Just as the Goodluck Jonathan administration is facing mounting scrutiny at home over an illegal payment of N155 billion to cronies and associates of government officials on a presidential order, the United States of America has delivered a stringent critique of the government’s anti-graft effort.
In its year 2011 report on global human rights released Thursday by the State Department, the U.S. said the three tiers of the Nigerian government was ridden with “massive, widespread and pervasive corruption,” that failed to receive appropriate punitive response from the authorities.
“The law provides criminal penalties for official corruption; however, the government did not implement the law effectively, and officials frequently engaged in corrupt practices with impunity,” the report, submitted by Secretary of States, Hillary Clinton, to the U.S. Congress said.
“Massive, widespread, and pervasive corruption affected all levels of government and the security forces,” it continued.
The report, an X-ray of human rights abuses ranging from extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrest and detention, free press abuses, to cases of graft worldwide, comes as the Jonathan administration is being linked to a scandalous funneling of public funds to shady associates of officials, amid multiple cases of official corruption in the fuel subsidy and pension funds unearthed by the National Assembly.
In details published by this website, partly based on court papers from the US state of New York and PREMIUM TIMES’ investigation of the deal, Mr. Jonathan allegedly authorized the illegal transfer of N155 billion to a former petroleum minister, Dan Etete, convicted of money laundering.
The elaborate corruption scheme, also involving two government ministers, those for Justice and Finance (minister of state) – Mohammed Adoke and Yerima Ngama, triggered multiple disbursement of the money into several account held by figures linked to government officials.
Since the stories broke out this week, government officials have maintained a defeaning silence, refusing to explain their roles in the scandal.
The disclosures came as the government faced growing calls from opposition, rights group, and the media for the prosecution of officials indicted in the fuel subsidy fraud involving more than N2 trillion.