dignity and respect has been challenged."
6. (C) In response, the Ambassador underscored that the USG believed that without such strong terms our seriousness on this issue would not have been heeded. Ahmed noted he understood our seriousness, but there was a way in which to go about working with friends. He also added that we should not underestimate President Yar'Adua because, despite his quiet demeanor, he can be quite tough when he believes that he has been insulted or disrespected. The Ambassador stated that this was not the USG's intention, but emphasized that we
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did want to see action and closure on the big pending cases like ex-Delta Governor Ibori. She then asked why the President would associate himself with someone under suspicion, such as Ibori, noting that we understand that he has access to the Villa. In our system, she added, there is a distance put between anyone under suspicion of breaking any laws and senior USG officials. Ahmed said that the USG should not confuse Yar'Adua's commitment to the rule of law with his granting of access to Ibori. He said that there is a Nigerian context and a Nigerian reality that anyone in Yar'Adua's position has to manage. The President has decided it was better to give Ibori managed access than none at all.
The Ambassador noted that all this created uneasiness for us and that we would continue to keep our distance from the EFCC until we saw progress. Ahmed said he thought this was the wrong approach as the only way to move forward was via dialogue, and that included giving Mrs. Waziri a chance.
Ambassador and Ahmed ended the meeting by agreeing to continue their conversation on this issue. Ahmed also noted that Yar'Adua had asked him to take over a lot of the day-to-day Executive responsibilities due to his health, and the new SGF said he would like to come to the U.S. in October so that he could meet directly with senior USG officials in his new capacity as SGF. The Ambassador said she would passon that message.
10) [ID:178565 Cable dated:2008-11-17T06:12:00]
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 002248
STATE FOR AF/W, INL/C, INL/AAE, AND INR
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/11/2018
TAGS: PGOV, KCOR, KCRM, NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: EFCC CHAIR WAZIRI REVEALS SERIOUS LIMITATIONS
Classified By: Ambassador Robin R. Sanders for reasons 1.4. (b & d).
1. (C) SUMMARY: The Ambassador spoke to EFCC Chair Farida Waziri by phone on November 10 to discuss ongoing EFCC anti-corruption efforts and deliver USG benchmarks for cooperation. The conversation revealed little substantive detail on EFCC efforts, and instead revealed much more about the serious limitations placed on Waziri and the EFCC by Attorney General Michael Aondoakaa. In one of the most telling moments of the conversation, Waziri asked the Ambassador to call the Attorney General and put pressure on him to cooperate with the U.K. on the current case against former Governor Ibori. Waziri maintained Aondoakaa has assumed complete control of the Ibori case and other "politically sensitive" cases. The Ambassador reiterated to Waziri the seriousness with which we continue to watch the EFCC and will use its performance as a benchmark to judge Nigeria's commitment to battle corruption. END SUMMARY.
IT'S NOT MY FAULT - THE BLAME GAME
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2. (C) In her phone conversation with the Ambassador on November 10 (PolOff listened in as notetaker), Waziri was quick to boast of EFCC's most recent accomplishments, which included involvement with UNODC's "Anti-Corruption Revolution" conference on December 9-10 and a PriceWaterhouseCooper structural management consultation for the EFCC's Lagos office. However, when asked about more substantive EFCC issues, like the lack of progress on corruption cases against 31 former governors, Waziri was quick to note the absence of sufficient information in the case files as the reason for lack of progress. She also blamed the press for sensationalized reporting and misquoting her, blamed her investigators for not having enough evidence, and blamed the Appeals Court Judges for not granting trials. Waziri admitted that she is currently hiring SANs (Senior Advocates of Nigeria) to act as prosecutors because the EFCC prosecution cases are so weak.
