26th November, 2015
By Bayo Oluwasanmi
It is not uncommon for cowards to stage different con tactics to escape all responsibilities for their criminal acts. The most popular and the most successful one is feigning illness.
Lu Xiang, a Chinese anti-graft prosecutor once told a Chinese Court that corrupt officials often fake illness to dodge trial. Since 2009, Lu Xiang has handled more than 90 major corruption cases, 17 of which involved bureau-level cadres, 19 at departmental level, and 47 cases involving people who had received one million yuan (about $1.26 million) or more in bribes.
Alan Knight and his wife Helen of Sketty, Swansea, UK came up with a cock-and-bull story to dodge justice. Knight tried to dodge trial for conning a vulnerable elderly neighbour out of his 41,000 British pounds savings after he was charged to court in September 2012. The wife Helen Knight, claimed her husband couldn’t stand trial because he was a quadriplegic.
She even wrote Prime Minister David Cameron to support her campaign for cops to drop fraud charges against her husband because he was in a coma. But police found Knight, 48, had been on family vacation and shopping trips during the two years when he was supposed to be in a coma. Alan and his wife were sent to jail for pretending Alan was in a “vegetative state” to escape trial. Alan was jailed for an extra 14 months in addition to a four-and-a-half year term for fraud.
In 2012 in the Philippines, Renato Corona, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines was convicted for failure to declare several high value assets including $2.4 million in foreign currency deposits on his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN). Corona’s vain attempt to feign illness did not succeed in securing his release. The Senate sitting as the Impeachment Court, voted 20 to convict and 3 to acquit. Corona was the first impeachable official to be successfully impeached and convicted in Philippine’s history.
V.D. Savarkar, the brain behind the failed attempt assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, on January 1948 escaped with an acquittal on the basis of feign illness.
Nigeria is a nation where the big fish swims to escape. Our history has shown that no high ranking Nigerian government official, minister, or senior political appointee has ever served commensurate prison time for corruption, while anti-corruption activists often face harassment and arrest.
It’s no secret that those the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have successfully prosecuted in corruption scandals tend to be low-level public employees whose conviction is unlikely to change the way the system works. Cases against high-level officials and politicians tend not to proceed at all, or are, at best, stalled, largely due to political interference, intimidation, and the purchase of judges. Mr. Saraki’s case is a painful reminder of a big fish swimming undisturbed. These corrupt officials have one thing in common: they use their group’s commitment to self-preservation and self-promotion to their advantage, as a cover for their crimes.
The March 28 democratic revolution that brought President Muhammadu Buhari to power is fighting corruption terrorism on all fronts in Nigeria. The flamboyant former petroleum minister Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, former National Security Adviser Mr. Sambo Dasuki, and former EFCC Chairman Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde claim they are all too sick to face trial or scrutiny. Mrs. Alison-Madueke is “sick of breast cancer” and she’s receiving treatment in London, UK. For now, she cannot face trial at home. Mr. Lamorde jetted out of the country to escape appearing before the Senate committee on ethics, privileges, and public petitions a few days ago. He was accused of diversion of funds. His lawyer said he was abroad for medical treatment. Mr. Dasuki was not so lucky.
Mr. Dasuki was first arrested in July by the State Security Service (SSS) after a prolonged siege to his Abuja home. He was charged to court with the illegal possession of firearms and for stealing $2 billion meant for military equipment to fight Boko Haram. Mr. Ahmed Raji (SAN), the lead attorney for Mr. Dasuki pleaded that his client’s passport be released to allow him to travel for three weeks for treatment of his “budding cancer.” Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court Abuja granted Mr. Dasuki’s request for his passport to be released to enable him receive treatment abroad.
Angry at the re-arrest of Mr. Dasuki after granting him his request to travel, Justice Ademola fumed: “Court order must be obeyed. What is wrong in the defendant traveling and coming back to face trial? Only a fit person can stand trial and investigation. My own orders will not be flouted”.
Now that Mr. Dasuki has realised that the net is closing in on him, he too has resorted to feigning illness. It is simply not plausible that this is a real sudden illness striking a major public figure. The fake illness is essentially to neutralise any further investigation; better still, to stall the case till the second coming of Christ. This is an act of desperation to escape justice.
The claim that Mr. Dasuki is sick of cancer is a filthy lie. He’s not alone in the game to con 170 million Nigerians. These con artists operate through lies, vile deceptions, and murderous fraud. The evidence of their ‘illness’ is faked – and this is particularly revealed in the timing of their sickness. Agreed, any one could fall sick at any time. Sickness doesn’t give short or long notices. Mr. Dasuki’s “sickness” is more of a planned, coached, and rehearsed excuse than a coincidence. It’s a cock-and-bull story!
How come throughout the Jonathan years when these suspects were junketing all over the world, building castles all over the place, stashing money in known and unknown bank accounts, wining and dining with the rich and the famous, they didn’t complain of mere headache, talk more of cancer? Dasuki’s story is simply not believable, not to any degree.
If the 86-year old former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak could stand trial on his hospital stretcher, there is no reason why any of the accused could not be brought to court dead or alive. As part of his war on corruption, President Buhari by executive power should stop all politicians from going overseas for medical treatment. They must be treated at home. After all, they are responsible for the sordid state of our healthcare. Many poor Nigerians die of cancer and other diseases everyday due to the lack of treatment. Let the wicked and corrupt politicians have a taste of the hemlock being forced down the throat of impoverished Nigerians.
There is every effort by some people, especially those who are related to Dasuki by way of treasury looting, to give credence to his fraud. For example, the star of EkitiGate, the ex-danfo driver governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose came to the defence of Dasuki: “The department of State Services (DSS) placement of former NSA under house arrest despite court order that his passport be released so that he can travel abroad for medical treatment is wicked, inhuman, dictatorial and a clear attempt to deny him of his rights to life as enshrined in the constitution of Nigerian.”
Nigerians, don’t be surprised to see Mr. Dasuki staring at us with those vicious, soul-less eyes, laughing in his gluttony while perfecting another concocted story to escape trial. Regardless of the outcome of corruption cases against the corrupt politicians who feign illness in order to flee from justice, their legacy is one of wretchedness and filthy corruption, whether dead, alive, or in limbo.
These wanton destroyers of our economy and of the common people are nothing other than cowards who would fake their death. It’s all as a means to ensure that they to escape any scrutiny and any trial for their high crimes against humanity.