Ghana – seven high court judges suspended over corruption


Ghana’s government suspended seven out of 12 high court judges on Monday in the wake of allegations of bribery stemming from a documentary made by an investigative journalist.

The decision is part of a response to a three-hour film first screened in the capital last month that has caused an uproar in the West African country because it showed judges accepting bribe money through intermediaries.

Ghana’s judiciary is revered for its efficacy and impartiality and is viewed as a bulwark of a society that prides itself on its reputation as one of Africa’s most stable and peaceful democracies.

But the documentary put Chief Justice Georgina Wood and other judicial leaders under pressure to show a forceful public response.

“Their suspension follows the establishment of a prima facie case of stated misbehaviour against them by the Hon. Lady Chief Justice (Wood),” said a statement from the Judicial Service announcing a decision by Vice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur based on advice from the Judicial Council.

The council previously suspended 22 junior judges who appeared in the video and investigated the conduct of high court judges to see if there is a case for their impeachment.

Some of the judges have denied wrongdoing and have filed a challenge in court, saying their suspension had no legal basis because documents relating to the video that were submitted by the journalist were not made available to them.

In 2013, the Supreme Court dismissed an election challenge by the political opposition, which had sought to annul the re-election of President John Mahama the previous year.

The ruling, which followed months of testimony, was accepted by the opposition and the case and its outcome was viewed as a testament to the judiciary’s authority.

South Africa – Pistorius must remain in jail says review board


South African paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius (16 October 2014)AFP Pistorius is now unlikely to get parole before his appeal is heard next month

Oscar Pistorius must remain in jail and not be transferred to house arrest after a decision to grant him parole was again delayed.

His lawyer Brian Webber told the AFP news agency that a decision over his early release has been referred back to the parole board.

The Paralympic star was jailed for five years in 2014 for the culpable homicide of Reeva Steenkamp.

He has been fighting a lengthy battle to be released early from jail.

Pistorius was due to be released in August, but remained in prison after Justice Minister Michael Masutha made a last-minute intervention blocking it.

The parole review board – the final recourse for parole disputes – met on Monday to decide if the star, 28, should be allowed out on house arrest.

Reeva Steenkamp attends the Virgin Active Sport Industry Awards (February 2013)AFP Reeva Steenkamp’s family are vehemently opposed to any early release for Pistorius
The the Kgosi Mampuru prison in Pretoria, South Africa (October 2014)AP Pistorius has served his sentence at the Kgosi Mampuru prison in Pretoria

A definitive parole ruling is now unlikely to be made before the athlete in a separate legal process appeals against his conviction on 3 November in Bloemfontein.

This ruling could result in him receiving a longer prison term.

Mr Webber explained that the parole review board decided to refer the matter back to the original parole panel – the body accused by Mr Masutha of “prematurely” wanting to release him in August.

Analysis: Milton Nkosi, BBC News, Johannesburg

There will not be much sympathy for Pistorius because many people felt that the judge erred by acquitting him of murder.

The double amputee will have to remain behind bars because while his case joins the lengthy queue of other parole hearings that need to be heard, and there is no indication when this will happen.

Legal experts say the decision by the justice minister Michael Masutha to intervene was correct in terms of the law.

At the time of his intervention, Pistorius had been granted parole only six months into his five-year sentence.

The law states clearly that an offender can only be considered for parole after serving one-sixth of his sentence, in this case 10 months.

But because he has now served one-sixth of his sentence, he probably should be released by now.

Prosecutors argue that the judge who presided over his trial did not apply the law correctly by acquitting him of murder.

The judge instead found him guilty of a lesser charge of culpable homicide – equivalent to manslaughter.

Reeva Steenkamp’s parents are strongly against Pistorius’ possible release, telling an Australian TV channel in August that the Paralympian has ruined their lives.

“He killed her. He admits he killed her. She’s dead. Why didn’t he just let her walk away? Why?” Reeva’s mother June Steenkamp asked in the interview.

Nigeria – how senior officials used electronic management system to steal revenues

Premium Times

NNPC Towers

NNPC Towers

An enterprise resource solution for accountability in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC’s business processes, turned a spin project for crooked top officials to steal billions, a report reveals.

The project, which had 86 weeks completion time-line, has dragged for more than three years, after gulping almost double the contract sum originally approved by the Nigerian presidency, with nothing to show.

The resource solution is called SAP Enterprise Resources Planning (ERP).

It is an electronic management solution deployed by most global organisations to monitor real-time operations of a network of subsidiaries and affiliates irrespective of their locations.

