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Algerians outraged over latest corruption accusations against state oil and gas behemoth


Fox News

March 3, 2013 / Associated Press

ALGIERS, Algeria –  Corrupt and gorging itself at the trough of Algeria’s vast oil wealth — that’s how most Algerians privately view the elites running the country. Yet few have been willing to say so publicly, until now.

New corruption scandals are shining a new spotlight on state oil company Sonatrach, which jointly with BP and Norway’s Statoil runs the desert gas plant that was the scene of a bloody hostage standoff in January.

A recent anguished public plea by a former Sonatrach official shocked Algerians and raised hopes that the leadership will try to clean up the oil and gas sector in Africa’s largest country.

There’s plenty at stake: Algeria is also one of the continent’s richest countries, as the No. 3 supplier of natural gas to Europe, with $190 billion in reserves, up $8 billion in the last year alone.

The Feb. 18 letter by former Sonatrach vice president Hocine Malti in the French-language Algerian daily El Watan broke the silence around the company. Addressing the shadowy leader of Algeria’s intelligence service, it asks if he is really serious about investigating new bribery scandals involving Sonatrach and Italian and Canadian companies.

When Italian prosecutors in January announced an investigation into oil company ENI and subsidiary SAIPEM for allegedly paying €197 million ($256.1 million) in bribes to secure an €11 billion contract with Sonatrach, it provoked a firestorm in the Algerian media, until the North African country’s justice system finally announced its own inquiry Feb. 10.

Malti, author of the “Secret History of Algerian Oil,” scoffed that Algerian authorities were only following the lead of international investigators and wondered if Mohammed “Tewfik” Mediene, the feared head of the Department of Research and Security, would allow the real sources of corruption to be tried in court.

“Is it too much to dream that some of your fellow generals, certain ministers or corrupt businessmen — members of the pyramid that you are on top of — members of this fraternity, might also end up in front of justice?” he asked in the letter. “Or will it be like always, just the small fry are targeted by this new investigation?”

“Will we have to continue to listen for news from the Milan prosecutor to know the sad reality of our country, to discover how certain people, whom you know quite well, people you have come across in your long professional career, have gorged themselves on millions of dollars and euros of the country’s oil revenues?” he added.

The response to the letter was swift. Energy Minister Youcef Yousfi promised that once an investigation was complete “we will take all necessary measures” against those harming the interests of the nation.

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who rarely appears in public, said in a written statement, “these revelations provoke our disgust and condemnation, but I trust the justice system of our country to bring clarity to the web of accusations and discover who is responsible.”

Malti told The Associated Press by telephone from his home in France that he wrote the letter partly out of anger that Algeria had to rely on foreign prosecutors to reveal the extent of its own corruption and addressed it to the head of intelligence to shock people.

“It made a lot of noise because with this letter, I broke a taboo,” he said. “The head of the DRS is an unapproachable figure in Algeria, at times we can’t even pronounce (say) his name.”

It is not the first time the state-owned hydrocarbon company, which provides Algeria with 97 percent of its hard currency earnings, has been enmeshed in scandal.

In 2010, its head, three of its vice presidents and the minister of energy were all fired in a corruption investigation run by Mediene’s intelligence agency.

However, rather than restore faith in the country’s corruption-fighting mechanism, the 2010 purge was widely seen as a chance to settle scores between the DRS and Bouteflika, since most of those fired were his close associates.

Algeria ranks 105 out of 176 in Transparency International‘s 2012 corruption index, and the occasional corruption investigation often just seems to be how the elites settle their scores, such as a string of revelations about prominent politicians in November, which observers said were linked to next year’s presidential elections.

“I realize that people might be shocked by what is happening at Sonatrach — these scandals are terrible and we condemn them as individual acts,” Sonatrach head Abdelhamid Zerguine said on the radio Sunday, the anniversary of Algeria’s 1971 nationalization of its oil industry from the French. He promised to fight further corruption “with utmost vigor,” even while denying it was systemic.

The scale of the scandals is staggering. Nearly €200 million ($260 million) was paid out by the Italians, according to the Milan prosecutor. ENI has pledged full cooperation with prosecutors in their investigations.