FORMER GOV IBORI - THE LITMUS TEST
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3. (C) When asked about the status of cooperation with the U.K. on the money laundering case against former Delta Governor James Ibori, Waziri admitted that GON Attorney General Michael Aondoakaa has taken complete control of the case and other high-profile cases that are "politically sensitive." She also explained that unlike in the past when the EFCC cooperated directly with the U.K. Metropolitan Police, any "cooperation on a case with a foreign government has to have the official seal of approval in the form of the Attorney General's signature on the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty." (Comment: Aondoakaa appears to be stalling the process of sharing documentary evidence, presumably as a result of his strong political and financial ties to former Delta State Governor Ibori. End Comment.)
4. (C) In one of the most revealing moments of the conversation, Waziri asked the Ambassador for her help tomove the Ibori case forward, pleading for her to call Aondoakaa and "remind him that the world is watching." The Ambassador responded that the USG will be watching Aondoakaa, particularly his actions up to and during the January 2009 trial, as a benchmark to determine the level of future USG anticorruption cooperation with the GON. The Ambassador added that any funds for the EFCC would be based on an evaluation of this cooperation, but that we were reviewing possibilities only for the rank and file; there would be no training for senior level EFCC offices. The Ambassador also told Waziri that she could not commit to anything at this time, especially until U.S. budgetary levels are determined, which would likely not happen until well into 2009.
WE WILL NOT ARREST RIBADU
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
5. (C) Waziri informed the Ambassador that she did not yet get a reply from former EFCC Chairman Nuhu Ribadu regarding her request for a November 14 meeting with him. She also promised the Ambassador that the purpose of the meeting is not to arrest or interrogate Ribadu, but rather to meet collegially to discuss the cases files of the 31 former
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governors -- files she continued to say had weak evidentiary information for prosecution. Waziri added that she did not believe the recent press reports of an assassination plot against Ribadu. On the contrary, she predicted that no harm will come to Ribadu because "he is so widely loved and respected in Nigeria." (Note: In a later conversation the Ambassador had with Ribadu at her residence on November 10, (reported septel), Ribadu was adamant that these same case files were strongly documented. End Note.)
6. (C) COMMENT: Waziri's revelation that Aondoakaa is controlling the Ibori case as well as other politically sensitive cases explains much of Waziri's recent defensive posturing. So far, both the media and public have focused all the attention and blame on her; however, we believe from multiple sources that Attorney General Aondoakaa is the larger culprit on top of his everyday thuggery and illicit enrichment. It was Aondoakaa's bile for Ribadu that was assumed to be behind his removal from the EFCC. Aonoakaa also has shown his penchant for delaying tactics on Ibori's case in the U.K. even during Ribadu's tenure. Ribadu, however, in contrast with Waziri, publicly challenged Aondoakaa on his delaying tactics in the Ibori investigation.
Both we and our U.K. counterparts will continue to drive home the message that we consider the Ibori case as a litmus test of GON commitment to the fight against corruption, and also push for concrete action on other high-profile corruption cases.
7. (U) This cable coordinated with Consulate Lagos.
11) [ID:185676 Cable dated:2009-01-05T10:06:00]
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ABUJA 000009
STATE FOR AF/W, INL/C, INL/AAE, AND INR
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/13/2017
TAGS: PGOV, KCOR, KCRM, NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: EFCC DONORS FATIGUED, BUT DONOR BENEFICIARIES HOPEFUL
REF: ABUJA 2391
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Lisa Piascik for reasons 1.4. (b & d).
1. (C) SUMMARY: During the week of December 15-19, representatives from the British High Commission as well as the Netherlands and German embassies--all Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) major donors--shared with PolOff their increased skepticism of Nigeria's anti-corruption efforts, with particular attention to EFCC Chair Farida Waziri. Private conversations with the British High Commission specifically revealed that the U.K. is also sharing its skepticism and impatience with other members of the European Commission's (EC) donor group in Nigeria. As the largest contributor and most vocal EC member state and donor in Nigeria, the U.K. is pressing other member states to demand results from Waziri and hinting at "rethinking" its EFCC funding. However, representatives from the EC, as well as its implementing partners United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the World Bank expressed to PolOff a more hopeful outlook and are encouraging the donors and others in the international community to have the same optimism.