All-in-one solution

The solution is an all-in-one package, comprising different modules for standard business, financial, contracts management and personnel information, data and processes in the business value chain.

The automated tool is usually deployed once and run globally through an integrated network that links all the organisation’s operational units and affiliates seamlessly, irrespective of location.

Most multi-national oil companies, like Royal Dutch Shell Group, ExxonMobil Corporation, Chevron Corporation and Total operate such integrated global systems that allow seamless monitoring of business processes with partners and government agencies from any location.

In 2013, Royal Dutch Shell Corporation, the world’s fourth largest oil producer, with about 3.1 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, and almost 40,000 staff, spent only $32million to deploy a similar solution within 18 months.

With the tool, Shell monitors real-time operational processes involving thousands of subsidiaries and affiliates in over 90 countries around the world, including Nigeria.

Curiously, a detailed implementation review report in February 2015 by the corporate audit department of the NNPC, exclusively obtained by PREMIUM TIMES recently, showed how the deployment of a similar platform by the NNPC turned out a specimen of monumental fraud.

By January 2015, the report said the SAP ERP implementation gulped almost double the total amount approved for the deployment of the solution in all NNPC’s 13 subsidiaries, affiliates and strategic business units (SBUs).

The report, titled “Review of SAP Implementation Project” from Assignment No. HPA/1/2015/02, stated: “a major risk that hindered the completion time-line of the project was connectivity required to support SAP to go-live was not fully available.

“There seems to be a disconnect between the business units (users of different SAP solutions) and the SAP PMO as per the completeness of deployment and usability of the solution.

“While SAP PMO considers SAP program as having been completed and closed, most business units are still grappling with challenges, ranging from incomplete deployment, lack of integration amongst modules and usability.”

NNPC enterprise solution conceived

The SAP ERP was first approved by the board of the corporation on May 15, 2007 as a plank for the then Olusegun Obasanjo administration’s reform agenda in the country’s oil and gas industry.

But, PREMIUM TIMES investigations revealed that successive NNPC managements, beginning with Funso Kupolokun as GMD, always exploited loopholes in the project’s execution to milk the system of billions.

Findings showed that Accenture, the management consulting and technology services firm, was originally expected to run the project for $67million.

The company was paid about $3million in 2007 to carry out the “blueprinting”, a road-map for implementing the solution.

However, another bid for $24million was received from SAP of Germany through its Nigerian subsidiary, SAP Nigeria.

This compelled Accenture to bring down its price to $25million after its allies on the NNPC Board had leaked the information.

Provisional Board approval favoured the bid by SAP Nigeria, with majority of members persuaded with the argument that as patent owner of the SAP solution, the company would provide after sales service where necessary at no extra cost.

The Board decision to choose SAP Nigeria angered some key members, who were strongly rooting for Accenture.

Regardless, the then Special Adviser to the President on Petroleum, Edmund Daukoru, stood up to the pressures by some powerful Board members to overturn the Board’s decision for Accenture.

Members of the Board were still abroad in Harvard for a training programme when their dissolution was announced by then President Obasanjo, apparently to frustrate the implementation of their decision not to give Accenture the contract.

Days later, Mr. Kupolokun wrote to Mr. Obasanjo requesting the reversal of the dissolved Board’s decision on the contract to SAP Nigeria.

But, the president could do nothing on the request without a reconstituted NNPC Board till Mr. Obasanjo’s tenure ended in May 2007.

When Musa Yar’adua took over and the NNPC Board was reconstituted, Mr. Kupolokun also approached him with a similar memo. But, nothing could be done till he was removed from office.

SAP ERP approved

Underground scheming on the project continued till February 16, 2009 when President Yar’adua finally approved about $25.57million for the entire project.

This excluded cost of critical related infrastructure, $4.038 million; project team cost, $1.74 million, project implementation in Kaduna, Warri and Port Harcourt refineries, $5.4 million, totalling about $36.75million.

Shortly after the presidential approval of the contract, the hawks went to work immediately, to realise through other means what they could not in the board room – hijack the contract.

The plan coincided with the period Surajdeen Afolabi’s employment as supply chain manager with Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria was about to come to end.

Mr. Afolabi was promptly recruited to take charge of the newly created department to coordinate the SAP project.

Although a non-IT professional, Mr. Afolabi was assured strong management support to work independently of the existing ICT Department.

Indeed, successive managements in NNPC made good the assurances. Because of the high level complicity in the executive scam, neither Mr. Afolabi nor the department he headed was starved steady supply of hard currency, as all requests were routinely met.

On assumption of office, Mr. Afolabi’s first proposal was for $3million to conduct another “blueprinting”, done earlier by Accenture. Despite opposition from the IT department, approval was given and funds released.

