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Nigeria refuses to probe state governor

Posted by AFP on 2004/11/26 | Views: 983 |

Nigeria refuses to probe state governor


A Nigerian local state parliament has declined to probe a recently reinstated state governor accused by President Olusegun Obasanjo of corruption and who is under investigation for money laundering by the British police.

JOS - A Nigerian local state parliament has declined to probe a recently reinstated state governor accused by President Olusegun Obasanjo of corruption and who is under investigation for money laundering by the British police.

In a letter addressed to the Federal Attoney General and minister of justice, the speaker of the Plateau state assembly, Simon Lalong, said that probing governor Joshu Dariye over corruption was not the parliament's priority.

"The parliament's "uttermost priority...is to deploy its energy and resources in programmes of the peace process in the state," Lalong said in the letter, copies of which were made available to journalists.

The letter was a reply to the attorney general's letter of November 10.

The speaker's letter is a reversal of the parliament's earlier stance last Friday promising to study the allegations of financial impropriety levelled at Dariye and probe him if found guilty thereafter.

Lalong accused the federal government of dancing to the tune of the British authorities and for allegedly applying "selectively" the anti-corruption law, and thereby using Dariye as a scapegoat.

The letter, copied to the British high commissioner (ambassador) to Nigeria and the leadership of the Nigerian national assembly, said that prosecution of Dariye by the office of the Federal Attorney general was "subjudice" as the matter was already before a federal high court and the code of conduct tribunal.

The letter also challenged the federal government to make public the asset declarations of all public functionaries including Obasanjo as well as the recent report on Nigeria by global anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International.

The report, dismissed by Abuja, placed Nigeria third on the world's corruption ladder.

Obasanjo has accused Dariye, who returned to office on Thursday after serving a six-month suspension, of smuggling millions of dollars out of the country.

On May 18, Obasanjo declared a state of emergency on the state and replaced Dariye with the region's former military administrator, Chris Alli, following a bloody massacre in the town of Yelwa, where a Christian ethnic militia murdered around 600 Muslims.

Obasanjo said the state parliament, which was also suspended, and which resumed work on Tuesday, would decide the fate of Dariye.

Dariye was arrested in London by the Metropolitan Police in September and questioned over accusations that he had laundered millions of dollars through eight secret British bank accounts.

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