UK's Patience Wearing Thin
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2. (C) The British High Commission's anti-corruption officer (Political Officer) Louise Cox told PolOff on December 15 that the U.K. is "growing tired of EFCC Waziri's inability to secure meaningful convictions since her tenure as Chair of the organization." While no formal change in policy toward the EFCC has occurred, Cox admitted that the British High Commission is "beginning to more vocally convey itsdissatisfaction and frustration with the EFCC in its meetings with other European diplomats at the European Commission in Nigeria; hinting that it will rethink additional funding for the EC for EFCC programs." Cox also expressed her government's "disappointment" with Nigeria Attorney General Michael Aondoakaa's obstructionist behavior as it relates specifically to former Delta State Governor James Ibori's corruption case in the U.K. and confirmed that its Home Affairs Ministry would be appealing the decision. With regard to the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), Cox told PolOff that NFIU's new director Norman Wokoma was "shocked and completely surprised by his new appointment."
(Note: Wokoma appears to have been equally keen on trying to convince the Brits that his experience, rather than political angling, got him the job, which we doubt, see reftel. End Note.)
Nigeria Not Going Dutch as Promised
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3. (C) PolOff also met with the Embassy of the Netherlands' Second Secretary Ronald M.J. Sonnemans, who expressed that both "his embassy and those at home are becoming increasingly discouraged with Waziri's leadership and inability to convict corrupt officials." Sonnemans divulged that Netherlands Ambassador to Nigeria Arie van der Wiel is particularly disappointed that "the EFCC has only spent 30% of its budget for its 2007 Dutch and Swiss funded private-public partnership project, which was supposed to increase investigations and prosecutions of corruption in the private sector, but has not gone anywhere since the EFCC lost complete interest in the project."
4. (C) Sonnemans also positively responded to PolOff's overview of the USG's Presidential Proclomation 7750 Initiative (PP7750) which denies or revokes visas for foreign corrupt officials and their dependents. He later called to express the Dutch Ambassador's interest in sharing it with colleagues in the Hague and adopting a similar policy. (Note: If the Dutch were to adopt a similar 7750-type
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policy, it could be effective as many Nigerians get their connecting flights in Amsterdam.)
Germany Unimpressed with Waziri and Impressed with EFCC
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5. (C) German Embassy Deputy Head of Mission Matthias Veltin told PolOff on December 18 that his government is "aware of Waziri's ineffectiveness" as the EFCC Chair, but saw this more "the result of the EFCC taking on more work than it has the capacity to handle." He also commented that "the EFCC needs more than one Waziri or one Ribadu" to take on the entire anti-corruption mandate of the country and pick up where Ribadu left off," and suggested that "the EFCC should narrow its focus to "Economic and Financial Crimes."
However, Veltin emphasized that Germany has had excellent cooperation on the operational level, specifically between Germany's regional Police Liaison (headquartered in Accra, Ghana) and EFCC investigators when it came to "transborder" issues. (Note: He also said Germany enjoys good cooperation with Nigeria's National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), and National Agency for Food and Drug Administration (NAFDAC), but not with the Nigerian Police, an institution he described as "terrible and completely corrupt." End Note.)
EC Hopeful, but Recognizes Downturn in National Psyche
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6. (C) Locally employed EC Program Officer for Good Governance Priscilla Ankut suggested to PolOff on December 18 that "the general feeling among EC staff is that Waziri's negative public image is tied to unrealistic expectations that exceeded capacity" and that she "will need time to increase the level of EFCC's effectiveness and acquire public support." Ankut told PolOff that the EFCC has received $25 million through the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
(UNODC) for institutional support and is considering additional funding.
