COMMUNIQUE/RESOLUTIONS AT THE END OF A TOWN HALL MEETING ON MONITORING AND REPORTING OIL SUBSIDY FRAUD/CORRUPTION CASES IN NIGERIA
The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), with support from Justice for All (J4A), organized a town hall meeting on August 13, 2014 at the Vines Hotel, Abuja. The town hall meeting was part of activities of ANEEJ “Advocacy against impunity in oil subsidy regime in Nigeria” project. Over 40 participants drawn from Anti-corruption Agencies (ACAs), media, Civil Society, and academia attended the workshop.
The meeting reviewed the how the Federal government and the anti-corruption agencies have fared so far in the investigation and prosecution of indicted suspects in the fuel subsidy regime and also focused on the implication of fuel subsidy malpractice on livelihood of Nigerians. The meeting also looked at steps to be taken to put pressure on the federal government to do more to speedily investigate and prosecute persons and companies to justice, as well as how best civil society organizations can support the EFCC to deliver on the mandate.
The town hall meeting noted the followings:
• The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of the Nigeria Police are facing challenges in the delivering on their mandate as it relates to oil subsidy fraud/corruption cases.
• The budgetary allocation to the EFCC has continued to decline over the years and this has impacted negatively on the capacity of the Commission to effectively pursue their cases.
• That the slow pace of prosecution of suspects by the courts has resulted in serious delay as no single conviction have been secured, more than two years after the 2012 uprising, thereby fueling speculations that those involved in the fraud may sooner or later escape justice.
• Participants noted the insufficient information flow between the government, the EFCC and the general public relating to fuel subsidy fraud and corruption investigation and prosecution since January 2012 till date.
In the light of the above, the town hall meeting made the following resolutions as action plan for effective engagement with the investigations and prosecutions of subsidy corruption cases.
A. In order to Put Pressure on the Federal Government to do more to bring the Indicted persons/Companies to Justice, there is the need;
1. To mainstream the fight against economic and financial crimes into electioneering debate by getting aspirants to make commitment on how they will support the speedy prosecution of fuel subsidy cases and other corruption cases and other financial crimes.
2. To advocate for an amendment to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act of 2004 to create Special Courts that will speedily try Fuel Subsidy Corruption cases and other financial crimes.
3. For civil society organizations including the Nigeria Bar Association and the general public to engage in public interest litigation.
4. For strategic use of the media beyond the shores of Nigeria by putting the issue in the front burner especially the use of social media.
B. To support the effort of EFCC
1. Civil society organizations should advocate for financial independence for the EFCC and other anti-corruption agencies.
2. There is the need for civil society organizations such as the Nigeria Bar Association, NGOs and even Individuals to provision Prono Bono Services to the EFCC through the introduction of Lawyers’ Volunteer Programme (LVP).
3. CSOs to carry out independent investigations and make such information available to EFCC to assist them in their prosecution.
4. The Judiciary should treat the handling of fuel subsidy fraud and corruption matters expeditiously.
5. Civil Society Organsations monitoring the fuel subsidy corruption cases should liaise with the CSO desk at the EFCC to receive progress reports on prosecution of cases and widely disseminate such information among the public.
6. CSOs to engage in more whistle blowing activities and petitioning on fuel subsidy crimes by providing EFCC with information that will assist them in their prosecution.
7. There should be an EFCC-CSOs Forum or coalition for coordinated engagement on Fuel Subsidy corruption.
8. EFCC to ensure its website is active and up-to-date and to incorporate an interactive feature where the public can contribute to the discussion and/or issue on fuel subsidy corruption.
C. Support to CSOs
That CSOs working on the fuel subsidy issues and other financial and economic crimes should be supported with training on regular basis by donor agencies to build their capacity in meeting with the challenges of economic and financial crimes.
At the end of the town hall meeting, the EFCC agreed to provide information to CSOs on all the cases currently being prosecuted in court and the recoveries that have so far been made.
1. Rev. David Ugolor, Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ)
2. Mohammed Attah, Procurement Advocacy and Observation Initiative
3. Lukman Adefolahan, Zero Corruption Coalition
4. Barr. Kingsley Nnajiaka, Center for Social Justice
5. Victoria Ose Udoh, Centre for Democracy and Development
6. Frank Tietie, Citizen’s Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights
7. Osasah Monday, African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD)