The Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Prof. Itse Sagay, has unequivocally said he has no iota of doubt that the president-elect, Senator Bola Tinubu, would sustain the tempo of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in fighting corruption once he is sworn in as president.
Sagay, who is a professor of Law, stated that Tinubu demonstrated abundantly during his eight-year tenure as governor of Lagos State that he has zero tolerance for corruption.
He expressed confidence in Tinubu during a media parley in Lagos, to showcase the achievements of the PACAC, where he also said the committee’s greatest achievement was in the area of developing the capacity of anti-corruption agencies and the judiciary on how to deal with corrupt cases.
He said: “On whether the fight against corruption will be sustained under the incoming government? My personal opinion is yes, because the incoming president (Tinubu) had no tolerance for corruption when he was governor of Lagos State.
“I give you an example: when it was learnt that some Lagos State judges were corrupt, what the attorney general did then was to upgrade all their conditions and each was given a house and four wheel vehicles.
“The state government increased their allowances and other comforts. After that he (Tinubu) kept his eye on all of them and any one of them who committed the slightest act of corruption was forced to resign. That was under the Tinubu’s administration in Lagos State.
“So, whatever story one might have heard about him, to my knowledge, does not apply to his zeal to operate a government without any stain and without corruption.”
Sagay also said every individual has the right to hire a bullion van to convey cash.
“If you have lot of money which you want to take somewhere you can hire a bullion van. It is not a crime. So that cannot be held against him. The sweetness of the pudding is in the eating. So, let us wait and see what happens. I do not expect any toning down on the fight against corruption” under Tinubu’s presidency,” the Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), said.
He added that, “in my view, the greatest achievement of PACAC is in building the capacity of anti-corruption agencies to do their jobs. We gave them training on prosecution, training on drawing up charges and we assembled experts from all over the world to produce manual on how they shall do their work.
“We trained judges also on how to deal with corrupt cases. We got judges from Canada, Ghana and various countries in the world who are involved in corruption cases to come to Nigeria to discuss with their colleagues on how to handle corruption cases.
“We are going to recommend to the government for assistance to the judiciary to empower them to be more effective in the war against corruption. However, whatever we may do may not cover the conduct of a judge who is corrupt and want to be corrupt.”
Speaking during the media parley, a member of the PACAC who is also a Professor of Criminology, University of Jos, Prof. E. Alemika, disclosed that members of the anti-corruption community in Nigeria were pained when President Muhammadu Buhari granted presidential pardon to Mr. Joshua Dariye and Mr. Jolly Nyame, former governors of Plateau State and Taraba State respectively, who were convicted and sentenced to jail over corrupt offences.
Alemika said: “Everybody that was involved in anti-corruption fight was pained by the pardon granted to Dariye and Nyame. But unfortunately that was a decision that went through the highest body in the country, the Council of States.
“How come no one spotted it in the Council of State in which all former chief justices of Nigeria were present, in which all former heads of state were present and all incumbent governors were present. What happened? That is the question we should be asking ourselves.
“The president could have released them by commuting their jail sentence to a shorter period without a pardon because the consequence of that pardon is a different one. It is as if they have never committed the crime.
“And we have not heard the end of it because if it was pardon, it means all properties seized from them should not have been seized. But I do not know whether they signed any undertaking.
“But I can assure you that many of us who are involved felt the pain. I felt the pain from the EFCC; I felt the pain from ICPC; a pain for police officers, a pain for judges who went through this process in getting their convictions.”