Meanwhile, according to a joint investigation by Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper and an Italian business paper published Feb. 22, Canadian company SNC-Lavalin paid a series of bribes of its own to secure a $1 billion engineering contract. Company spokeswoman Lilly Nguyen responded to queries about the case saying “to the best of our knowledge, SNC-Lavalin is not specifically under investigation in the Sonatrach matter.”

With commissions on deals like this going to the highest levels of power, the Algerian press rarely reports about it — until the subject is broached by the foreign media.

Malti, who was there at the founding of Sonatrach in 1963, estimated that the country was losing between $3 and 6 billion annually to corruption in the oil sector alone.

“If a judge says that an inquiry has opened or even a minister promises to take measures against ‘people working against Algeria’s interests,’ I don’t believe them,” Mohammed Saidj, a professor of international relations at Algiers University, told the AP. “It’s just words to appease a public opinion shocked when it hears about the corruption and billions of dollars stolen by high-level political and military officials, including those close to the president.”

The chances of this situation changing are dim, considering how much the country relies on a single company.

In a chapter on Sonatrach in the 2012 book “Oil and Governance,” John Entelis, an Algeria expert at New York’s Fordham University, described the importance of a company established just a year after Algeria won its independence from France, and wrote, “Algeria’s governing elite rely upon Sonatrach for revenue from which they gain power, patronage, and privileges.”

Entelis told AP that the letter in El Watan shows that Algerians are increasingly able to complain about this system, even if that won’t necessarily change things.

“This is the heart of the Algerian political system — Sonatrach, the DRS, civil society in the form of … willingness to make these things public. Some say this is what enables it to maintain itself instead of collapse,” he said.

___

Paul Schemm reported from Rabat, Morocco. Associated Press writer Karim Kebir contributed to this report from Algiers, Algeria.

Analysis: New law fails to ease oil concerns in Uganda


IRIN NEWS

KAMPALA/NAIROBI, 13 December 2012 (IRIN) – Uganda’s parliament recently passed a law to govern the exploration, development and production of the country’s estimated three billion barrels of oil, a resource whose extraction will directly affect the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people.

While the law streamlines the burgeoning industry, analysts have raised concerns over transparency and over who controls the sector.

“The new law helps set clear guidelines under which the oil sector is to be run and managed, and makes clear who is in charge of what roles,” said Tony Otoa, director of Great Lakes Public Affairs (GLPA), a Uganda-based think tank focusing on oil and governance. “However, there are some concerns about transparency and too much power within the oil industry in the hands of the president.”

The bill was passed on 7 December after weeks of wrangling over its controversial Clause 9, which gives the energy minister wide-ranging powers, including authority over the granting and revoking of oil licenses, negotiating and endorsing petroleum agreements, and promoting and sustaining transparency in the petroleum sector. Many members of parliament (MPs) felt these powers should be held by an independent national oil authority.

“Essentially, the standoff, which has ended, was about the withdrawal of trust from a government that is battered by corruption scandals. Also the way the cabinet operates is that, in the past, the feeling has been that some key ministries, like finance, are effectively run by the presidency after being stuffed by yes-men or -women. The pushback against Clause 9 also comes as the Central Bank opened its vaults to a large withdrawal in 2010 [US$740 million to buy six fighter jets] only for approvals to be sought retrospectively,” said Angelo Izama, a Ugandan journalist and oil sector analyst.

“Loss of trust”

“This loss of trust is behind the resistance to greater control by the executive,” he added. “The executive has not been a bad shepherd of the process so far. Uganda’s negotiating position has been tougher with the oil companies, ironically, without the oversight of parliament. However, public scandals elsewhere have negatively affected the ability of the president to convince lawmakers – especially of his party – that he means well.”

A number of donors – including the UK and Ireland – recently suspended aid to Uganda following allegations of deep-rooted corruption in the Office of the Prime Minister. The prime minister, the former energy minister and the foreign affairs minister were all accused of taking kick-backs from oil companies in 2011, charges that remain unproven but that nevertheless damage the reputation of the government.

