Transparency International, the global anti-corruptionorganisation, has asked President Goodluck Jonathan to rescind the pardon granted to Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, the former governor of the oil-rich state of Bayelsa, who was convicted for money laundering and other serious corruption offences in 2007.
“This decision undermines anti-corruption efforts in Nigeria and encourages impunity. If the government is serious about uprooting public corruption, sanctions against those who betray the public trust should be strengthened, not relaxed,” said AkereMuna, vice-chair of Transparency International.
Following the pardon, Mr. Alamieyeseigha will now be able to stand for public office again. His businesses will also enjoy official patronage which, given his friendship with Mr. Jonathan, could be considerable.
Transparency International urged President Jonathan to show that he is committed to fighting corruption and endorse the efforts of law enforcement agencies to end impunity for corrupt officials. Nigeria was ranked 139 out of 174 countries in the 2012 Corruptions Perceptions Index.
Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has prosecuted and convicted a number of high-profile corrupt individuals since its inception in 2003, but most of them have escaped effective sanctions.