Sunday, 2 March 2014
Subsidy Probe Committee And The Alleged Bribery Scandal: The Vicious Circle Of Corruption?! Bamidele Aturu Esq
The allegation that a member or some members of the House of Representatives Committee that investigated and exposed the fraud in the downstream sector of the oil industry took bribe from an oil magnate or marketer is part of the ever unfolding and nauseating story of the pervasive grip of corruption among Nigeria’s thieving elite.
While, we cannot as yet afford to jump to any conclusion as to whether there is any substance in the allegation, we can warn that the allegation must never under any guise be used as a basis to jettison the Report of the Committee which has been adopted by the House. That will not be acceptable and it will confirm the fear in some quarters that the allegation itself, since we are being told it emanated from a sting operation, might have been orchestrated (not necessarily concocted) to discredit the report. Sting operations are always to be treated with utmost caution even by courts of law as there may be other less than noble agenda behind them. The EFCC and all the other law enforcement agencies should continue with their investigation and speedily conclude same with a view to prosecuting whoever must have been fraudulently collecting subsidies from our national treasury.
The allegation even when proven in my view does not nullify the resolution of the whole House endorsing the Report. The fact that a member or two of a Committee compromised themselves is not sufficient to discredit the Report of the whole House. But having made this point, the members of the Farouk Committee should also be invited by the EFCC and thoroughly grilled so that any of them who misconducted himself or herself can be thoroughly dealt with according to law and if it is not true that it was a sting operation the offer of the bribe should know by now that he or she has booked a ticket to the prison. It is now getting worrisome that each time we probe a scandal another scandal emerges. What a shame!