A coalition, Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), has petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari over what it termed tainted personalities of two of the newly-appointed National Commissioners of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The two INEC commissioners identified in the petition signed the coalition chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, are Dr. Mohammed Lecky and Prince Soyebi Adedeji.
Kindly find below the Petition
Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) is a coalition of over hundred and fifty Anti-corruption organizations whose primary aim is to constructively combat corruption vigorously and to ensure the effective monitoring of the various Anti-graft agencies in the fight against corruption and contribute towards the enthronement of transparency, accountability, probity and total commitment in the fight to eradicate corruption in Nigeria.
In its report of the 22nd day of October, 2015, Sahara Reporters stated that it has received documents revealing an investigation into Mohammed Lecky during his tenure as the Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). According to the report, The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) report titled: “Unauthorized Investment of N10.7 Billion and Fraudulent Representation to the Federal Executive Council for the Award of the Contract to Novantus e-Health Systems Ltd by Dr. Mohammed Lecky, Executive Secretary/CEO of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS)” was submitted to former President Umaru Yar’adua on June 4th, 2007.
Furthermore, the report stated that in the aforementioned report signed by the former Executive Chairman of the EFCC Nuhu Ribadu, it was revealed that Mr. Lecky “among other things, authorized the investment of Government funds in three Commercial banks that have no banking relationship with the Scheme to the tune of Ten billion and seven hundred naira (N10.7 billion).” The report also details conflicts of interest between Mr. Lecky and health company Novantus e-Health Nigeria Ltd, which he awarded a contract to during his tenure as the NHIS Executive Secretary.
The EFCC investigation established that Mr. Lecky placed N10.7 billion from the NHIS into private accounts in Zenith, Intercontinental, and Guaranty Trust banks. The investigation found that the principal sum (N10.7 billion) was returned to the NHIS but the accumulated interest off this money “stood at Sixty three million, seven hundred and sixty three thousand, and thirteen naira.”
The report findings also stated “no evidence was seen suggesting that the board or the Minister of Health gave approval for the placement of the funds in the various banks. It was the sole decision of the Executive Secretary.”
It was also learned that Mr. Lecky awarded a company belonging to him, his cousin, and close associates a contract from the NHIS. The investigation said “Novantus e-Health Nigeria Limited was incorporated on the 22nd of July 2005 by a cousin of the ex-Executive Secretary [Mr. Lecky] and his associates with a view to dubiously transferring the contract which was recommended to be awarded to Novantus e-Health USA.” The investigation also noted that Novantus was not a legally formed company until after the public bid disclosed in the Punch Newspaper in 2005.
The conclusion stated “a case of misappropriation of public funds cannot be established against [Mr. Lecky]” but that “a case of abuse of office could be sustained against the suspect on the basis of conflict of interest by influencing the award of a contract to a company in which his cousin is the director.”
Mohammed Lecky was recently appointed as National Commissioner for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by President Buhari, which is saddled with the responsibility of conducting free and fair elections in the country, it will be a grave mistake to allow someone who has been indicted in a case of abuse of office on the basis of conflict of interest hold such a sensitive office.
Mr. President, Following the nullification of the 2007 gubernatorial elections in Ekiti State about two years after for being manifestly flawed, a rerun election was ordered which took place on April 25, 2009, which was also characterized by electoral irregularities and fraud. This prompted the then Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mrs. Adebayo Ayoka to resign her appointment as she claimed that her conscience revolted against the electoral malpractice.
Consequently, Prince Soyebi Adedeji was brought in to stand proxy for Mrs. Adebayo and he practically supervised the rigging of the rerun election in Ekiti State. He was responsible for collating the fraudulent Ido/Osi results. Due to his involvement in the electoral malpractice in Ekiti State and the indictment of the Professor Maurice Iwu led Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) for grand electoral fraud, Prince Soyebi was removed as INEC Commissioner alongside Professor Iwu by former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2010. This also led to his non-inclusion when INEC was reconstituted in 2010.
Yet again, you have nominated Prince Soyebi Adedeji as an INEC Commissioner despite his role in the grand electoral fraud that plagued the past general elections in the country. This to us brings to ridicule the “change” mantra and the fight against corruption that your administration has embarked upon. One would expect that someone like Mr. Soyebi with his record of involvement in electoral fraud and other electoral malpractices, would not have been nominated to an office as sensitive as that of INEC Commissionership, till when thorough investigations have been concluded and his role in the said electoral fraud is brought to a logical conclusion.
CSNAC is therefore by this petition demanding the removal of these people, Mohammed Lecky and Prince Soyebi, as INEC Commissioners to pave way for persons of unimpeachable characters, with untainted proven track records as replacements to hold such important and sensitive offices. Mr. President, you would agree with us that the offices door which they have been appointed are important and capable of contributing to a large extent, to the truncation of this fragile democracy the country is currently grappling with if it is abused in the form of condoning electoral fraud and manipulation.
Thank you in anticipation of your cooperation.