Monday, November 26, 2007

For over a year, Siemens AG, the venerated German conglomerate, has been the subject of many intertwined investigations in various parts of Western Europe and America. The tactics used by this company to obtain contracts came into question when it was discovered that the company had a multi-million dollar "slush fund" of almost $256 million. The resulting scrutiny has led to various arrests in Europe, a case against a Siemens 'conspirator' in America, and apparently, a probe by Nigeria's ICPC into handsome bribes totaling 10 million Euros that were allegedly paid to high ranking Nigerians in order to obtain lucrative government contracts.

Siemens Logo
Siemens was found guilty of paying out bribes in a Munich court last week. German authorities then released the names of foreign individuals that were involved in fraudulent activities. These individuals have been indicted by the Munich court and will eventually have to make themselves available for questioning. On the list were a dew Nigerians including Bello Muhammed Haliru, Tajudeen Olanrewaju and Senator Jubril Aminu. Most of the alleged fraudsters have denied any involvement with any Siemens corruption.

Let me start off by congratulating Yardy for taking an unequivocal stand on the potential Siemens-Nigeria corruption connection. Yardy "ordered" the ICPC to investigate the allegations and take decisive action. In a released statement, he stressed,

"in this Siemens scandal, as in all cases that border on good governance and transparency, there will neither be sacred cows nor a cover up for anybody found culpable of breaching the law".
It looks like someone sent Yardy the memo! Unlike in the Etteh scandal where he, rightly or wrongly, called for due process and the rule of law to resolve the situation, here, he came out against corruption and demanded that the necessary authorities carry out their duties. ICPC has gone on to begin its investigation and has invited the indicted Nigerians to appear before the Commission.

But what does this brewing scandal say about the state of affairs in Nigeria? I believe it says something incredibly positive - Nigerians are beginning to attack corruption. It is refreshing that we have scandals of this nature at all - Nigeria is a country where incredible things have been swept under the carpet. That a Speaker of the House of representatives would resign in scandal and then, that various former Ministers, a Senator and other well-connected Nigerians are being paraded in the local and foreign press for illegal activity, heralds a new day in Nigeria. I like to think that as long as the nation continues to trudge towards the creation of stronger democratic institutions and the enforcement of current laws, Nigeria and its citizens will have a concrete opportunity to transform the nation. That is as long as a few people, those that benefit from the current system, do not succeed in jeopardizing the ongoing transformation.

This scandal also has some relevant international implications. For years, Nigeria has consistently been listed as a corrupt nation without taking into account the various international organizations and institutions that either contribute or cause the system of corruption Nigeria faces. The fact that Siemens and its top executives are suffering serious consequences for their corrupt practices spotlights the complicity of foreigners in the dirty deed. This scandal will hopefully deter wealthy institutions from contributing to the many schemes that are created to lace the pockets of crooked officials.

But, back to Nigeria, I wonder if ICPC will be able to handle the workload it will surely acquire. In fact, ICPC has just received "fresh facts" from German authorities that further implicate the indicted Nigerians. Things will continue to get interesting. And in case you were wondering what is happening with Etteh - she has been summoned by ICPC to answer questions about the N628 million contract that led to her shameful resignation. We will all be watching ICPC very closely. It has a lot of work ahead...

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Chxta said...

I couldn't help but nod when reading this post. But again I must stress caution in making our moves. Ever heard of Max Robespierre?

myabubakar said...

Max who? never heard of the guy and i can bet he is not from naija.
Any way am happy about this siemens case and the other from france where one Dan Etete, one time Abacha minister, has a case to answer on money laundering. More of similar cases will definitely augur well for the nation and stop these crooks from stealing our money.
i wish this govt well and pray God will continue to give them the courage to continue...

Anonymous said...

After so many years of dashed hopes and pretentious governance, Nigerians in general, and this writer in particular, have lost confidence in Nigeria's rulers. My own attitude to the president's recent enthusiasim in the fight against corruption is to sidon look.

TheAfroBeat said...

From article on the scandal:
The Nigerian Telecommunication Limited (NITEL), yesterday, said its staff indicted in the Siemens bribe scandals left its service between 2004 and 2005.
A source at the Corporate Headquarters of company: "How are we even sure that the Mohammed was a NITEL staff?" he queried.

"Anyway, this is new NITEL, under a new owner, bent on doing business on International Best Practice. There can never be room for such characters in the new NITEL," he said.


guerreiranigeriana said...

*pulls up a chair with a glass of sangria alongside david* sidon look...*silently prays and vows to make sacrifices to the orixas and do the 'dance' so that nigeria will continue on its path of improvement*...

Kiibaati said...

"...We shall overcome some day!..."

MeeGo said...

Didn't knew about corruption and Siemens in Nigeria. Thanx for sharing info.

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