Cabinet: Drop ministerial nominees standing corruption trial, Group tells Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari has been urged not to consider including names of persons standing corruption trial and those with corrupt tendencies in his new cabinet.

The Executive- Secretary, Anti-Corruption and Research Based Data Initiative (ARDI),

Dr Dennis Aghanya gave the advice in a statement made available to newsmen on Sunday in Abuja.

He said sidelining corrupt persons yet to be prosecuted and those standing trial would bestow more credibility on the president as one with zero tolerance to corruption.

Aghanya further explained that it would be most expedient to keep those standing trial out of his cabinet to forestall them funding their trials with public funds.

“This has become necessary to avoid situations whereby cabinet members would use public funds to defend their corruption cases pressed against them by the EFCC or any other anti-graft agencies.

“To achieve this, the EFCC and all the anti-graft agencies in the country should also re-double their efforts in the discharge of their duties in public interest to ensure that names of persons in this category are forwarded to Mr. President to guide him in his appointments.

“The EFCC in particular is overwhelmed with cases bordering on economic fraud and may therefore not remember to ensure this duty.

“This is why we are highlighting this matter at this crucial period when Mr. President would be taking decisions that will border on appointing credible team that will work with him.

“As a matter of commitment to a successful second tenure of Mr. President, especially as it has to do with the fight against corruption, we are bringing up this matter.

“This is not because we have anybody targeted in mind but to serve as a wake-up call on all the parties concerned to discharge their duties efficiently.

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“This is also important so that nobody would take the blame game to the doorstep of Mr. President after he has made his appointments’’, Aghanya said.

He also said: “from our investigation so far, a good number of persons distributing their CV’s around for appointment are caught in this web of allegation.

“All of us owe this country the duty to assist the anti-graft agencies with necessary information that would guide Mr President in appointing persons for screening by the National Assembly into his new cabinet’’.

“We are also monitoring the ongoing tribunal cases and compiling our findings on the activities of judges soiling hands.

“We will forward our petition based on findings to the appropriate agency at the appropriate time.

“We want the judiciary to see us as partners and not to view us a antagonists.

“We want to take our judiciary to the era when somebody is introduced as a judge the society will accord him the respect that office use to carry in the good old days’’.

Aghanya, therefore, called on members of the public to assist the agency with useful information that could enrich the agency’s investigations of corrupt practices,

He said that the fight against corruption was a collective responsibility.

The agency has embarked on series of anti-corruption investigation, the most recent being the one that led to the prosecution and removal of former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen.