Elder statesman, Dr. Tunji Braithwaite, says President Muhammadu Buhari is pampering corrupt government officials in the immediate past government by recovering looted funds from them without prosecuting them.
President Buhari had, during his recent visit to Iran, said that many of those who stole public funds in the past government had started returning the funds. He, however, did not mention the names of the looters.
But Braithwaite said that allowing the corrupt government officials to return stolen funds without being tried was a bigger crime than the act of stealing the funds.
The human rights lawyer, who spoke with our correspondent in an interview on Thursday, said the President was promoting impunity by recovering looted funds through plea bargaining rather than keeping to his promise of ensuring total justice.
He said, “It is a crime against the state for anybody to steal public funds. Returning stolen funds quietly without being sanctioned is even worse than the crime of stealing the money. This is morally reprehensible and it can never serve as a deterrent to other corrupt politicians who might want to steal public resources.
“Buhari is pampering those corrupt leaders by just obtaining looted funds and not jailing them. With all the bragging and the promises he made during the campaign, we expected that his war against corruption will be rootless. These public thieves carted away our national assets and in the process, impoverished many Nigerians. Corruption is also responsible for the infrastructural decay we are experiencing. The roads are bad and many Nigerian youths cannot find jobs.”
While advising the President to be more determined in wiping out corruption, Braithwaite said it was possible to recover stolen funds and still prosecute the corrupt public officials.
He, therefore, advised the President to name those returning the looted funds and prosecute them accordingly.
He added, “I think it is morally reprehensible for any government to let those returning stolen funds to go scot-free. Buhari must mention their names and stop pampering them. Corruption has robbed us of valuable infrastructure and the opportunity to develop as a country.
“I once had a similar case and the criminals were convicted while the stolen funds were traced and recovered. So it is possible to recover stolen funds and prosecute those involved. He should prosecute the thieves, trace the stolen funds and enforce restitution of the public resources. Not mentioning their names is tantamount to pampering them.”
Culled from: http://punchng.com/buhari-pampering-corrupt-politicians-braithwaite/