“The country lacks trust in the state… Institutions and officials have lost legitimacy, and for such an important bill to vest too much power into a political appointee is a recipe for disaster,” said Stephen Oola, a transitional justice and governance analyst at Uganda’s Makerere University Refugee Law Project.

“Granting and revoking licenses and negotiations are technical in nature. We need an independent commission or authority made up of people of good competence, technical ability and experience, and good morals to guard our oil,” said Frank Gashumba, a local businessman and social activist.

Proponents of Clause 9 say licensing powers are safer in the hands of the cabinet than under an oil authority. “The authority is open, easy to bribe and manipulate. Cabinet is bigger than the authority – members of the executive are answerable to Ugandans because they are elected leaders,” said Kenneth Omona, a ruling party MP.

Those opposed to it say they will challenge the law, which was passed with 149 votes in favour and 39 against; some 198 MPs did not turn up to vote.

“The fight is not complete; the passing of the bill is liable to be challenged in courts of law,” said Theodore Ssekikubo, ruling party MP and chair of the parliamentary forum on oil and gas. “If we fail to go to court, we shall subject the matter to a referendum for all Ugandans to pronounce themselves on this strategic resource. We want to ensure transparency and accountability in the oil sector.”

Transparency

There are also concerns about the law’s confidentiality clause, which limits the amount of information accessible by the public.

“The law is lacking transparency – it imposes confidentiality on officials working within the sector, even after they leave office, so there is no opportunity for whistle-blowing or for the public to have access to information on, say, production-sharing agreements,” GLPA’s Otoa said.

He noted that Uganda still hasn’t joined the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), an international scheme that attempts to set a global standard for transparency in oil, gas and mining, further compounding the sector’s lack of transparency. As a member of the EITI, Uganda and oil companies involved in the country would be required to publish all payments and revenues from the industry.

While Total and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), two of Uganda’s major oil partners, are listed on Wall Street and are therefore subject to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act – which requires disclosure of payments relating to the acquisition of licenses for exploration and production of oil, gas and minerals – the Irish firm Tullow Oil, another of Uganda’s main oil partners, is not under any similar obligations.

“I am worried we [legislators] and the public can’t access and scrutinize these agreements. You can imagine the recently negotiated and signed oil agreements have not been accessed by the public, not even by members of parliament,” Beatrice Anywar, former shadow energy minister, told IRIN.

The impact of the oil sector has so far been most acutely felt by communities around Lake Albert, thousands of whom have had to move – some willingly and some forcefully – to make room for an oil refinery, which is expected to take up 29sqkm and displace some 8,000 people.

Land issues

“The government is prosecuting the refinery resettlement by the book. However, managing public expectations and the process of multiple decision makers in Uganda’s complex land legal system [Uganda has multiple land systems, including customary, leasehold and freehold] has contributed some volatility to the process… What is adequate compensation? And who determines that? Is it the market or should this be done by the government?” said journalist Izama.

“As a partner to the oil companies, it’s questionable too if the government can make the best decisions for the affected people as it would look to keep project costs fairly low,” he continued. “It is still a dilemma which is jurisprudential as well as political.”

He noted that much of the oil is in game reserves and a sensitive basin with lakes, rivers and a rare biodiversity, and borders the Democratic Republic of Congo, which could also pose challenges for peaceful production; there has already been some tension between the two countries over their boundaries within Lake Albert.

“The process of consensus-building is still weak, and regardless of how it’s arrived at, displacements will create uncomfortable realities, including land and job pressure.”

According to Otoa, Uganda’s lack of a comprehensive land policy makes compensation issues more complex. “We need clear land policies to ensure people are properly compensated – there is a Resettlement Action Plan in place, but it has not been implemented, and a draft land policy has not been actualized, leaving these communities vulnerable,” he said.

He noted that the lack of education among the local population, both in the oil-rich areas and the rest of the country, had contributed to the continued problems in the sector.

“We have focused too much on educating MPs on the implications and importance of good oil governance. We need to move to people-centred approaches and encourage dialogue in the public sphere, which will lead to people demanding accountability from their MPs and the government,” he added.

Ultimately, Izama said, responsible actions by the government will be the difference between Uganda’s oil making a significant impact on the country’s economy or causing conflict and greater poverty.

