Against the backdrop of the appointment of one of the key actors alleged to be involved in the $20m Nigeria Port Authority bribery scam as chairman of a committee constituted to intervene in the management of a federal maritime academy, the Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission not to allow the case to be swept under the carpet.
The anti corruption group urged the EFCC to move quickly and take immediate action against those involved, as a Swiss firm, Dredging International Services, said to be at the center of the dredging bribery scam is on the verge of receiving a fresh contract from the Nigerian Ports Authority.
CSNAC in a statement by its Chairman, Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju, asked the anti-graft agency to speed up efforts in its investigation of the $20m in bribes allegedly given to former NPA officials by the firm.
According to Suraju, the slow action of the EFCC is capable of compromising the anti-corruption war which is the cornerstone of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
He added, “For an administration that prides itself in fighting corruption, leaving a case this bad and inconclusive, and allowing investigations to drag on forever, goes against everything this administration has been preaching since its inception.
“The EFCC must ensure that investigations reach a logical end and those found guilty are made to face the full wrath of the law.
“The bribery scam involved Dredging International Services, a Swiss company in Cyprus, but while the company has been found guilty in Switzerland and fined one million Swiss Francs since 2012, the EFCC investigation is still pending and the culprits continue to walk free.”
Business and Maritime West Africa reported that the management of the NPA confirmed writing the Office of the Attorney General for legal advice on the legitimacy of continued interaction with the firm in the new dredging contract announced by the NPA.
The CSNAC chairman questioned the rationale for the legal advice when the company had already been convicted in Switzerland since 2012.
Suraju added, “Nigeria sanctioned Halliburton and Siemens in the past for their roles in bribery cases and prevented them from participating in contract implementation. 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.
“The action runs contrary to the anti-corruption mantra of this government and is capable of sending the wrong signal of endorsing bribery to the international community.”