Independent confirmation could not be obtained on whether the funds were actually used for the purpose they were released or not.

Beside, any staff poking his nose in the affairs of the SAP project was either cut to size or shown the way out of the department.

Almost double bill

Details of the expenditure on the project exclusively obtained by PREMIUM TIMES revealed that as at January 2015 the NNPC spent about $70.66 million and €6.06 million as well as N820.089 million.

The amount is almost double the total of $36.75 million approved by the Federal Government for the completion of the entire project.

Yet, the solution is partially functional in only five SBUs, namely the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC; Pipelines and Products Marketing Company, PPMC; Integrated Data Services Limited, IDSL; NNPC Retail Limited and Crude Oil Marketing departments, COMD, and Warri Refinery and Petrochemical Company, WRPC.

Deployment in each SBU costs a minimum of $5million.

Project completion timeline was over 86 weeks. But, the review report showed that more than 36 months later, implementation seems to be leading nowhere.

“As at March 2012, over two years after the take-off of the project, connectivity required to support SAP (to) go live was not fully established,” the report said.

Experts fault deployment

A Lagos-based IT consultant, Fred Umahi, criticized the deployment of stand-alone SAP solutions by NNPC, saying as an enterprise solution, it should be deployed once and run globally through an integrated network linking all SBUs, irrespective of location.

Mr. Umahi faulted the duplication of the SAP solution in all NNPC subsidiaries without integration, describing the absence of inter-connectivity between the SBUs so far deployed as the main reason the solution has not been functional.

“Every organisation deploys one SAP solution and integrate it to all its business units globally,” Mr. Umahi explained. “Deploying stand-alone SAP hardware, data baseline and operational system in silos by NNPC without integration is wrong.”

Those familiar with the implementation of the project said the SAP project managers did not reckon with its scope, in terms of the modules suitable for the business requirements and peculiarities of each SBU.

For instance, workers in the Human Resources, Crude Oil Marketing and Finance departments said the SAP module deployed to them was not what they needed, because they were serviced with different business modules and licenses.

Despite opposition by the IT department that Microsoft Business Intelligence Suite had already been deployed, NNPC management went ahead to approve €4 million for Business Intelligence solution using Business Object.

But, the Business Intelligence module, a management reporting tool for decision making, deployed at NPDC failed to work, because it does not run on Service Pack Zero, considered an obsolete model that does not allow upgrade.

As a temporary solution, an upgrade from Service Pack Zero to Service Pack 7 cost about $5million, apart from additional charge of $2million per SBU for “stabilisation”; $1.9 million for “corridor support” (training for prospective users) and €4 million as annual SAP maintenance fee. “Customization” and “optimization” attract similar fees.

Equally, approval was given for the department to license all SAP solutions end-to-end at €4 million each, irrespective of the fact that NNPC already had similar subsisting licenses.

Despite the huge expenditure on the deployment of the Business Intelligence that has failed to work, a source in NNPC, who asked not to be named, as he has no permission to speak on the issue, said Mr. Afolabi has already announced plans to scrap the system.

In its place, he wants to introduce an Enterprise Project Management, EPM system after NNPC spent about $1.9 million for in-house personnel training.

Approval has also been given for another contract to run a Project Sanctioning and Approval Procedure, P-SAP.

Hawking the solution

To capture more SBUs and affiliates to buy in, the SAP department has continued to hawk the solution to all NNPC subsidiaries and affiliates.

The audit report noted that Mr. Afolabi had made presentations to propose the solution to 18 SBUs and several affiliates, like Brass LNG, Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).

“The problem with the SAP system is a fundamental one,” one top NNPC said. “The structure was built on a fraudulent foundation that no one can build on. The department that deployed the solution, from top to bottom, is not technically competent.

“For the system to work, President Muhammadu Buhari has unfinished business at NNPC. If his dream of sanitizing the NNPC and bring it to international reckoning is to be realized, cleaning the Aegean stable has to begin with the SAP project.

“Those who committed the fraud that has cost government billions must be cleared from the system and the contract reviewed. Otherwise, NNPC is doomed.”

NNPC says SAP is working

Regardless, NNPC spokesperson, Ohi Alegbe, dismissed reports that the project was not working, saying those complaining are those finding it difficult to adapt to the change since the introduction of the solution in NNPC.
“Please, don’t get sucked in to the false claims that SAP is not working. SAP is working very well. In fact, the implementation of SAP is one of the success stories of the on-going transformation process at the NNPC,” Mr. Alegbe said.

