$25bn scandal: SERAP demands Baru’s suspension

$25bn scandal: SERAP demands Baru’s suspension
October 06 07:31 2017

Foremost human rights advocacy group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, has demanded the immediate suspension of the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr Maikanti Baru, for alleged abuse of office.

The group, in an open letter to Buhari on Thursday, demanded that Baru should be immediately suspended and referred to anti-corruption agencies for probe and possible prosecution.

The group was reacting to the leaked memo by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, on the alleged corrupt activities of the Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, Dr Maikanti Baru.

Kachikwu had in the memo accused Baru of sidelining him in appointments and awarding contract of $25bn without the input of the NNPC board.

SERAP, in its open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari by its Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, argued that Kachikwu’s allegations against Baru qualified as grave breaches of the Corrupt Practices and other related Offence Act of 2000; and the United Nations Convention against Corruption, to which Nigeria is a signatory.

It said the allegations must not be swept under the carpet, but must immediately be referred to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission or the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission for probe.

It said, “SERAP is concerned that years of systemic corruption within the NNPC and looting of Nigeria’s natural resources have had uneven consequences for the vulnerable groups of society, including the poor, women and children, perpetrating and institutionalising discrimination, and jeopardising the needs and well-being of future generations. If left unaddressed, the allegations by Dr. Kachikwu have the potential of undermining your government’s expressed commitment to returning Nigeria to the path of transparency and accountability.

“Rather than keeping silent on the matter, we advise you to use this case to show to Nigerians that no form of corruption will be tolerated in the NNPC under your watch.

“SERAP also believes the recommended approach would help to address the growing public suspicion and pessimism about your government’s ability to fight high-level official corruption to a standstill, and to avoid any collateral consequences.”