“Pressure on public institutions prior to commercial oil production is an effective way of counteracting the resource curse. If this public engagement falters, if the transition [from President Museveni to his successor] is volatile, some of the scenarios of the so-called oil curse are possible,” he said. “Overall the tensions are high, but responsible actions by public and political institutions like the past debate show progress is possible.”

EU donors freeze aid to Uganda over corruption


Bloomberg News

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — More Western donors are freezing aid to Uganda after a scam in which up to $13 million in donor money was embezzled in the office of Uganda’s prime minister. The aid freeze is the kind of action long demanded by transparency campaigners who charge that the money oils a corrupt system.

Uganda has a reputation as a corrupt country, but the latest scandal — brought to light by the country’s auditor general in October — is remarkable for its details: More than $220,000 was spent on gas in four days, millions of dollars were diverted to buy luxury vehicles for top officials, and millions were deposited into individuals’ private accounts.

Because the money was for the rehabilitation of parts of northern Uganda devastated by decades of warlord Joseph Kony‘s brutal insurgency, the scandal has provoked a lasting rage around the country and inspired aid cuts that foreign donors had been reluctant to inflict on this East African country.

Roberto Ridolfi, the head of the European Union delegation to Uganda, said in a statement late Tuesday that the scandal and those before it amounted to “a breach of trust” on the part of Ugandan authorities. Sweden, Germany, Ireland, Britain and Denmark have already cut or cancelled all aid to Uganda over the scam, saying they have lost faith in the government’s capacity to spend money responsibly.

Western donors fund up to 25 percent of Uganda’s budget.

Ridolfi said the EU and its development partners in Uganda “will withhold pending budget support disbursements and any further commitments for an initial period of up to (six) months.”

The donors are giving Uganda until April to pay back all the lost money, investigate the scandal, and take action against all the suspects. But investigations of this nature, when they happen, rarely produce the intended results in Uganda, where corruption charges are often politicized and then dismissed. This year three ministers with close ties to President Yoweri Museveni who faced corruption charges were set free by a judge who said they were scapegoats. The three politicians swiftly returned to their jobs […]

Some campaigners who had long urged donors to act tougher against official waste and graft say the audacity of the latest scandal vindicates their calls for the dismantling of an often-comfortable relationship between the state and its donors. They want foreign aid to be channeled through non-state actors engaged in service delivery and for donors to work directly with contractors in cases where the authorities cannot be trusted with cash.

“For the first time the donors are coming out and putting clear benchmarks and I think it’s a good move,” said Cissy Kagaba of the Anti-Corruption Coalition of Uganda, a watchdog group. “But there are other alternatives they can use to ensure that the money reaches the intended beneficiaries.” Read the full article here.

Senegal’s reforms and red carpets


Africa Report

November 27, 2012

Senegal’s President Macky Sall has slashed government spending to finance new infrastructure projects.

Faced with an audit of Wade-era projects, the opposition says he is playing political games. Dakar has been rolling out the red carpet in recent weeks.

Elected in March on a reform ticket, President Macky Sall is in demand as an interlocutor – whether it is by the World Bank, the UN or France’s President François Hollande, who stopped in Dakar on 12 October en route to his more controversial landing in Kinshasa for the Francophonie summit.

This month, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation is holding its annual development conference in Dakar to salute Senegal’s political achievements.

Dakar’s National Assembly gave Hollande the chance to set out his Africa policy, which he insisted was non-interventionist and non-paternalistic.

Hollande seized the chance for a tête à tête with Sall, seeking his help for the regional effort to tackle the worsening in- security in Mali.

Senegal’s troops, alongside Ghana’s, are regarded as the most professional in the region.

But Sall has plenty of local problems to tackle – such as the perennial rainy-season flooding.

The government’s failure to invest in flood defences was one of the reasons for voters turning against former President Abdoulaye Wade.

In September, Macky Sall pushed through a bill to abolish the Senate, the second chamber in the National Assembly.

He promised that the 767bn CFA francs ($1.5bn) would be used to finance a 10-year plan for effective flood defences, storm drainage and sanitation.

Opponents to Sall’s plan accuse him of partisan plotting.