Mr. Afolabi, who was in charge of the SAP Department since 2007 as General Manager and recently appointed Group General Manager, SAP/IT Department by the new NNPC management, dismissed as “laughable and mischievous” claims that SAP in NNPC was not working.

He provided commendation letters and framed awards on the walls of his office received from previous NNPC managements as testimonials for the performance of the SAP solution in the corporation’s operational processes, particularly contract awards and payments.

“SAP is working perfectly in NNPC,” Mr. Afolabi told PREMIUM TIMES in his office a fortnight ago in Abuja.
“Since the introduction of SAP in NNPC, all aspects of our operations are working seamlessly. We have received several awards and recognitions from NNPC management and outside because of the SAP success story. The only challenge we have has been how to get everybody to buy in.”

He refused to give further details. Although Mr. Afolabi promised to provide “vigorous and robust responses” if PREMIUM TIMES submitted a formal request for clarification on issues relating to SAP in NNPC, he failed on three occasions over two weeks to send answers to questions to him.

Despite their claims that SAP was working well, the newly appointed Group Managing Director of NNPC, Ibe Kachikwu, recently voiced his frustration and disappointment over the project, officials there told PREMIUM TIMES.

Mr. Kachikwu reportedly told a meeting of NNPC’s top management officials that despite the huge investment in project, it remained more of a drainpipe than a solution, particularly in helping curb corruption in its business processes.

The General Manager, ITD/SAP of NNPC, Inuwa Danladi, recently recruited to head the seven-member SAP Team, was said to have recommended that based on the implementation review report, the SAP project cannot function effectively except it was dismantled and deployed afresh.

Mr. Danladi is said to have told NNPC management that the deployment of SAP in the corporation was deliberately designed to fail, so as to serve as a conduit for its managers to siphon money.

South Africa – Piketty effect and who owns what in SA

Mail and Guardian

Thomas Piketty’s message about a global wealth tax found fertile ground in South Africa.

Thomas Piketty. (AFP)

British journalist, Paul Mason, captured it like this, in a piece published in The Guardian in 2014:

“That capitalism is unfair has been said before. But it is the way Thomas Piketty says it – subtly but with relentless logic – that has sent rightwing economics into a frenzy, both here and in the US.”

Piketty’s message, delivered at the annual Nelson Mandela lecture on Saturday, had a similar impact in South Africa.

Writing in Business Day last week, managing partner at John Nicholas & Company, John Catsicas, invoked theghost of the left’s nemesis, Margaret Thatcher, in his critique of Piketty:

“One is reminded of the late Margaret Thatcher, who often quoted the following: ‘You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does notfirst take from somebody else.’

“The likes of Piketty and Stiglitz should rather focus on understanding the real causes of poverty and stop scheming on how governments can introduce innovative “Robin Hood” taxing models. Piketty should be reminded that the rich have, and do, pay back to society their cash gains in a form of substantial endowments.

“The likes of Cecil John Rhodes, Andrew Carnegie, JP Morgan, John D Rockefeller and now Bill Gates dispensed their wealth in meaningful ways that no government can hope to emulate.”

Piketty’s message, which chiefly argues for wealth redistribution to address inequality, is the antithesis of what traditional economics has long assumed to know.

Yet while conservative economists revile at Piketty’s work, his message on Saturday found fertile ground in South Africa. Piketty delivered the lecture at the University of Johannesburg’s Soweto campus on Saturday afternoon.

Piketty is the youngest person to deliver the annual lecture at the age of 44. He is Professor of Economics at the Paris School of Economics and the author of twelve books as well as a number of published articles. But it is his book, Capital in the 21st Century, that catapulted Piketty to stardom, with its searing critique of capitalism.

On at least four occasions, the 2000-strong audience erupted into spontaneous applause. A standing ovation began and ended Piketty’s address.

Piketty’s book begins at Marikana, and goes on to argue for the introduction of a global wealth tax, as one means of redistributing wealth to address inquality.

In terms of inequality, Piketty says South Africa is “top of its class”.

He says that 60 % of all income earned in South Africa is in the hands of ten % of the population.

Piketty’s work also draws on tax records to draw insights into who has owned what during the last two centuries or so. Yet on Saturday he lamented the lack of public records, globally, that would complete this analysis for all countries.

Piketty says a global registry of financial assets is needed to truly understand wealth ownership, and thus begin to address income inequality.

While such a registry might seem “utopian”, he said, it is not impossible: these registries already exist, but they are owned by private corporations, and accessing this data is very difficult for members of the public.

Piketty also argues for “progressive taxation”, which also entails aggressively combatting corporate tax evasion.