UNODC: All We are Asking is "Give Waziri a Chance"
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7. (C) UNODC Representative Dagmar Thomas and Senior Project Coordinator Oliver Stolpe defended EFCC Chair Farida Waziri and the EFCC's work when they met with PolOff and Louise Cox on December 18. (Note: PolOff invited U.K. Political Officer Louise Cox to accompany him to the meeting to convey to the UNODC that the U.S. and U.K. share similar concerns about Nigeria's lack of progress on anti-corruption. End Note.) Thomas and Stolpe blamed Nigeria's weak legal framework and inept judiciary for the lack of solid convictions. While they agreed that the number of reported convictions over the last five years was unimpressive, Thomas and Stolpe professed that "Madame needs more time and is trying; and that next year's annual report on the number of convictions will be the most telling indication of Waziri's efforts." Thomas and Stolpe also concluded that "until Ribadu's press coverage subsides, Waziri deserves to be given a chance to get herself out of Ribadu's shadow and prove her commitment to fighting corruption."
8. (C) Like their EC counterparts, Thomas and Stolpe asserted that "former EFCC Chair Nuhu Ribadu took on a much larger and public role in combating corruption than perhaps was originally intended." Stolpe argued that such publicity effectively forced Nigeria's judiciary to expedite corruption cases, lest they also be accused of corruption and as a result, created impossible expectations for Waziri to meet within the first few months of becoming EFCC's new Chair."
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particularly with the UNODC on its money laundering database project (GOML)."
World Bank: Numbers, not Feelings, Will Determine Success
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9. (C) World Bank Lead Economist Volker Treichel declared to PolOff on December 19 that he is "agnostic" with regard to the EFCC, and that "we should not use the mood of the country to determine its success or failure, but rather a quantitative analysis of achieving institutional and operational goals." He continued that "likewise, any popular disregard for Waziri should not be factored into the evaluation of actual EFCC progress." To date, claimed Treichel, the EFCC has made a positive impression in Bayelsa State with its World Bank funded Civil Service Reform project, particularly in the area of participatory budget processes. He also suggested that the EFCC has been inadequate in publicizing such efforts. Treichel admitted, however, that "the EFCC's corruption cases are nothing compared to administering the $800 billion petroleum subsidy, which completely lacks any kind of transparency."
10. (C) COMMENT: The international donor community almost unanimously agreed that the negative publicity surrounding the actions of EFCC and its leadership within the last three months has negatively affected public opinion and in significant measure also contributed to donor fatigue. The U.K. and Netherlands are clearly the most pessimistic, while the Germans have a mixed impression, separating Waziri's poor leadership from those on the operational level with whom they have a good working relationship. While the UNODC, EC, and to some extent the World Bank, are clearly hopeful that within a year Waziri and the EFCC will make marked progress, it is more likely that such optimism may instead reflect these international organizations' need to defend the success of their projects rather than their actual faith in the EFCC.
Ultimately, the EFCC will be judged on its ability to secure meaningful convictions and create strong deterrents to corruption. To date, the numbers do not indicate any success story. End Comment.
11. (U) This cable was coordinated with U.S. Consulate Lagos.
