- Category: Law, Crime & Judiciary
- Published on Friday, 04 June 2010 08:37
- Written by Tribune
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AS the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) winds down investigation in the alleged 17.5 million euro (N440 million) Siemens bribery scam involving 61 Nigerians, findings have revealed how the alleged bribe was shared directly to them, through air tickets and travel estacodes between 2002 and 2004.
Apart from four former ministers of communications mentioned as beneficiaries who had been quizzed by the commission, a serving senator from Adamawa, Senator Jubril Aminu, and 10 top serving and former officials of PHCN and NITEL have been appearing since last Tuesday for long interrogation at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
Though the commission, through the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, had requested the proceedings of a German court which convicted two executives of the firm, commission’s boss, Mrs. Farida Waziri, added another dimension on Wednesday when she disclosed that officials of the engineering and electronics giant would be talking to the commission’s operatives next week, to provide more evidence against the indicted Nigerians.
Indications have also emerged that the alleged scam may claim its first big casualty on Tuesday next week as the acting National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Haliru Mohammed Bello, who had been quizzed over it, could be asked to step down at the National Executive Council (NEC) of the party slated for the day.
Bello, who was one of the former ministers of communications fingered in the scandal was the ruling party’s Deputy National Chairman until an alleged N238 million scam case instituted by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) forced out the erstwhile national chairman, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, about three weeks ago.
A web of corruption scandal entangling Siemens had seen two of its executive officers convicted and the firm ordered to pay a fine of 38 million euro.
An interim report of the anti-corruption commission into the alleged scam had reportedly revealed how 61 Nigerians, four former ministers inclusive, were bribed by Siemens boss, Mr. Eduard Siedel, between 2002 and 2004.
Former Kwara State governor, Chief Cornelius Adebayo, who is one of the former ministers and who claims to be recuperating abroad, is the only former minister who has not been quizzed over the alleged scam.
The incumbent Chief Executive Officer of Power Holding Company of Nigeria, Mr Oyegun Osakwe and nine others who have been at the helm of PHCN and NITEL at one time or the other have been making an appearance at the commission, which is expected to end today.
Those summoned included former Managing Director of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), Mr Joseph Makoju; former Managing Director, Nigeria Telecommunications Limited (NITEL), Albert Mashi; former General Manager NITEL, Mr. E.C, Ossai; Chief Executive Officer, MTEL, Edwin Momfe; Executive Director, PHCN, Shuaibu Maigida; Chief Executive Officer, PHCN, Mr G.O.P Osakwe.
Others are the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Power and Steel, Mr S.M. Mahmood; Secretary, NITEL Tenders Board, R. Olusanju; Director, NITEL, Allah Bamulafiya and NITEL Legal Adviser, Samson Olabiyi.
On Thursday, Mashi, Bamulafiya and Mahmood were grilled by the operatives of the EFFC for over nine hours in connection with the alleged Siemens bribery scandal.
Commission’s spokesperson, Mr. Femi Babafemi, confirmed their appearance.
However, there were indications that they would be released on administrative bail later in the day.
Their travel documents, according to a source in the commission, would also be seized as a condition for their release.
The six-man team set up by the commission to investigate the alleged scam would submit its report next week after a meeting with the top officials of Siemens AG in Germany and Siemens Nigeria.
Checks also showed that the court proceedings requested from the German court had not been made available to the commission, but Mr. Babafemi said that the absence of the court papers would not halt the ongoing probe in Nigeria.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, SAN, confirmed to the Nigerian Tribune that he authorised the EFCC to write the letter using the instrumentality of the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT).