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15 Corruption Case Files Missing, 103 Others Stuck In Malami’s Office

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images 2020 09 28T143153.704 15 Corruption Case Files Missing, 103 Others Stuck In Malami’s Office

A Nigerian rights group claimed that some 15 corruption case files are missing in the office of Justice Minister, Abubakar Malami and that 103 other high profile cases are yet to receive his attention, three years after the EFCC referred them to him.
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has therefore sent an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari requesting him to instruct Malami to take immediate steps about the cases.
The organization said: “The high-profile corruption cases include 103 cases reportedly sent by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC] in 2017, and the 15 allegedly missing case files sent by the now defunct Special Presidential Investigation Panel on the Recovery of Public Property, [SPIP] in 2019 to Mr Malami.”
In the letter dated 26 September, 2020 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said: “The authorities’ failure to diligently and expeditiously prosecute high profile corruption cases amounts to a fundamental breach of constitutional and international obligations. Continuing failure to prosecute these cases may create the perception of a deliberate effort to protect those considered to be very influential and powerful.”
According to the organization: “The fact that these cases have been pending for several years suggests that your government has not carried out its public, constitutional and international obligations, including the obligations to show that no one is above the law as far as the fight against corruption is concerned.”
The organization said: “Public interest demands that high-profile corruption cases are concluded within a reasonable time so that those guilty are punished and the innocent are set free.
“The rule of law and the preservation of democracy also require that the authorities duly proceed in accordance with the law against every high-profile person suspected of grand corruption, irrespective of where he/she is placed in the political hierarchy.”
The letter, copied to Mr Malami, read in part: “SERAP is seriously concerned about the apparent inertia by the authorities to diligently and expeditiously prosecute high-profile corruption cases.
“While many of these cases have been dragging before your assumption of office in May 2015, several of the cases have not satisfactorily progressed, contrary to Nigerians’ expectations
“Speedily, diligently, effectively and fairly prosecuting high-profile corruption cases would demonstrate your government’s commitment to enhance probity in public life and willingness to enforce accountability in public life. The basic postulate of the concept of equality: ‘Be you ever so high, the law is above you’, should be your government’s approach to high profile corruption cases.”
“Our requests are brought in the public interest, and in keeping with the requirements of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended] particularly section 15[5], and Nigeria’s international obligations, including under the UN Convention against Corruption and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption, as well as the rule of law.”
“We hope that the aspects highlighted will help guide your actions in acting to ensure the diligent, expeditious and effective prosecution of longstanding high-profile corruption cases, including the 103 cases and the allegedly missing 15 case files of high-profile corruption suspects.”
“We would be grateful if your government begins to implement the recommended action and measures within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter.”
“If we have not heard from you by then as to the steps being taken in this direction, the Registered Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel your government to pursue prosecution of these longstanding high-profile corruption cases to their logical conclusion, and to regularly report to Nigerians on the progress of prosecution.”

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Why We Oppose Okonjo – Iweala’s Election As WTO DG – US

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images 2020 10 29T191931.329 Why We Oppose Okonjo - Iweala’s Election As WTO DG - US

The United States has explained why it is against the election of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the next director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
In a statement issued by the office of the US trade representative on Wednesday, the world power said the WTO is in dire need of reform and must be “led by someone with real, hands-on experience in the field”.
“The United States supports the selection of Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee as the next WTO Director-General,” the USTR, led by Robert Lighthizer (pictured above), said.
“Minister Yoo is a bona fide trade expert who has distinguished herself during a 25-year career as a successful trade negotiator and trade policy maker. She has all the skills necessary to be an effective leader of the organization.
“This is a very difficult time for the WTO and international trade. There have been no multilateral tariff negotiations in 25 years, the dispute settlement system has gotten out of control, and too few members fulfill basic transparency obligations.
“The WTO is badly in need of major reform. It must be led by someone with real, hands-on experience in the field.”
OKONJO-IWEALA: I’M A TRADE EXPERT
The argument against Okonjo-Iweala has always been that she has no direct trade experience. But while addressing the WTO in July, the former minister of finance in Nigeria refuted the claim.
“I am a development economist and you cannot do that without looking at trade. Trade is a central part of development. So, I have been doing it. My whole career at the World Bank, I was working on trade policy reform in middle and low-income countries at the bank,” she said.
“As finance minister, the customs service in my country reported to me. And that is all about trade facilitation. I helped my country’s negotiation with my trade minister on the ECOWAS common external tariffs. I don’t know how much more trade you can have than that.
“So those who say I don’t have trade, they are mistaken. I think the qualities I have are even better, because I combine development economics with trade knowledge, along with finance, and you need those combination of skills to lead the WTO. I think I have the skills that are needed. I am a trade person.”
On Wednesday, Okonjo-Iweala had won the popular vote to become the next DG and had the nod of the three ambassadors saddled with the responsibility of picking the next leader of the trade body.
But at a WTO delegates meeting to discuss the appointment, the US expressed opposition to her election — the US was the only country opposing her election.
Keith Rockwell, the spokesman of the WTO, said just one member country did not support Okonjo-Iweala.
“All of the delegations that expressed their views today expressed very strong support for the outcome, except for one,” he said.
The WTO reconvenes on November 9, 2020 after the US election to decide who becomes the next DG.