12) [ID:197256 Cable dated:2009-03-17T11:55:00]
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 000458
DEPT FOR AF/W, INR/AA
BAGHDAD FOR DMCCULLOUGH
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/16/2019
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: FOREIGN MINISTER SETS UP SURPRISE ENCOUNTER WITH EFCC CHAIRWOMAN
REF: A. 08 SECSTATE 084635
B. 08 ABUJA 1573
C. 08 ABUJA 1574
D. 08 ABUJA 1595
Classified By: Ambassador Robin R. Sanders for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)
1. (C) Foreign Minister Maduekwe called the Ambassador late Saturday March 14 to ask her to lunch on March 15 to discuss AMISOM following his most recent talks with President Yar'Adua on the issue, as well as to discuss his upcoming trip to Washington to meet with SecState and attend other private meetings. Ambassador arrived, was greeted in the normal fashion, and walked in the parlor to find another person sitting in the corner in the room. The Fonmin then announced that he had someone with whom he wanted the Ambassador to talk, and thought (at the last minute, he claimed) he would take advantage of the March 15 lunch to arrange that discussion. Once the dark glasses were off, the visitor was revealed to be Farida Waziri, Chairwoman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
2. (C) The Ambassador immediately said she was under instructions not to have any contact with Mrs. Waziri until such time as the USG saw progress on issues which we had discussed with the GON on several occasions, and that if the Minister had arranged the lunch for her to talk with Mrs. Waziri, the Ambassador could not stay. Maduekwe, a little stunned, said he understood there was a big impasse between our two nations over the EFCC, but did not interpret this as a direct instruction from Washington. The Ambassador said it was. The FonMin then added that both he and the GON were frustrated by the lack of even a dialogue on the EFCC, adding that he wanted to push the issue to find some resolution to the impasse, or at least open the door for discussion on the issue, prior to his meeting with SecState. The Ambassador, responded that blind-siding her was not the way to proceed, particularly since she was sure the FonMin knew that, if he had told her Mrs. Waziri was to be at the lunch, the Ambassador would not have come. The Ambassador stressed that she was not happy with this "little play," and would not be staying for the lunch. She added that she would be sharing what had happened with the Department, and was not sure of their reaction, particularly coming on the eve of the Minister's Washington trip .
3. (C) The FonMin said he understood, and took full responsibility for what he had done. He stressed that he thought it was in the best interest of both our countries to push the envelope, and was willing to take the full blame for being a "rascal." He reiterated that his goal in doing this was for the USG-GON relationship to get pass the impasse over the EFCC. He added that his desire was not to put the Ambassador in an uncomfortable position, but that he wanted to find some way to move the discussion forward, as most of the senior GON leadership was still smarting from the August 2008 USG demarche on the EFCC (reftels). He then said he would ask Mrs. Waziri not to stay for lunch, as he wanted the Ambassador to remain to discuss the key issues of AMISOM and his forthcoming meeting with SecState, the original intention he had stated for the lunch. He asked the Ambassador to forgive him, as his only intention was to find a way out of the impasse as he did not want this thorn in the side of the USG-GON relationship to remain as he started his own relationship with the new Secretary of State. He added that, even if we disagreed as nations, we should at least be able to have a dialogue on the issue, which currently is not the case as far as the GON is concerned. At least the British Metropolitan Police continue to meet with Waziri on the Ibori case as well as other operational issue, he concluded.
4. (C) The Ambassador turned to Mrs. Waziri, saying she hoped the USG position was clear to her, but reiterated: that there would be no meetings with her; that she would not be received by USG officials if she visited the U.S., though she certainly was not barred from traveling to the U.S. for personal reasons (she does hold a valid U.S. visa); and, that
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constantly seeking a meeting with, or inviting the Ambassador to her events, only put the Ambassador in the position of being rude in not being able to respond. The Ambassador noted that she had explained all this to the Chairwoman in their last phone conversation in November, 2008. She added that the reasons for the non-interaction remained the same: that the USG wanted to see progress on cases like that of ex-Delta Governor Ibori and others; that there was no confidence that Waziri had any political independence, and indeed that we thought she was being manipulated by Ibori and others (read Attorney General Aondoakaa); and, that there was still a fair amount of consternation over the redeployment of previously USG trained EFCC officials. The Ambassador said she also understood how the USG position affected our operational working relationship as she has heard this from her own Mission elements. With this, she allowed Mrs. Waziri to say a few words before her departure.
