By Williams Anuku, Abuja
A group, under the auspices of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has challenged the presidency to commence immediate investigation of all companies and personalities indicted in the recent Pandora papers to serve as proof that it is all out to fight corruption.
The group also insisted that the presidency must not allow party affiliations or political sentiments becloud its objective of truly getting to the root of all the big names mentioned in the pandora papers, noting that since nothing tangible came out of two previous investigations, the Panama and Paradise papers, this recent one facilitated by over 600 journalists from 117 countries should serve as litmus test for the government to reassure Nigerians of its genuine intentions.
While making reference to the leaks jointly facilitated by the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, Executive Director of CISLAC on Monday, in Abuja, noted that the perception many Nigerians have of the government is one of paying lip services to serious corruption cases, stressing that once politically exposed people decamp from one party to another, they become exonerated from their crimes.
Recall that on October 3rd, 2021 Nigerians read in awe details of financial transactions involving politicians in Nigeria and around the world.
It exposed, just like in the panama and paradise papers, how they violate and undermine extant financial guidelines and policies, fleecing illicit funds abroad.
CISLAC insists that the Pandora papers confirm the continuing weaknesses in the Nigerian financial systems and regulatory deficiencies, a development that is at the root of annual loss of $18billion to illicit financial flows out of Nigeria.
While it noted that the Panama and Paradise papers led to significant protest across the globe, including fall of governments, dismissal of officials, criminal investigations, asset confiscation, both had minimal impact in Nigeria as the Federal Government failed to take decisive actions against corruption by bringing all those indicted to account.
“The Pandora papers release is coming when Nigeria is reeling under the deleterious impact of the Covid-19 and the debt pileup that has continued to stoke serious concerns across political divides and among Nigerians and its development partners.
“Therefore, it is a meaningful opportunity for the Buhari administration to act decisively against corruption, aggressive tax planning and other financial practices of politically exposed persons and companies that threaten our country’s economic stability and corporate existence.
“The coalition of CISLAC, Transparency International in Nigeria and the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism urgently calls on President Buhari, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation and all anti-corruption agencies to immediately commence actions to investigate all the people and companies indicted in the stories and revelations of dirty financial deals so far published,” the group noted in its remarks before the media.