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NNPC : Nigerian Refineries Damaged Beyond Turnaround Maintenance

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images 2020 10 29T185910.284 NNPC : Nigerian Refineries Damaged Beyond Turnaround Maintenance

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) yesterday attributed the prolonged neglect of overhauling the refineries in the country to the delay in making them functional.
It declared the refineries as damaged beyond the usual Turnaround Maintenance (TAM).
However, to revamp them, the national oil is embarking upon total rehabilitation of the plants, which despite currently being non-functional, gulp about N10 billion monthly in payment of salaries and other in-built costs.
Speaking yesterday on the third day of the virtual Oil Trading and Logistics (OTL) Africa Downstream Expo 2020, on the theme “ Petroleum Refining Trends and Outlook for Tomorrow’s Energy Supply,” the Managing Director of the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (KRPC), Mr. Ezekiel Osarolube, stated that the corporation had begun the rehabilitation of all the facilities.
He explained that there is now a private/public arrangement in the revamping of the refineries, adding that getting them back on stream remains a priority for the NNPC.
“The first phase of this project is to raise capacity and second phase is to upgrade and modernise to meet current trends; so, we need time to get there.
“There’s a difference between turnaround maintenance and what we are doing now. The traditional TAM, which the whole world knows is usually statutory, which is done two to three years, is to open and clean the system.
“But because of the long neglect, we have gone beyond that level of turnaround. What we are talking about now is comprehensive rehabilitation, which will involve replacing very obsolete equipment that can bring the plants back to optimum performance,” he stated.
According to him, the journey to make the plants resume production is ongoing, adding that the corporation has a roadmap, which it is following religiously to ensure all the slippages are rectified.
“These steps are going on in Warri, Kaduna and Port Harcourt and we have a roadmap we follow religiously.
“Every month, we have a stakeholders’ meeting to review where we are and if there is any slippages and how to recover because top management is focused on this project as the number one project of NNPC.
“We are dealing with people who are good in the business and they also want to recoup their money. All the fears will be taken care of and everyone will be proud of the NNPC,” he stated.
On his part, the Executive Secretary of the African Refiners and Distributors Association (ARA), a pan-African organisation for the African downstream oil sector, Mr. Anibor Kragha, noted that while the NNPC was on the right path, it should, however, focus on combining rehabilitation and upgrade to cleaner fuel specs to sell across Africa since there’s a huge market for it.
“We are going to have a population explosion in the next two decades and we are going to need an increased amount of energy to meet their demands.
“Renewables are going to grow during that period. Notwithstanding what happens, we are going to need a lot of crude oil but we need to focus on cleaner fuels. That’s why we are calling for Africa specific fuels by 2030,” he said.
He called for less emphasis on brown fuels and more on the green, noting that technologies for this should be made a priority, while the pursuit of gas as an alternative fuel should be encouraged.
Also in his intervention, Chairman, PEJAD, Nigeria, Mr. Anthony Ogbuigwe, said to make progress towards the attainment of cleaner fuel supplies, Sub-Saharan Africa must reduce the sulphur content of the fuels it consumes.
“The biggest refineries are in Egypt, but none of them meet the clean fuels specifications, but a number of them are carrying out revamping projects to improve the specification,” he said.

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WTO : FG Moves To Counter US Position On Okonjo – Iweala

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images 2020 10 29T185601.058 WTO : FG Moves To Counter US Position On Okonjo - Iweala

As the world awaits the outcome of the final consensus decision on the next World Trade Organisation, WTO, there are indications that Nigerian government may have started diplomatic actions to head-off opposition from the United States of America, USA, against the emergence of Nigeria’s Okonjo-Iweala for the job.
A source at the Ministry of Trade and Investment told Vanguard yesterday that the government was taking steps to prevent USA’s opposition from snowballing into adverse swing in the support base for Nigeria’s nominee.
Earlier, Okonjo-Iweala had received endorsement from the majority of the voting members of the WTO giving her a clear lead over the contending candidate, South Korea’s trade minister, Mrs Yoo Myung-hee.
But sources close to the WTO as well as western media outlets have indicated yesterday that the USA was drumming support in favour of Myung-hee, while advancing reasons why Okonjo-Iweala should not get the job.
When contacted by Vanguard yesterday, a top trade ministry source said, “the Ministry was aware of USA’s position long before now and we are not folding our hands”.
He also added, “we are confident that most of the countries that have expressed support would not back out under pressure from USA.”
He declined to give details of what the government was doing to ensure the support of the majority of the WTO Council members.
Okonjo-Iweala emerged winner of the highly competitive race, polling 104 endorsements out of 164 member countries at the final stage of the race earlier this week.
The process of picking WTO’s DG/ Chief Executive is based on consensus building where the voting members are expected to adopt any candidate that commands acceptance of the majority of the voting members.
However, where such consensus was not achieved, the Council members will resort to outright voting with the highest number of votes deciding who gets the job.
The endorsements, which still needs full WTO approval caps a more than four-month selection process involving intensive lobbying.
However, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative, Dennis Shea, said during a meeting of WTO delegates in Geneva yesterday, that his country would not support a consensus decision to appoint Okonjo-Iweala.
All WTO decisions are taken by a consensus of its 164 members, which means the U.S. move will act as a veto that disrupts the process.
The recommendation of Okonjo-Iweala was made by three WTO ambassadors, the so-called “troika”, after consulting with members in a series of closed-door meetings in Geneva as part of an intricate and opaque process that some have compared to a papal succession.
A WTO official said the organisation would continue to push for a consensus ahead of meeting of its General Council tentatively set for November 7, but a decision should be taken before that date whether by consensus or voting.

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