5. (C) The EFCC chairwoman and FonMin both thanked the Ambassador for being so direct, and claimed that there was a lot of misperception on the USG side. Waziri stated that she did not know Ibori before taking up her post, only met him coming out of the Villa, and that the USG-trained EFCC redeployed employees were not that many. To her knowledge, she said the number of USG-trained employees who had been redeployed was only 8-10, at least according to the EFCC's records, adding that most of them had been moved because they were not doing their jobs. Ambassador interjected that our impression was a much larger number than this, but in the end the numbers were not as important as the principle, noting that there was no desire on the USG's side to provide more money for training if trainees were later redeployed. On prosecutions, Waziri said that, despite the USG desire for more progress on the cases of the ex-governors, there was not much she can do if the evidence was not in the case files.
6. (C) Ambassador threw out our view on this is that perhaps the files had been tampered with and evidence removed, thus causing the problem she outlined. Waziri responded that she was sorry the U.S. considered her not competent to do her job, and thought she was involved in file tampering, something she insisted she would not do. Waziri said she was worried about how we could cooperate in other areas, such as with NDLEA, since it was under EFCC laws that drug traffickers were arrested, and she was concerned about how our operational relationship was going to work under these conditions. She stated that she wanted to continue to be helpful in such areas, but if she could not interact with senior USG officials, she could not understand how things were going to work for both nations.
7. (C) The Ambassador admitted there were some operational challenges that had been outlined by her staff, and the USG was engaged in internal discussions on some modalities. She noted in particular the issue of the DEA-vetted units and NDLEA and her awareness of their need to use EFCC laws on money laundering in order to be effective, given that Nigeria has no anti-drug trafficking law. The Ambassador closed out the discussion by saying she expected not to hear about this encounter in any other quarter in Nigeria (i.e., in the press). Maduekwe then asked his wife to escort Mrs. Waziri out, and the Ambassador and FonMin then proceed to have their one-on-one lunch on AMISOM and other issues (SEPTEL).
13) [ID:217348 Cable dated:2009-07-20T14:39:00]
C O N F I D E N T I A L ABUJA 001308
DEPT FOR AF/W, INR
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/26/2019
TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PINR, KDEM, NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: U.S.-UK COORDINATION MEETING
REF: HC-Amb joint demarche in April, 2009, to Minister of the Niger Delta
Classified By: Ambassador Robin Renee Sanders for reasons 1.4(b) and (d)
1. (C) Summary. On July 17, 2009, the Ambassador and an interagency team (DOD, USAID, RAO, POL, PD) met with their UK counterparts, led by Charge d'Affaires Peter West to discuss opportunities for increased U.S.-UK cooperation. The working group identified four primary areas of shared interest: electoral reform and democracy (good governance), military cooperation, the Niger Delta, and anti-corruption. While the U.S. and UK are already working closely on several development projects in Nigeria, the discussion led to additional areas of potential cooperation which are highlighted below. The U.S. Mission highlighted some of the analysis it has done state-by-state and on our concern about the lack of movement on electoral reform, which could lead to a repeat of poor elections in 2011. The Charge said they still need to do more internal discussion, but in principal the UK agreed with the USG view on these issues. End summary.
2. (C) On electoral reform, the U.S. and UK political and development messages are very much in sync and aimed at deepening democracy in Nigeria. Going forward, both sides discussed the importance of when it would be useful or propitious to be more public about concerns over the 2011 elections. At this stage, however, discussions on electoral reform at the UK Mission are internal where the USG in Washington and in the field have begun to note the importance we place on election reform as part of good governance. The UK side said they have not lobbied London to take a more critical public stance, partly because they did not assess that London is ready to do so, noting that there is little parliamentary interest in Nigeria.
The U.S. team suggested Anambra's 2010 election as a good starting point for monitoring collaboration as it is a likely precursor to the 2011 elections. The Brits said they would inform London about the USG suggestion on Anambra as a way to show our joint concern on electoral reform. This could also nudge their capital to start reviewing its Nigeria election posture. They also signaled their preference to involve the larger international community, such as the EU, in our discussion on electoral reform. On the development side, the U.S. and UK are already working very closely on civil society, National Assembly, and political party strengthening, and would continue to collaborate on training and capacity building in these key areas.
