Echoing the need for accountability, the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) has charged the Federal Government to update the citizenry on the whereabouts of the $26.5 million Halliburton plea bargain.
The ANPP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Emma Eneukwu, noted with concern that since October last year, when President Goodluck Jonathan directed the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke, to fish out the missing $26.5 million plea bargain returned to the government by Julius Berger with regard to the Halliburton bribery scandal, the AGF was yet to embark on any visible action to this effect, neither have Nigerians seen the money.
The party said the action further buttressed the fact that the government was simply paying lip service to its claim that it was keen on stamping out corruption in the polity. It noted: "We believe that this calls to question the much vaunted fight against corruption by the present PDP-led Government.
"To start with, considering that it was the United States (U.S) Government that spurred our government on to resuscitate the investigative report of the $180 million Halliburton scam, the whole issue is therefore a matter of national integrity in the comity of nations.
"When the Halliburton case was re-opened, the Federal Government requested the U.S. Government to release the balance of the bribery money held up in a U.S. bank, but in response, the U.S. Government refused to release the money, saying that while America prosecuted those who partook in the scam in the U.S. and jailed them, the Nigerian Government had been paying lip service to the matter.
"Our great party has, before now, noted that the purpose of plea bargain under the Criminal Procedure Act and Section 13(2) of the EFCC Act is mostly asset recovery. But the peculiar political atmosphere in Nigeria has made mockery of this legal procedure, as serial criminals enmeshed in manifest raids of the people’s commonwealth use it to meander out of the net of justice.
"This was no doubt what inspired the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Dahiru Musdapher, on November 14, 2011, to describe the application of plea bargain in the Nigerian context as of ‘dubious origin’, explaining later that he was referring to ‘the sneaky motive behind its introduction into our legal system, or its evident fraudulent application.’”
"The all-time maxim that, 'he who comes to equity must come with clean hands' is applicable here. It effectively demands that, should the public officers responsible for the disappearance and/or investigation into the disappearance of the plea bargain money not live up to expectation, they should be relieved of their duties.
"We therefore ask Nigerians to demand that the money paid into the nation’s purse by Julius Berger be made public. As a party, we believe that the culture of impunity is a cancer in the fabric of our national life because it emboldens criminals and corrupt individuals, and can only be removed by a transparent, sincere and decisive national leadership."