The Senate was dominated by members of Wade’s [I]Parti Démocratique Sénégalais[/I].

But Sall’s supporters insist the plan reflects the need to cut ballooning government overheads inherited from the Wade era.

The Sall government aims to cut the budget deficit from current levels of 7.4% of gross domestic product down to 4% by 2015.

So far, Sall has closed 59 moribund state institutions, banned first-class travel for civil servants and is selling a presidential jet.

To promote accountability, Sall has published details of all official salaries, declared his own assets and promised to cut salaries at state-run companies to below 5m CFA francs per month.

“Humility, sobriety and rigour should govern our politics,” Sall told The Africa Report’s sister magazine Jeune Afrique after his election.

“I assure you that there will be a profound break from the practices that were in force under my predecessor.”

The new government has quickly launched audits of government departments and projects for evidence of illicit disbursements.

This includes projects run by Wade’s son Karim, such as the 650bn CFA franc energy crisis programme, Plan Takkal.

Britain, France and the United States have pledged cooperation in tracking down stolen money.

Sall rejects claims of political vindictiveness: “The only thing that interests us is that the errors of the past don’t repeat themselves,” he said.

The courts will take cases identified by the audit.

His promise to cut the presidential term from seven to five years with immediate effect won local and international plaudits, as did his agreement with the African Union to set up a special tribunal for Chad’s ex-leader Hissène Habré, in exile in Senegal since 1990.

Nigeria: Zobe Dam Unutilized 29 Years After Commissioning


AllAfrica.com

By Shehu Bubakar

August 4th, 2012

Completed in 1983, Zobe dam is still not being used for water supply, for local irrigation or for power generation.

The construction of Zobe Dam near Dutsin-Ma in Katsina state began in 1972 and was commissioned in July 1983 by the defunct second republic administration then President Shehu Shagari. It has however been abandoned soon after it was commissioned. The Dam, Weekly Trust learnt, could not be able to pump a single cup of water for consumption to the host community and other neighbouring states.

The Dam constructed specifically to provide potable drinking water to Dutsin-Ma and adjoining towns and villages, provide water for irrigation farming and serve as an instrument for flood control, but checks by Weekly Trust revealed that when in 1983 the Dam construction was completed and commissioned, successive administrations that ought to construct water treatment plans for the treatment of potable water and the construction of channels for distribution of water for irrigation were abandoned.

Constructed at the sum of N52 million in the early 80s, Zobe Dam occupies an area of 5,200 hectares with a 2.75 kilometers long standard embankment designed to prevent the water from spilling out of control. Though solid and still very strong to hold the 177 million cubic meters of water it is designed to contain, the earth Dam being manually operated get it water from Karaduwa and Bunsuru rivers and discharges its excess water to as far as Wamakko in Sokoto state where it joins the Sokoto River.

42 year old resident of Dutsin-Ma, Malam Abubakar Sani said though he was too young to know when the Dam was constructed, he grew up to see it as an abandoned project, adding, “The story I had about the Dam was not a very good one. Some people said Shagari could not be able to award contract for the laying of the pipes to draw water to Katsina and Dutsin-Ma because shortly after commissioning the Dam, he was over thrown by General Muhammadu Buhari.

“Buhari’s government was said to have refused to complete the project believing that the credit will go to the Shagari’s regime he over threw. Other successive administrations also abandoned it. When Buhari’s led PTF (Petroleum Trust Fund) embarked on the construction of the water treatment plan that could have made it to start treating water and pumping water for both domestic and industrial use, General Sani Abacha died and his government and the PTF regime died before the completion of the project.

“Obasanjo’s administration refused to continue with the project because it may make Buhari more popular being the initiator. And you know Buhari has all this while been the major opposition leader in the country. Not even the Musa Yar’adua’s regime could go ahead with the project because though very dear to the state and the development of irrigation activities and human welfare, the fact remains that the water treatment plant was initiated by Buhari and is an opposition leader. This is the most reasonable and acceptable theory you can ever get on the reason why the project is abandoned for this long period of time.