3. (C) The U.S. and UK delegations identified several areas for increased military cooperation. These include IT and infrastructure support for Regional Maritime Awareness Capability (RMAC) centers, with the possibility of installing an additional RMAC system in Calabar; training and technical assistance for the state-of-the-art, UK-constructed Maritime Training Center in Lagos; technical support for a joint geographic center in Abuja to help the Nigerian military with hydrographic and geospatial mapping; data sharing and other collaboration in a UK-proposed operations center (equivalent to a U.S. fusion center); collaborating on Afican Contingency Operations Training and Assistance (ACOTA), Joint Combined Exercise Training (JCET), and Counterterrorism (CT) training; and providing complementary support to the ECOWAS stand-by force. The Ambassador also asked the DOD team whether a British sailor would be on board the Africa Partnership Station (APS) ship scheduled to visit Lagos in the coming months.
4. (C) On the Niger Delta, both sides agreed to continue sending like-minded messages on the need for a comprehensive framework to resolve the legitimate political and development needs of the region,and to expand on the already strong development partnership. Both sides identified areas to increase collaboration on health issues HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment, and in other development areas such as youth empowerment and conflict resolution. The UK has also been asked by the GON to provide assistance on amnesty, specifically DDR programs, in light of recent events, and asked if the U.S. was also engaged with the GON on this issue. The USG side said that while the USG was not working directly with the GON on amnesty issues, as we had concerns whether it would work outside of an overall political framework to address the legitimate grievances in the region. The USG team asked whether we should consider suggesting to the GON to reconsider its hard-line stance on "no outsiders" and consider a "best practices" strategy from other international efforts to develop a broader political framework aimedat addressing amnesty, DDR, and development issues impacting the Niger Delta. The UK team agreed that this would be an effective collaborative approach, and we both said we would send this suggestion back to our capitals.
5. (C) The anti-corruption discussion immediately turned to issues surrounding the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), where the UK, unlike the U.S., has been working with theM anti-corruption body at the working level and permitting its first secretary to met with Chairperson Farida Waziri. While joint projects with the EFCC are not likely at this stage, both sides saw opportunities to work together on strengthening the courts. The teams also agreed to collaborate on drug-related issues through the Nigerian Drug and Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), with which the U.S. already has a positive working relationship and the UK recently signed an MOU. The UK group then raised the issue of visa sanctions, saying the U.S. could greatly assist by preventing certain corrupt officials from entering the U.S. that have already been barred from entering the UK. While not explicitly stated, it was clear that the UK team was referring to one case in particular, that involving former Delta State Governor James Ibori and his associates. The Charge said that the British Metropolitan Police (MET) already have arrest warrants for Ibori and 7-10 of his associates to include other politicians and government officials (Note: in an earlier engagement, Charge West told the Ambassador that Yar'Adua Principal Secretary David Edevbie is listed in the arrest warrant. End note). The Ambassador said MET Police would need to collaborate directly with FBI HQ on the law enforcement aspects of this case if we were to begin a discussion on visa sanctions for those 7-10 individuals.
6. (C) Comment. The UK High Commission was clearly appreciative of the opportunity to dialogue and identify areas of further cooperation, but admitted they had more homework to do on what their steps would be to address their concerns on electoral reform. They expressed their readiness to share our ideas with London. We also were surprised that they did not push us for greater cooperation on nabbing James Ibori whose arrest has become somewhat of an obsession in the High Commission. We know from previous interactions with our UK colleagues that they do share our analytical views on electoral reform and other issues, but it was apparent that they wanted to talk more internally and make suggestions to London on this issue.
7. (C) All that being said, we consider this first working meeting critical for strengthening our bilateral cooperation on the ground on these four thematic issues. British Charge d'Affaires West seemed eager to hold another follow-up meeting at the High Commission and we agreed to hold these quarterly. We expect that we will have an even fuller discussion in the next meeting as we approach the 2011 election, now due in 22 months. End comment.
