SERAP Calls for Probe of Entire Privatization Processes 1999-2011
Even as Nigerian and indeed maritime stakeholders continue to bemoan the dearth of infrastructure in the sea ports and other key sector of the economy and the succour promised Nigerians from privatization of public enterprises, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari, to direct the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, to revisit allegations of corruption and abuse of process in the privatisation of public enterprises in Nigeria between 1999 and 2011.
The appeal was contained in an open letter sent to the president by the Executive Director of SERAP, Tokunbo Mumuni, asking the President to order fresh investigation to see if there was sufficient admissible evidence, for anyone suspected to be involved to face prosecution.
Beside, the body requested the President to reform the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) to remove opportunities for corruption in privatisation process, and to instruct the EFCC and ICPC to ensure the recovery of proceeds of corruption.
SERAP said: “We request that you take the steps within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter, failing which SERAP will institute legal proceedings to compel your government to act in the public interest. SERAP has obtained and carefully read the full report of the Senate Ad-Hoc Committee on Investigation of the Privatisation and Commercialisation Activities of the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) from 1999 to 2011, which contains damaging allegations of corruption, presidential interference, and abuse of due process in the selection of core investor, valuation of public enterprises, pricing of shares/assets, determination of workers terminal benefits, and use of proceeds of privatisation”.
“Many cases of presidential directives/interference during the period under review (1999-2011) affected the process of core investor selection. The BPE was negligent and ineffective in monitoring of privatised companies. In some cases, BPE never monitored the companies for the entire lock-in period and in other cases their reports were complete opposite of what was on the ground.