Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Widespread bribery in Obasanjo's bid to permit 3rd term

Reuters reports on a new probe into Nigerian President Obasanjo's efforts to bribe Federal Assembly members in his efforts to change the constitution to allow him the chance at a third term:

The investigation comes days before a vote on the bill to amend the constitution in the Senate, which is likely to go against extending the presidential tenure to three terms.

"The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has commenced the investigation of recent allegations of bribery in the National Assembly," the agency said in a press statement.

Lawmakers were originally offered 50 million naira ($390,000) to support a third term for Obasanjo, opposition members said. A National Assembly source told Reuters on Sunday the offer had now been raised to 200 million naira ($1.6 million) and above for key opponents.

A presidency spokesman denied offering bribes.

"The president is not a bribe giver, neither does he condone any form of corruption," said Femi Fani Kayode.

Of course, Obasanjo need not have done the bribing himself. And given the way he has let his surrogates push for the consititutional change while he remained silent, I tend to doubt his spokesman.

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