14) [ID:226876 Cable dated:2009-09-24T19:18:00]
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 001769
DEPT FOR AF/FO, AF/W, INR/AA, INL/AAE
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/31/2017
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, KCRM, NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: AMBASSADOR MEETS PRIVATELY WITH EFCC CHAIRPERSON WAZIRI
Classified By: Ambassador Robin Renee Sanders for reasons
in Sections 1.4. (B) and (D)
1. (C) The Ambassador met with Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairperson Farida Waziri September 24 at the residence to open a new dialogue on the USG's desire for the EFCC to improve its efforts on Nigeria's anti-corruption fight and reiterate U.S. expectations that the EFCC begin to hone a better record of investigations, prosecutions, and convictions. The Ambassador reinforced the Secretary's message during her August 2009 visit that the GON has fallen short in its commitment to fight corruption and that there has been a "reversal" of performance in this area. Waziri expressed gratitude for the opportunity to have a dialogue and agreed to reinvigorate cooperation on anti-corruption.
Ambassador stressed that there was no change in U.S. policy toward the EFCC at this time but a willingness to dialogue to push for more improvement on corruption.
2. (C) Waziri told the Ambassador that she was "so very pleased" to open a dialogue with the Ambassador, albeit during this informal session. Using the current case against former Delta State Governor James Ibori in the UK as an example, she emphasized that a monumental effort would be needed to cooperate internationally on anti-corruption efforts, as corruption in one country affected the well-being of other countries. When asked about the status of the case against former Delta State Governor James Ibori, Waziri asserted that she asked the London Metropolitan Police, via Nigerian Justice Minister and Attorney General (AG) Michael Aondoakaa, to deliver Ibori accomplice Udoamaka Onuigbo (currently on trial in the UK) to Nigeria where she could be included in the case against him. While she signed an agreement to keep her in custody throughout the trial, she said the UK did not want the EFCC to take custody, but rather the Nigerian courts. She claimed that, even after explaining that the courts would likely still release her on bail, the UK refused. As a result, Waziri explained, Ibori's defense attorneys have accused the EFCC of messing up the process, and the Nigerian court refused to be responsible for custody of the defendant as they said this was not their role.
3. (C) On other high-profile cases, Waziri claimed she was doing her best, but could not wage the fight alone. She explained that she had assembled many strong cases against many ex-governors, only to end up with court delays caused by appeals by defense attorneys who insisted on trying them in their clients' Nigerian states of residence, as is the case with Ibori. (His case will be tried in Asaba, the capital of his home state, Delta State.) She said defendants had not even entered pleas in many cases, including in the Ibori case. Waziri also blamed EFCC bureaucracy, which she described as containing too many outside law enforcement agencies with differing levels of discipline that ultimately diluted EFCC effectiveness. She told the Ambassador that she has been working hard for EFCC autonomy, so that all EFCC Qhas been working hard for EFCC autonomy, so that all EFCC staff belonged to and received training from the EFCC. Waziri described her ties with the AG as a "working relationship" within the prescribed legal framework for AG-EFCC cooperation.
4. (C) Waziri told the Ambassador that U.S. support would mean a lot to the EFCC and represent a major step forward in bilateral cooperation to fight corruption. The Ambassadorrestated and strongly cautioned that this informal meeting should not be misconstrued as official support for her or the EFCC, reminding her that the U.S. expected to see results and a marked change in EFCC performance. However, given that anti-corruption is a key U.S. policy goal for Nigeria and that any Binational Commission between our two countries would focus on and include this issue, having a means to dialogue was important.
5. (C) Waziri conveyed much the same rhetoric she has in the past meetings, assuring us of her commitment to fighting
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corruption, while placing most blame on others for lack of progress. We will continue to monitor EFCC results, as we attempt to build a more constructive relationship and move toward the eventual Binational Commission Working Group that will likely focus on improving Nigeria's abysmal record on corruption. END COMMENT.