He says that up to 50% of all financial assets in Africa are held offshore, robbing the continent of much needed resources.

Africa does not need development aid, he says. It needs companies to pay their fair share of tax.

He also argued against the privatisation of public services.

“I understand that many people, including many business leaders are very skeptical about the capacity of government to deliver this, but on the other hand I think there is no otheroption than to try to improve the functioning, and contribute… to pay the tax that would finance the functioning of public sector education. There’s no other strategy.

“The strategy according to which you do it through privatising the education and health system, and let the business sector do it, will not work. I think what does work historically, in order to have sustainable and equitable growth, is to have a well-functioning publiceducation and health system, and South Africa should go in this direction.”

He said it was critical that there was more data available about “who owns what in South Africa”.

“I think it is very difficult to have a reasonable debate about wealth with so little information,” he said.

Ivory Coast – forests endangered by illegal cocoa expansion


Ivory Coast seeks to save forests from illegal cocoa boom

A farmer works on a cocoa plantation in the protected Gouin-Debe forest in Blolequin department, western Ivory Coast August 17, 2015.

In Mont Peko National Park, thousands of leafless Iroko and Samba trees tower over a sea of lush plantations like headstones, a testament to the heavy environmental cost Ivory Coast has paid for a dramatic rise in its cocoa production.

Ivorian officials say 99 percent of the park’s 34,000 hectares have been destroyed by cocoa farmers taking advantage of the chaos wrought by a decade-long political crisis in the West African nation.

With the years of turmoil over, the government of President Alassane Ouattara is preparing to re-exert state authority by expelling tens of thousands of farmers from parks and reserves in an attempt to save the dwindling forests.

Mont Peko, with an illegal population of around 28,000, will prove the first test of the government’s new policy. Evictions are slated for December and similar operations will follow in Ivory Coast’s more than 200 parks and reserves.

“The role of a national park is not to produce cocoa,” said Adama Tondossama, director of the OIPR, one of the government agencies charged with managing protected land. “Those people who are there are there illegally and we’ll fight to get them out.”

But as it works to roll back decades of environmental destruction, the government faces a dilemma: can it foster conservation while avoiding social unrest and preserving the country’s position as the world’s top cocoa grower?

Ivory Coast produced 1.2 million tonnes of cocoa in the 2000/01 season, a year before a failed coup attempt sparked a civil war that split the country in half.

In the recently ended 2014/15 season, it harvested a record crop of around 1.8 million tonnes, or some 40 percent of world supply.

Though no firm statistics exist, analysts attribute much of the rise to illegal farming in protected forests. Shutting those illegal plantations would lead to a fall in output, at least in the short-term, industry figures say.

At a time when the industry is seeking to tap potential new markets in Asia, any major drop in production from Ivory Coast could drive up the price of chocolate on shelves around the world, from Brussels to Beijing.


Ivory Coast’s first President Felix Houphouet-Boigny set out from the start to build his country into an agricultural powerhouse.

From around 12 million hectares at independence in 1960, Ivory Coast’s primary forest, once the largest in West Africa, has fallen to less than 2.5 million hectares, mainly due to expanding agriculture, according to European Union figures.

Available land for new plantations ran out long ago, and so farmers moved into parks and reserves, up to 60 percent of which have now been destroyed to plant cocoa.

Cocoa farmer Vincent Karsamba, 42, said he was not aware he was doing anything wrong when he bought 20 hectares inside Mont Peko in 2007, but he is hardly apologetic.

“Plantations outside the protected forests and parks are old and aren’t as productive as here,” he said, standing, machete in hand, next to a tree dripping with ripe, yellow cocoa pods.

The government abandoned a short-lived attempt to evict farmers from national parks in 2013. If the strategy is pushed through this time, output will undoubtedly be affected in the short term.

But Christophe Kouame, country director for the World Agroforestry Centre, points out that low yields on plantations outside the parks and reserves leave much room for improvement.

“We can ease the drop in the long-term by using new production techniques that we implement via grafting and agroforestry,” he said.

To have a real impact such techniques must become commonplace, something that will take time and require the shared efforts and resources of the government, farmer cooperatives and the industry.

In the meantime, less cocoa production may not be a disaster.

“Is it really in Ivory Coast’s interest to have such a dramatic rise in cocoa output year-on-year?” asked Ecobank soft commodities analyst Victoria Crandall.

Rapid growth in production has in recent years outpaced relatively stagnant demand, potentially setting the stage for a drop in world prices that could end up hurting Ivory Coast and its farmers.

“There’s got to be a balance in the market at some point. They don’t want to dump all that cocoa on the market, so it might be a good thing,” she said.