“We are very much aware that the present administration in the state did its best to get the federal government to re-award the contract but all its efforts failed. That informed the decision of the state government to award contract for the construction of its own Dam at the same Dutsin-Ma just a forth night ago. That is to show you that the state government and the people of the state have lost confidence in the Dam ever becoming functional,” he said.

But the Managing Director and chief executive officer of Sokoto-Rima River Basin Development Authority (SRRBDA) who are the custodians of all federal government own Dams in Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto and Kebbi states, Engineer Khalid Yusuf said though it is not within his purview to know why the project suffers setback, he suspect inadequate funds.

“Possibly because of cash flow but it is not contractual. The fact of the matter is that one is not within my purview. It is under the purview of the federal ministry of water resources. Even the irrigation facility construction is under the ministry. But when the facility is completed and handed over to us, we are going to be the custodians.

“I think it has to do with the problem of cash flow. I don’t know much about it. I know it is a very laudable project in which government will be very proud to finish and put to use because it will impact very positively on the transformation agenda of Mr President. Once that project is put to use, it will increase food production. It will also provide job opportunity and improve on the income generation. We are talking of 1,200 hectares. It is not a small project.

“The dam was completed and commissioned by the then President Shehu Shagari in 1983. That is almost 30 years now. So, if somebody said it is underutilized, yes it is underutilized. I must admit that the company that designed and constructed that dam did an excellent job because it is still solid. It is still storing the water but unfortunately some of the things that will put the water into use have not emanated.

“For instance, there should be a regional water supply. The contract has been going on for a very longtime now. The water treatment plant is on the ground. Some of the pipes are there. When you go along Kafin Soli towards Kankiya you see some pipes and tanks being erected. Likewise the irrigation project which started and stopped. The farmlands are there. Majority of the channels have been constructed. I believe in few months that contracts can be completed. But because of problem of cash flow, work has stopped there. Once the project is completed, is a matter of few months we shall start tapping its potentials. It is long overdue,” he said.

He said some people are thinking in terms of installing mini-hydro power plant at Zobe Dam which he said can be made possible. He however, warned that things must be done right so as not to temper with the reason why the dam was initially constructed which include flood control, regional water supply and for irrigated agriculture.

“Yes, hydro power is one of the other facilities we can provide there. It has not been installed but it can be redesigned to incorporate it at both Goronyo and Zobe dams. Already, Bakalori dam has the facility but unfortunately it stopped functioning about two years after installation. That was in the 80s. However, government is interested in reviving the facility.

“We are testing the ground to see if the facility can be revived. Owing to the duration the facility has been out of service, some of the components needed to revive the hydro power turbines may no longer be available. The company that fabricated the turbines and the generators over 30 years ago may not be functional now. They are Italian companies. So, these are the things we have to review and rethink about,” he said.

Weekly Trust investigation revealed that Reynolds Construction Company (RCC) Nigeria Limited handling the construction of the water treatment plant had abandoned the job and demobilized from the site after constructing most of the required structures and even installed the required tanks and machines. What is not however clear is whether or not the installed machines are still serviceable after several years of neglect.

The construction of the two main channels awarded to CGC from the Dam to the irrigation farms with a combined distance of 44 kilometers have been abandoned after recording some achievements. One of the channels measuring 23 kilometers has recorded 12 kilometers while the other one of 21 kilometers has reached 11 kilometers before the company stopped work.

Both companies were reported to have abandoned the projects and demobilized from sites due to none payment of their contract sum by government. Though there was no evidence of vandalism of any equipment at the time this reporter visited the area, there is fear that some of the installed machines may decay.

Efforts made to seek comments from the Minister for Water Resources were not successful as he is either said to be busy or out on official assignment. However, a source at the ministry that spoke on condition of anonymity said frequent changes in government policies were responsible for abandoning such projects for long.

“Today government will merge us with the ministry of agriculture and the next day they will say we are on our own. Until you get leaders at all levels that knows the value of mass agricultural production, such projects that are capable of turning around the economy of this country will continue to be neglected or even abandoned. It is true that both CGC Nigeria Limited that was constructing the channels and RCC that was constructing the water treatment are being owed some money and have not been paid so sometimes now and so they all demobilized and left the sites.

