Suspension Of Siemens Bribery Scandal: How Not To Fight Corruption


In Nigeria, we seem to have our peculiar way of doing things that baffles the rest of the world.

It is in Nigeria that a man caught with stolen goat will be charged with theft and sentenced to six months jail term with hard labour while another who stole N21 billion public fund will be given a plea bargaining to pay half of the stolen money for freedom.

It is very sad that the Federal Government has decided to suspend its case against Siemens Transnational Corporation.

It was indeed sad to read that the Federal Government has struck a deal with Siemens to withdraw the bribery allegation against it.

The announcement came from no less a person that the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke.

Adoke told a press conference he addressed in Abuja that government’s decision to discontinue the criminal prosecution against the multinational corporation was borne out of the company’s sober expression of regret and its undertaking to be of good conduct in all its future business dealings in the country.

According to the minister, the company also agreed to pay a fine of N7 billion, three times the amount of bribes it was accused of giving and promised to put in place a committee comprising of two nominees of the Federal Government, to monitor its activities.

“The heavy fines that have been imposed on Siemens, apart from the deterrence effect, will go a long way in financing infrastructure delivery in the country,” Adoke said.

What a tragedy! The AGF by this singular act has succeeded in undoing what people like Mallam Nuhu Ribadu have done to stem corruption in the country. It is instructive to note that foreign officials of this company implicated in the bribery scandal were punished in their home country.

Why is it that we always deny ourselves of wonderful opportunities? This is one case that could be used to remove the corruption stigma placed on us by Amnesty International and other corruption-related bodies.

By discontinuing this bribery trial, what message is the country sending to the international community? It is, indeed, sad that our country, which should have been at the forefront of the global onslaught against corruption, seems to be aiding it.

The Siemens bribery scandal should have been used to signpost the fact hat the Nigerian government can muster the necessary courage to fight corruption.

By this action, we have portrayed, once again, our lack of commitment to the fight against corruption.

It is our contention that government should have allowed the case to run its full course and the culprits brought to book.

We want to disagree with the minister that the restitution that has been done in this case can redeem the image of the country. No amount of restitution can redeem the soiled image of a country wallowing in corruption, a country that is not willing to change from its corrupt ways.

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