Regardless of whether the sector thrives or simply survives as Ivory Coast reclaims its forests, it is farmers like Sory Bourahima, who will likely lose out.

Having arrived from Burkina Faso in 1990, he carved an 18-hectare plantation out of the protected Gouin-Debe forest, where he lives with his two wives and 10 children.

Forestry authorities say up to 60 percent of the 100,000 hectare reserve is occupied by farmers. Together with their families, they number around 50,000 people.

Not long ago a forestry agent dropped by Bourahima’s plantation and told him to stop planting cocoa trees and prepare to leave.

“We’ve invested so much for so many years. Our children grew up here … If they chase us away, we will suffer,” he said, as he sun-dried cocoa beans on the ground.

Ivory Coast’s short-lived first attempt to clear the forests in 2013, beginning with the Niegre reserve, led to accusations of human rights abuses by security forces. Thousands were left to fend for themselves when bulldozers leveled their homes.

This time around the authorities have pledged to do things differently.

“We want to avoid what happened in Niegre,” said Kpolo Ouattara, the OIPR agent responsible for Mont Peko. “The government gave two extra years to the Mont Peko infiltrators to prepare. But their departure is not negotiable.”

The government has offered to transport around 8,000 park inhabitants who have expressed a desire to return home to neighboring Burkina Faso. Others have told officials they plan to rejoin family members farming legally elsewhere in Ivory Coast or abandon cocoa for new lines of work.

Ivorian authorities have said they will offer resettlement packages. But the residents of Mont Peko say they still do not know how much help they will get. Thousands, like Lamine Ouedraogo, say they have nowhere to go.

“Cocoa is all we know. We don’t have diplomas or another trade,” he said. “So if we leave here, we don’t know what we’ll do.”

An gola’s Marques and Kenya’s Githongo win Allard prize for integrity

Star (Nairobi)

Githongo, Angolan get Sh10.5m award

Prize recepients de Morais and Githongo in Canada on Thursday last week.

Prize recepients de Morais and Githongo in Canada on Thursday last week.


October 5, 2015

Former Ethics PS John Githongo and Angolan journalist Rafael Marques de Morais have been awarded $100,000 (Sh10.5 million) for their work in fighting corruption.

They received their awards at a ceremony in Vancouver, Canada, last Thursday.

The two were awarded $50,000 each after they were named joint recipients of the 2015 Allard Prize for International Integrity.

The Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia, Canada, presented Githongo and de Morais with the prize.

Established in 2012, the Allard Prize is awarded every two years to an individual or organisation “that has shown exceptional courage and leadership in combating corruption, especially through promoting transparency and accountability”.

Githongo said, “it is a singular honour and a humbling experience to be selected for the Allard Prize.”

“This recognition serves as an encouragement and as an important recognition that there is, across the world, a partnership between all people who care about human dignity to fight corruption.”

In 2004, Githongo exposed the Anglo Leasing scandal and his current work involves creating an informed citizenry.

– See more at:

Nigeria – what to do about impending economic recession


Godwin Emefiele CBN Governor

Nigeria At 55: Experts Speak On Economy, Proffer Solutions To Impending Recession

As Nigeria marks her 55th indepence anniversary amid fears of recession, experts in the various economic sectors say only purposeful leadership can pull back the country from the brinks.  Blessing Anaro, Chima Akwaja, George Okojie, Chika Izuora, Olushola Bello and Bukola Idowu, writes  

Nigeria is now 55 years old. At that age, many see the Nigerian economy as one, stunted in growth. Assuming that Nigeria is human, any human being that old who remains clueless about solving its propblems can be deemed to have failed. Comparing Nigeria to some of its peers, analysts say the country has suffered arrested development as a result of bad leadership.

But for the financial markets, operators and analysts see a big leap in activities that has resulted in real growth. For instance, the stock market started with just 19 operators, today they are about 200. Today, market capitalization is in the region of N12 trillion, way above the country’s total annual budget.

For the banks, the major intermediation was through cash alone, but today we have the bond markets and other windows through which intermediation could be consummated.

There was hardly such a sector as Information and Communication Technology (ICT). But today, ICT has brought investments worth $38 billion into the country.

In the 55 years of Nigeria’s existence, more houses have been built and more cities emerged, but erected with substandard materials, often resulting in building collapse and leaving thousands of Nigerians dead over time and valuables lost.

The oil and gas sector that supposedly brought succour to the economy in the 1970s rather has become a window for thievery and in fact has brought about under-development through hyper-corruption that has almost become a way of life.

