Corruption: Set Up Truth Commission To Probe Past Govts From 1984 To Date, PDP Tells Buhari
The leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has reiterated its support for a honest, holistic and total war against corruption by the Muhammadu Buhari Administration even as it called for the trial and prosecution of all those involved, including those the administration claimed had returned their ‘loots’ to government coffers.
The opposition party, however, kicked against what it termed “one-sided public trial and mob conviction” of accused persons without following the age-long and worldwide legal process wherein all accused persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.
The party opined that mere investigation does not automatically translate to a guilty verdict on those concerned, urging the All Progressives Congress-led government to put an end to the brutal mob and public conviction of individuals and the transfer of the burden of proof on people being investigated.
“We restate for emphasis that a media and public war against corruption is good, but it should not be limited to only those opposed to the President and the ruling party. In fact, until top officials of the former government open up on the exact source of the funding, it remains premature to be accusing our party members of corrupt practices”, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, said in a statement on Sunday.
The statement said if indeed, the government’s investigation of corruption includes the expenditure of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s security votes from 2011, then it should be extended to a public inquisition on the security votes of past Presidents and Heads of State from 1984 to date as well as the award of contracts by the defunct Petroleum Task Force (PTF), which Buhari headed under the late Sani Abacha military regime.
“Nevertheless, if indeed the government’s investigation includes the expenditure of President Jonathan security votes from 2011, then it should be extended to a public inquisition on the following: The security votes of all past Presidents and Heads of state from 1984; The award of contracts by the petroleum task force from 1993 to 1999; expenditure of our military purchases and expenditure during the Bakassi wars, the fight against militancy in the Niger Delta, military interventions in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Somalia, Rwanda among others; the source of funding of the PDP and APC’s 2015 Presidential campaigns; the contributions from APC controlled state governors for their Presidential campaign and the beneficiaries thereof as well as allegations that people were made ministers just to cover up the slush fund that they provided to finance the APC presidential campaign.
“In the light of the way and manner of this government’s selective prosecution of the war against corruption, the PDP challenges the government to set up a National Truth Commission wherein politicians and other Nigerians publicly discuss the true meaning of corrupt practice in our land. This commission would also provide a platform for a proper public inquisition into the mind-boggling wealth of some Nigerians in public office.
“Nigerians are quite eager to learn the business and investment tricks of past and present public officers in the APC fold, especially former governors, former ministers as well as their national leader, who suddenly acquired multi-billions investments and are now reputed to be the richest politicians in the country”, the statement said.
It stated that if indeed Buhari in anyway whatsoever, desires to probe the Jonathan administration, he should do so instead “going round in circles”.
The party further stated that if the present government is desirous of ending sleazes associated with campaign funds, the proposed National Truth Commission will present an avenue for Nigerians to openly debate the issues with facts and figures.
“If truly this government has provided hundreds of millions of naira to columnists, media analysts and commentators as well as social media writers and bloggers to castigate, denigrate and embarrass the PDP and its leaders, then the PDP, being a party that is out of power and especially against the present hostility of the security agencies, will publicly approach the Truth Commission with revelations backed with evidence, facts and figures”, Metuh said.
The opposition party issued a final warning to major beneficiaries of its 16 years in power, especially those it said had a lot of proven baggage yet attempt to adorn a sanctimonious apparel, saying it will no longer fold its arms and watch them castigate and denigrate a party on which platform they had the opportunity to serve.