The International Criminal Court, ICC, in The Hague is considering SERAP’s petition on the allegations of widespread, systematic and large-scale corruption in the electricity sector since the return of democracy in 1999 and under the governments of former presidents, Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan in Nigeria.
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, in a statement on Wednesday by its deputy director, Timothy Adewale, said that, “SERAP can confirm that the ICC is now considering our petition. We have received communication from Mark P. Dillon, Head of Information and Evidence Unit of the ICC indicating that the court will give due consideration to our petition.”
“SERAP appreciates the prompt attention to this matter by the ICC. We urge the court to pursue this matter to a satisfactory conclusion by taking the case forward as required by the provisions of the Rome Statute, and ensuring a thorough investigation and prosecution of suspected perpetrators of grand corruption in the electricity sector in Nigeria.”
SERAP last week sent a petition to Mrs. Fatou Bensouda Prosecutor the ICC, asking her probe large-scale corruption in the electricity sector since the return of democracy in 1999.
The petition reads in part: “The consequences of allegations of corruption in the electricity sector are similar to those of the offences in article 7(1). Corrupt officials and corrupt contractors in the electricity sector know well that their conduct is criminal and injurious, and the denial of human dignity coupled with a radical breach of solemn trust, aggravate their alleged crime.”
“SERAP considers these allegations of widespread and systematic corruption in the electricity sector as amounting to crimes against humanity and therefore clear violations of the provisions of the Rome Statute of International Criminal Court. SERAP believes that these allegations have given rise to individual criminal responsibility of those suspected of perpetrating corruption in the electricity sector, as entrenched in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
“SERAP considers the apparent failure of successive governments and high-ranking government officials to prevent widespread and systematic corruption in the electricity sector as amounting to complicity under the Rome Statute. SERAP therefore believes that the widespread and systemic nature of large scale corruption in the electricity sector fits the legal requirements of a crime against humanity.
“The 2006 Commonwealth working group on asset repatriation specifically refers to corruption including in the electricity sector being defined as an international crime. SERAP believes an international investigation by the ICC would complement the anticorruption initiatives by the current government and contribute to ending a culture of impunity of perpetrators.
“SERAP believes that substantial grounds exist to warrant the intervention of the Prosecutor in this case. Pursuant to the Rome Statute, the Prosecutor has power to intervene in a situation under the jurisdiction of the Court if the Security Council or states parties refer a situation or if information is provided from other sources such as the information SERAP is providing in this case.”
“SERAP is seriously concerned that the instances of corruption highlighted above and details of which are contained in the enclosed From Darkness to Darkness report are not isolated events, but illustrate the widespread and systematic nature of large scale corruption in the electricity sector under the governments of former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan.
“SERAP also notes that allegations of corruption in the energy sector have resulted in the epileptic and interrupted supply of electricity and corresponding deprivation and denial of the citizens’ access to quality healthcare, adequate food, shelter, clothing, water, sanitation, medical care, schooling, and access to information.
“SERAP notes that lack of access to uninterrupted energy/electricity services has forced many citizens to use and collect frequently contaminated surface water for drinking and household uses; and denied the citizens the ability and services for boiling, purifying, disinfecting, and storing water, as well as for irrigation to increase the productivity of lands, thereby decreasing the availability of food supplies and undermining employment opportunities.”