In spite of the growth recorded in most of the sectors, analysts who spoke with LEADERSHIP Sunday believe that with good leadership, particularly at the centre to give direction, the fortunes of the country’s economy could be reversed and as a matter of fact turn it from recession to growth.


Money Market

Chief Executive of Economic Associates, Ayo Teriba said there has been a whole lot of transformation in the Nigerian financial system as increase in deposits has improved financial intermediation.

“In 1960 the major financial instrument was cash. Cash was bigger than deposit and there was little or no government bond. Today, deposit has overtaken cash and bond has grown as well as the stock market.

“Today cash is the smallest financial assets followed by bonds and then equity, deposit is the biggest financial assets now. Government used to dominate the financial sector but now there is private sector dominance and this is good for financial intermediation,” Teriba said.

For the chief executive of Financial Market Dealers Association of Nigeria (FMDA), Wale Abe, the regulators in the Nigerian financial system have over the years performed their roles in ensuring financial stability in the country.

He noted that while there has been improvements in the financial sector, the country is yet to achieve all that it ought to in terms of growth, and the government had not effectively performed its role in developing the economy.

While adding that the Nigerian financial sector will continue to benchmark its activities with developed markets, Abe said “We need to look at the models used in developed economies and adapt them to meet the needs of our economy.”

He, however, noted that the Nigerian financial sector has failed in its responsibility of bridging the funding gap of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Referring to SMEs as the engine of growth, he said “funding the SMEs should be the focus of the finance industry because they are the drivers of growth and generate employment.

“No economy can grow without the SMEs, but what the banks are doing is financing buying and selling and competing to finance the multinationals which they should not be focusing on.”

Looking forward, Abe and Teriba said the financial industry will have to focus more on funding and supporting the real sector for he growth and development of the Nigerian economy.

Teriba stressed the need to formulate monetary and fiscal policies that will engender growth in the real sector. Funding the real sector, Abe said, will go a long way in addressing the issue of the army of unemployed youths. “The government should also cone up with fiscal policies that is focused on developing this sector. I look forward to a financial sector that will continue to focus on the real sector development, lower interest rates and attract funding from other parts of the world.”


Real Sector And The Capital Market

The state of the economy has revealed that growth has been sluggish, and right now, reccessing dangerously. Analysts attribute the present slow growth to the fact that the major policy thrusts of the government which are expected to drive the economy are yet to be put in place to meet the utmost expectations of the business community and private sector operators .

The national president of Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Mr. Bassey Edem said, the real sector still grapples with high interest rate, insufficient power and energy supply, and inefficient infrastructure.

He stated, “We appreciate the enormity of the task inherited by the new administration and its effort in ensuring that the economy is re-engineered to meet up with the yearnings of the business community, and the citizenry at large, it is important to note that what an average Nigerian desires at the moment is for the ‘change’ they voted for to be translated into a significant positive impact on the real sector and the economy in general.”

The Nigerian stock market according to the managing director of Highcap Securities Limited was set up for two major reasons-to create an investment outlet for Nigerians and to serve as means of raising long term capital for Nigeria companies and government.

He said that since independence till date the capital market has reasonably fulfilled these objectives.

Mr. Tunde Oyediran, a senior stock broker with Calyx Securities Limitred, said, in 1960, the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, was founded, but operation actually began in 1961 with about 19 securities listed for trading in Lagos.

He noted that the stock exchange has grown from 19 securities to over 200 securities with a market capitalization of over N10 trillion which is more than the nation’s entire budget for this year.

However, he noted that the market is fast recovering from the down turn of 2010 which saw the market dropping from around N13 trillion to where it is today.

He, however, noted that the stock market which is supposed to be used as the barometer of the economy still don’t have some key sector listed on the platform. According to him, sectoral analysis of the market shows that the telecommunication sector is under-represented, to the extent that, none of the major national telecom company’s shares are traded on the stock exchange market.



As Nigeria markets its 55th independence anniversary, the telecommunication sector stands out as one of the functional sectors where the private sector have contributed to the development of the economy. Since the liberalisation of the sector 15 years ago, Nigeria telecom operators have contributed immensely to the growth of the economy.

The telecom sector has attracted $38 billion investments in the 15 years with $6 billion of foreign direct investments (FDI) in the last three years. The telecom sector contributes about eight per cent to the GDP. Several telecom operating companies providing fibre optic broadband traffic, mobile voice telephony, Internet data services are in existence.

Engr. Lanre Ajayi, president, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) urged regulatory agencies in the sector and government at different levels to create a level playing ground that will be attractive to investors. “Nigeria which prides itself as giant of Africa has only attained 10 per cent broadband penetration despite the presence of half a dozen international subsea fibre optic cables landing in the country.