“No, you do not blame the ministry but you blame members of the National Assembly from that state. What is their work? Don’t they know how important the project is to the state? What have they done to ensure that it is completed? What other work do they have more than to pursue their constituency projects? Let us face the truth,” the source said.

Helicopter crash kills Kenyan security minister, 5 others in forest outside capital


Washington Post

By Associated Press, Published: June 10

NAIROBI, Kenya — Kenya’s internal security minister was killed with five other people when the police helicopter they were traveling in crashed in a forest near Kenya’s capital, officials said. An anti-corruption crusader said the incident calls into question the government’s procurement of airplanes and helicopters for its security forces.

Internal Security Minister George Saitoti and his deputy, Orwa Ojode, were among the six killed in the Sunday crash, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka said. Two pilots and two bodyguards also died in the crash, officials said.

Anti-Corruption crusader Mwalimu Mati said the crash should make the country focus on the history of bogus government purchases for the Kenya Police Air wing. Mati runs the corruption watchdog Mars Group, which has done several reports on the government’s purchase of police helicopters and their maintenance. It has called the purchases questionable, and pointed out that they have cost the country millions of dollars since 1999.

“Corruption in public procurement can come back to bite you,” Mati said…Read More.

Nigeria: Jonathan orders screening of contractors


Vanguard

By Rotimi Ajayi

October 20, 2011

In a bid to reduce corruption and non-performing contracts in the Federal Civil Service, President Goodluck Jonathan  has ordered comprehensive screening of contractors and service providers for the Federal Government.

The directive was said to have been issued following a review meeting with some members of the National Economic Management Team after the recent retreat with members of the Organized Private Sectors where it was agreed that there was need to put sanity to awards of Federal Government contracts and jobs.

An indication towards the implementation of the Presidential directive was contained in a statement issued yesterday in Abuja by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).

The statement issued by the Director General of the Bureau, Emeka Ezeh, pointed out that arrangements had been concluded to commence registration, categorisation and classification of all Federal Government contractors, consultants and service providers.

The Director-General stated that the project would revolutionise government procurement process and encourage more transparency and efficiency in the procurement process.

According to him, the objective of the database is to register, classify and categorize contractors, consultants and service providers as a platform of verification by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), other entities, and interested organisations. It will also ensure that contractors, consultants and service providers of equal competencies and capabilities bid for specific jobs.

He added that the project would create an electronic interface with stakeholders and deepen the capacities of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and their leaderships to attain full compliance with the provisions of the Act in order to positively transform the economy of Nigeria.

He said, “the usefulness of the Act in Government’s obvious responsibilities, particularly in implementing strategic and sustainable plans to develop infrastructural facilities cannot be overemphasized. This is not just to fulfil a basis responsibility of government but also in order to attain the proposed Vision 20:2020.

“The benefits of the procurement reform process importantly correlate with the present administration’s transformation agenda.  This agenda, as articulated by government seeks to vigorously implement the initiatives or programmes that will enhance the Administration’s strategic plans for Economic Growth.

“The ultimate objective of the Bureau is to ensure that all Federal procurements are strictly done in compliance with the provisions of the Public Procurement Act, 2007, and that all ongoing projects are in line with sectoral targets and priorities. It is when viable ongoing projects are adequately funded, completed and commissioned that the populace will be the better for it.”

Modes of Punditry, Modes of Influence


Woldbank.org

August 10th, 2011

By Sina Odugbemi

Years ago, I was a writer of opinions and editorials on the leading newspaper of influence in Lagos, Nigeria. We had on the editorial board  advisers to we the writers men who had vast experience of government and business both within and outside Nigeria. I learned a lesson from them that has stayed with me. They taught me that if you want policy makers to take you seriously even when they disagree with you, your commentary must meet two requirements.

What is saddening about our age of volubility is that the vast majority of public affairs commentators do not meet these two requirements. Lots of commentators do not have real mastery of the policy issues they are commenting on. Plus there is an epidemic of cheating, of ignoring political realities and simply assailing policy makers and leaders, and yelling: ‘Just fix it! Just show leadership!’ Leadership is coming to mean Performer of Miracles! Read more

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