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Power Sector Corruption Cases Should Be Fast-Tracked To Punish Perpetrators – SERAP

SERAPSocio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has begged the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mr. Abubakar Malami SAN, EFF, ICPC to “revisit and fast-track prosecution of all cases of corruption in the electricity sector and ensure effective recovery of stolen public funds.”

This was revealed recently at the Policy Dialogue on Promoting Transparency and Accountability in the Judiciary, Education and Electricity sectors, organized by SERAP, in partnership with the MacArthur Foundation, USA.

According to SERAP, all investigations should be fast-tracked so that the offenders can be made to face justice.

It added that all pending investigations should be visited because corruption cannot be tolerated and justice should not be delayed.

“ICPC should make public the status of the investigation and recommendations for prosecution (if any) on the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) Recruitment Scandal/Jumbo Pay Scandal given the fact that the Nigerian Government and public have 40% stakes in the AEDC. The EFCC should revisit the Elemelu report on the Rural Electrification scandal and ensure that all suspected perpetrators are brought to justice.”

“The EFCC and ICPC should scrutinize, prioritize and conclude pending investigations of all power sector-related cases and make report public (where applicable), as well as bring to justice suspected perpetrators. The EFCC and ICPC should probe Metering and billing fraud and corruption. Most consumers are unhappy with their billing methodology and feel short-changed by the operators.”

On Malami, “He should request the report of the House of Representative Committee that probed government spending in the power sector from 2000 to 2007, make the report public and ensure appropriate legal action against anyone suspected to be involved in corruption.”

Its 15-Point Programme read, “For proper metering, electricity distribution companies (DISCOS) must take a proper and comprehensive collation of all power consumers in their jurisdictions before issuing new meters under direct purchases or Credited Advanced Payment for Metering Implementation (CAPMI) systems.” “DISCOS must urgently undertake initiatives to re-number and re-classify all electricity consumers in Nigeria for the purpose of issuing new meters. The NERC must shoulder the responsibility on this aspect.”

“The Attorney General should take measures to obtain, widely publish and act on the report of the Elumelu House Probe Committee which had accused 21 persons and 36 companies of subversion of government policy on due process which gave rise to extension of contract beyond its original size, inflation of costs, duplication of contract awards, other kinds of corruption, and general lack of performance.”

“The Nigerian government and the NERC should adopt and publish citizens’ charters in the electricity sector, spelling out the rights and responsibilities of consumers and conferring on them the right to receive good and quality service from power service providers; for independent monitoring and public participation in policy formulation and decision-making.”

“The Nigerian Federal Government, the National Assembly, State Governments, and the judiciary must work with anti-corruption institutions like the EFCC and the ICPC, CSOs and donor agencies to improve and enhance the capacity of institutions and actors within the justice to promote justice, transparency and good governance.”

“The necessary actions required here involve amending sections 26(2) and 60(3) of the ICPC Act to confer jurisdiction on Magistrate Courts, High Courts of States and the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, and the Federal High to determine corruption cases; amending the ICPC Act and EFCC Act to criminalize illicit wealth or unjust enrichment in line with contemporary international standards like the UN Convention against Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party.”

“Money appropriated in budgets for anti-corruption agencies and initiatives should be released as and when due; the Attorney-General should work closely with the ICPC to begin the commencement of prosecution of all ex-governors whose cases have been investigated to completion; the Attorney-General should, in collaboration with the civil society, establish a system for monitoring conduct of high profile corruption cases; the inauguration of a committee to monitor corruption cases in courts.”

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