A coalition of Nigerian civil society organizations, the Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to speed up efforts to investigate the $20 million bribery scam that has former officials of the Nigerian Ports Authority, (NPA) at its center.
Speaking in Abuja on Wednesday afternoon, CSNAC Chairman Olanrewaju Suraju maintained that the scandal was proving an embarrassment to the anti-corruption stance of the current administration.
“For an administration that prides itself on fighting corruption, leaving a case this high unconcluded and allowing investigations to drag on forever goes against everything this administration has been preaching since its inception,” Mr. Suraju said. “The EFCC must ensure that investigations reach a logical end and those found guilty are made to face the full wrath of the law.”
Speaking further, he observed, “The bribery scam involved Dredging International Services, a Swiss company in Cyprus, but while the company has been found guilty in Switzerland and fined 1 million Swiss Francs since 2012, the EFCC investigation is still pending and the culprits continue to walk free.”
According to report in Punch Newspaper published on October 17, 2017, the management of Nigerian Ports Authority confirmed writing the Office of the Attorney General for legal advice on the legitimacy of the continued interaction with Dredging International Services in the new dredging contract announced by the NPA.
CSNAC queries the rationale for the legal advice if not a search for an indicted firm after Switzerland has completed its own investigations and prosecuted the culprits since 2012. Explaining further, the CSNAC chairman revealed that the indicted company is still bidding for contracts while their bribery scam remains unconcluded.
Nigeria, in the past, sanctioned Halliburton and Siemens for their indictment in bribery cases and prevented them from participating in contract implementation.
CSNAC said it is curious how the NPA is framing excuses for purported involvement of the indicted company in the bidding process for the new dredging contract. According to the coalition, the NPA’s behavior runs contrary to the anti-corruption mantra of the Buhari government and is capable of sending the wrong signal of endorsing bribery to the international community.
The CSNAC chairman concluded his statement by demanding that the Nigerian government disqualify Dredging International Services and sanction the company from participating in future contracts in Nigeria. He called on the EFCC to hasten investigations and prosecution of all those connected with the crime.