Posted by News Express | 26 January 2014 | 4,671 times
A frontline Nigerian anti-graft coalition has kicked against the recent election of the country’s Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, as Alternate President of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and demanded her immediate removal from the position.
In a letter to OPEC Secretary-General dated December 20, 2013, the Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) claimed that Alison-Madueke is unfit for the exalted office as she “is unfit and undeserving of that international position and should not be allowed to pollute the integrity OPEC in her position as the alternate president of OPEC” since “too many questions have remained unanswered and monumental corruption has shrouded every office she ever held till date.”
The letter, a copy of which is in the possession of News Express, was signed by CSNAC Programmes Manager Adeola Abodurin and reads as follows:
“DEMAND FOR THE REMOVAL OF MS. ALISON MADUEKE AS ALTERNATE PRESIDENT OF OPEC
“Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) is a coalition of over hundred and fifty Anti Corruption organizations whose primary aim is to constructively combat corruption vigorously and to ensure the effective monitoring of the various Anti-graft agencies in its activities in the fight against corruption and to enthrone transparency, accountability, probity, and total commitment in the fight to eradicate corruption in Nigeria.
“Reports by various newspapers on December 9th, 2013 relayed the emergence of current Nigerian Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison Madueke, as the Alternate President of OPEC in outcomes of an election conducted at the 164th meeting of the OPEC conference in Vienna, Austria on December 4, 2013.
“This information elicited mixed reaction from well-meaning Nigerians. Naturally, providing opportunities for Nigerians to showcase their talent and prowess at international fora is greeted with enthusiasm by the populace. And the performances of Nigerians at the regional and international platform is a clear testimony of inherent but untapped capacity to deliver with competitive excellence. In this particular case of Mrs. Madueke, based on her performance and reputation in the Nigerian Petroleum Industry, it is feared that her occupation of higher position of influence might not only be detrimental to Nigeria’s image but injurious to overall OPEC operations and reputation. Nigerians still leave with the stigma of cash-for-vote international scandal that trailed the membership of Dr. Amos Adamu as FIFA executive.
“Mrs. Diezani Alison Madueke has served in different capacities as an appointed public office holder in Nigeria. She became in July 26, 2007 the Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation, later moved to Mines and Steel Development in 2008 to serve in the same capacity and in April 2010, was appointed Minister of Petroleum Resources.
“From the outset of her appointment as a minister in 2007, she has reveled in several controversies bothering on integrity, transparency and accountability. Mrs. Madueke deceived her employers when she backdated her year of graduation from Howard University from 1992 to 1987 to connote she had required work experience in order to gain employment with Shell. She equally misled the Senate and the Nation during her ministerial appointment with the same forgery. It was a fraudulent representation, a criminal offence punishable by law. An NNPC official said at the time of her appointment that, “What she has done is perjury. It is criminal and punishable by law and such a person is not fit to hold public office”. Mrs. Madueke has successfully used her closeness to the President and corridors of power to evade prosecution based on this crime.
“As much as we are glad that a Nigerian Minister got elected to such esteemed position, we are not comfortable with Mrs. Diezani Alison Madueke as such occupant. Too many questions have remained unanswered and monumental corruption has shrouded every office she ever held till date. Some of her unresolved allegations trailing her discharge of duties since becoming a minister in 2007 includes:
“1. 247ureport.com reported that as a Minister of Transportation, she paid N30.9billion to contractors to rehabilitate the deplorable Benin-Shagamu expressway between 26 and 31 December of year 2007 and the road has remained in the same deplorable state till date.
“2. It was also published on SaharaReporters of August 31, 2012 that the Senate, in October 2009, probed the questionable spending of N300 billion in the transport sector; Alison-Madueke was the only serving minister among five former ministers of state and four permanent secretaries indicted and recommended for prosecution. Vanguard newspapers reported she allegedly transferred N1.2 billion into the private account of a toll company without due process and in breach of concession agreement.
“3. As the minister of mines and steel development, PremiumTimesng reported that through investigations carried out by the defunct NEXT newspaper, her under-arm dealings with a US-based jeweller, Chris Aire, who out of the blues subverted due process to register and gain approval for his two briefcase companies to lift Nigeria’s sweet crude was brought to lime light.