Mr. Gbolahan Awonuga, secretary general, Association of Licenced Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) said unless challenges such as multiple taxations, multiple regulators, inadequate electricity, vandalisation of telecom infrastructure, such fibre optic cables, generators are resolved, slow broadband penetration and paucity of investments will continue to persist.

In the broadcasting sector, despite the failure of Nigeria and several African countries, Nigeria is moving ahead to ensure Digital Switchover (DSO) moves on without hitches. The federal government has approved N51 billion to be raised from the private sector to fast track Nigeria’s DSO which will lead to production of set-top boxes and viewing of digital channels by TV viewers in line with the directive of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

To fast track this, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has awarded digital pay TV broadcasting services licence to MTN Nigeria saying Nigeria will migrate to digital TV broadcasting by June 20, 2017.


Industry experts are of the opinion that the Nigerian insurance sector has witnessed tremendous development since independence.

Speaking with LEADERSHIP Sunday, Godwin Wiggle, Managing Director, Linkage Assurance said prior to independence, the country’s insurance was operated through agencies and as at that time only Royal Exchange was dominating the sector.

“There have been a lot of development over the years, there was a time capitalisation was mere N250,000 but today life insurance companies capital base is N2 billion while general insurance is N3 billion.

“In the early days foreign insurance companies dominated the business but over time there was nationalisation of companies and the market is growing bigger” he said.

Wiggle said though the growth trend is commendable, Nigeria cannot be compared with the rate of insurance penetration in in better economies.

Insurance is a universal business, and practitioners could trade in any part of the world, but Wiggle notes that local operators still lack capacity and technical know-how, adding that there is wider room for growth.

He said that since independence till date, the level of insurance penetration is between two and five per cent.

“We need enlightenment to develop the sector, and with a population of over 150 million people, our penetration should between 20-30 per cent.

“If you compare the industry with telecommunication, then you can see the sector is no where to measure.

It is not the amount of premium written but the number of people we are able to reach,” Wiggle stated.

Oil & Gas

Some experts have noted that Nigerians have not been given full opportunity to provide the needed leadership in the oil and gas industry.

They said the industry witnessed development in the first three decades but the fortune started dwindling.

They said those employed in the industry then had the best training and capacity development till date.

According to Comrade Emmanuel Ojugbana, PENGASSAN’s national public relations officer, in the last two decades the growth has been retarded partly due to poor management and inadequate funding.

He said contract employment has led to shortchanging of workers from having decent working condition.

Over time the body observed rapid decay of infrastructures, some became comatose and criminals took advantage of deep corruption to embark of crude oil theft and pipeline vandalisation.

Also Barrister Chidi Ahaotu, Managind Director of Mandi Oil and Gas said the troubles in the oil producing Niger Delta region, which include armed militants attacking oil facilities and lots of crude oil being stolen through boreholes straight into the pipelines are evidence of mismanagement that was not there in the beginning.

Ahaotu said this has caused spillages, pollution in poor rural fishermen communities who lose their means of livelihood through polluted land and water.



Although Nigeria has clocked 55 with many big cities to show over the period, professionals say more is needed to be done in the area of building production process.

The second vice president Nigeria Institute of Building (NIOB) Mr. Kunle Awobodu in an interview with LEADERSHIP Sunday said President Buhari must put an end to the use of sub-standard buildings in the country to avert frequent loss of lives and properties.

Awobodu said the construction industry in the country in the past 55 years has not been given the attention it trully deserves, saying the sector stands to benefit from the wind of change that is currently blowing across the energy, financial and civil service sectors of the nation.

He said, “If people entrusted with the duty of implementing regulations and laws on physical planning and building control have been knowledgeable, sincere, steadfast and committed, the danger of slum growth and defective buildings would have been nipped in the bud from the outset.”

According to him, preventing haphazard development and substandard building construction is less expensive and more cost effective than demolition.

Awobodu pointed out that the collapse of buildings in the month of September when Buhari’s government marked its 100 days is a wakeup call on the issue of substandard construction in the nation’s building industry.

He said, “The unfortunate incidents that coincided with this government’s preparation time for the greater activities ahead should arouse the interest of the president and governors on building collapse prevention. Hence, the issue of safe built environment should be placed on the priority list.

“The problem of building collapse in Nigeria is largely man-made. In those days when there was orderliness in the system, building collapse was a rare occurrence. As the system gradually collapsed, the nation descended to the era of impunity and lack of respect for rules and regulations.”


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,296 other followers