Sunday August 14, 2011 – Charles Osuji: I Received Bribes On Behalf of El-Rufai
A former Deputy Director with the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Charles Osuji, has claimed that he collected bribes on behalf of its former Director-General, Nasir el-Rufai.
Osuji, who made the confession in Abuja on Saturday before the Senate Ad-hoc Committee investigating the privatisation of companies and institutions by the BPE from 1999 till date, said he collected the money with the consent of his then boss.
In the words of the former deputy director, he said, “the money was actually taken from one Dr Adenuga and that money was meant for Nasir el-Rufai. I am speaking on oath and God is my witness and I have been keeping this for 10 years”.
“The money had to do with National Oil, now Conoil. The percentage of National Oil being sold then was for N7.4 billion. Dr Adenuga came to me and said if he paid N7.4 billion, he was going to give us five per cent. He also said that if he bought Unipetrol which was going then at N3.4 billion, he was going to give us 10 per cent. He eventually bought National Oil.
“I did not give the bribe to el-Rufai because Adenuga was paying small small,” he stated.
Osuji claimed that he is filled with regret, “I am ashamed of my actions. We all make mistakes. God knows it was not my intention to take that money. I was doing it for el-Rufai.”
He also told the committee that he was subsequently dismissed, noting that he was at the hearing to seek for justice.
“I want justice Sir. I want to return to BPE and my full benefits paid to me,” he said.
While responding, the Chairman of the committee, Senator Ahmed Lawan, said Osuji shouldn’t have been only dismissed, but should have been prosecuted as well.
“I am sad because you were a deputy director and you went out to collect money; whether it was on your own behalf or on behalf of anybody, it was criminal,” Lawan said.
Femi Falana, who also appeared before the committee in his personal capacity, said the privatisation process opened Nigeria to massive looting by those who pretended to be interested in improving the country.
According to Falana, he said, “from the revelations that have been made here, it is glaring that Nigeria was short-changed because the whole process was a total disruption of the Nigerian economy. In fact the process was done in violation of the Nigerian constitution”.
Meanwhile, the committee chairman said the findings would not be swept under the carpet, adding that it had received startling documents from all parties in the privitisation process.
“Some of the revelations were quite startling. In fact, some of the stories are scandalous. We need to confirm the truth about some of these startling revelations,” Lawal concluded.
“This committee will break off for two weeks. This is to enable our secretariat and the committee to analyse the tonnes of documents that we have received from Nigerians and other stakeholders,” he noted.
He said the committee would continue to receive memoranda from concerned parties who did not get the opportunity to present their documents. Lawan pointed out that the committee would visit some privatised public enterprises after its two-week break to see first hand the development some core investors claimed to have achieved. Daily Times