“4. A more serious allegation in 2010 was the KPMG report on the “process and forensic review” of NNPC which opened a Pandora’s Box of stunning verdict on every aspect of the oil industry. The report provided ample insight into the endemic corruption in Nigeria’s petroleum process. From unauthorized violation of OPEC oil quota for Nigeria, to outright falsification of the exchange rates used for defraying government oil revenue, to barefaced exploitation of the subsidy regime, the report is clear and unequivocal in its observations and conclusions. It not only highlighted how rotten the industry is but it also clearly indicted officials and departments found to be involved in monumental corruption.
“Although names were not mentioned in the report, a detailed analysis of the document by PremiumTimesng, published on their website on February 01, 2012, threw up at least 20 government officials and businesspersons who have questions to answer as far as the audit was concerned. Most of the corrupt practices identified by the audit festered even under Ms. Madueke’s leadership of the petroleum resources ministry. The question posed to her which remained unanswered is the allegation that she ordered the Petroleum Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) to shake down marketers shortly before the 2011 general election, to purportedly raise funds for the president’s campaign.
“5. Vanguard newspaper on August 02, 2012 related the story that an alleged contract scam to the tune of N1.1 billion involving the supply of a Dive Support Sea-Going Vessel was uncovered at the Federal Government owned Petroleum Training Institute, PTI, Effurun in Delta State, under Ms. Madueke.
“Vanguard gathered that the Federal Government awarded a contract of N1,117,330,873. 31 inclusive of VAT to a Lagos-based company in 2009 to supply the vessel in six months, but three and a half years after the contract was supposed to have been executed, none has been supplied, whereas the entire contract sum of N1.1 billion had been fully paid to the contractor. Till date, there has been no evidence to show that the Dive Support Sea-Going Vessel is supplied as contracted.
“6. On August 19, 2013, SaharaReporters published the petition written to Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by Crusader for Good Governance, demanding the investigation of Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke for squandering millions of dollars of public funds to rent private jets for the conduct of her official activities. In the petition, the group demanded that Ms. Allison-Madueke be investigated for her habitual extravagant spending of huge sums to rent private jets for her official and private trips.
“The Petition, signed by the Okechukwu Obiora Nnamdi, detailed that she has spent some N2 billion on private jet rentals. It was alleged that Ms. Allison-Madueke not only uses private jets for trips outside the country, she also constantly use helicopters whenever in Lagos, the minister relies on Caverton, a Lagos-based helicopter rental company, to provide choppers that ferry her as well as her family around Lagos.
“The aforementioned are tips of the iceberg in the minister’s breach of trust and violation of operational principles which have been brought to limelight; and this is not to mention of those which have been deeply buried with all evidences concealed or destroyed.
“Therefore, with her abysmal performance in different offices at the national level, Ms. Diezani Alison Madueke is unfit and undeserving of that international position and should not be allowed to pollute the integrity OPEC in her position as the alternate president of OPEC. The Nigerian roads were in the same state she met them, as at the time of redeployment as Transport Minister. With her stint at Mines and Steels Development Ministry, Mines and Steels development witnessed no remarkable development whatsoever under her. And presently, the Petroleum Resources Ministry is swathed and immersed in enormous corruption; stories involving fraud across different agencies of the ministry is the everyday news. Yet, nothing concrete has been done to mitigate these fraudulent activities. Several local and international reports indicted the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation as the most “Opaque” oil parasail in the world.
“At several times, Nigerians have called for the removal or resignation of Ms. Madueke, if indeed a person of honour but all cries have fallen on deaf ears. Our President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan is perceived to have a soft spot for the lady and a few others with penchant for corruption. It is clear nothing can happen to her under this dispensation.
“We understand that under the current regime, justice is not been appropriated in our country but we have a resolute belief in the ability of the international community to ensure sanity and sanctity in actions and operations at that level. Allowing Ms. Madueke to function in such position will only broaden her circle of perpetual corruption and lack of transparency. Hence, we are demanding that Ms. Diezani Alison Madueke be removed immediately as alternate president of OPEC before she causes Nigeria another monumental embarrassment which will indelibly leave our tails behind our legs. Like another close friend of the President, Dr. Amos Adamu, did as an executive of FIFA. In the alternative, OPEC should suspend her from office, pending the outcome of an high level international investigation, to be commissioned by the OPEC, to verify allegations contained in this petition.
“We thank you for your anticipated investigation and prompt action in this matter.”
•Photo shows Diezani Alison-Madueke.
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