THE Guardian editorial of January 3, 2007 on the certificate forgery charge following the French Aviation Authorities indictment of Sosoliso Airline for using fake aircraft parts and for forging American Aviation Authorities documents to cover the deed is thought-provoking.
In the editorial, you postulate that it is a serious affair "that sordid manipulation like certificate forgery is standard practice for airlines and others".
The truth is that in both public and private sectors in Nigeria, the abuse of process, the use of forged/fake documents, the falsification of documents and records in the conduct of business is standard practice and is not limited to the aviation industry alone.
Recent press reports about the falsification of accounts and audit reports leading to overstatement of profit for many years by Cadbury Nigeria Ltd, the falsification of tax returns and tax evasion by Chevron and other multinational oil companies are indications of the extent of the massive fraud and corruption associated with forgery, falsification of documents, understatement of figures and reports, etc.
Millions of Nigerians have and continue to suffer injustice, loss of lives and property which manifest in diverse ways resulting from criminal conspiracy, forgery and fraud! Imagine the situation where unsuspecting citizens pay for air transport service provided by airlines that have used fake aircraft parts and forged documents to cover up such evil deed which eventually lead to the avoidable death (or is it murder) of innocent citizens!
This is clear injustice! Your call that investigation of the Sosoliso Certificate forgery affair should include audit of all airlines to be in line with the reform efforts of Government is welcome. My humble opinion is that the investigation and audit should be extended to all sectors of the economy.
I have on several occasions drawn Government attention to the damage and losses suffered by citizens resulting from criminal acts of conspiracy, forgery and fraud. I have regrettably not been paid much attention but I pray that after reviewing your editorial, Government will take serious interest and initiate robust action against those indicted in cases involving abuse of process, the use of forged/fake documents, falsification of documents and records.
These are the foundation of corrupt practices and other criminal acts that result in unnecesary loss of lives and property.
In my own personal experience whereas I hold the original title and mandate, my property was fraudulently acquired by a foreign company (Ispat), the Managing Director and Company Secretary/Legal Adviser using forged/fake documents.
They understated amounts in principal legal documents and in the process cheated Government of tax and revenue. The final Police report issued by the Deputy Commissioner of Police (SCID, Panti St) and sent to Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), which indicted the suspects for conspiracy, forgery and fraud was returned with the criminal case reclassified as civil!
In the Legal Advice (copy of which was sent to the EFCC unsolicited which understandably influenced their position), the DPP stated that on the issue of forgery and other such related offences, a document which contains false statements is not a forgery according to Nigerian law.
They cited a case, Lateef Alhaji Hassan V Commisioner of Police to support this obnoxious position.
I requested clarification by the DPP and EFCC that if the documents are not forgery... what are they... are they fraudulent or tainted? Are they tenable for public use such as Governor's Consent to Assignment as submitted by Ispat?
I have not been favoured with any response for over six months now! On the falsification of documents and understatement of figures, the DPP admitted that Ispat falsified documents and understated property price but held that the allegation "fades into insignificance" because Government did not suffer any loss as the Lands Bureau used its own deliberate under assessment of the land price (N5 million), not Ispat understated price (N2 million) nor the true price (N7 million) as required by law.
In other words Government is quite happy to earn lower revenue based on lower sum declared!
The Legal Advice as can be seen is a black market product procured to shield criminals from prosecution and justice! This situation fits into your editorial's position that "Human beings ordinarily tend to go wayward particularly where the Government appears to be nonchalant or is a willing tool of compromise".
I will not be surprised at all if eventually, nobody is indicted and prosecuted as the documents found by the French Authorities to be forgery are declared to be "genuine" by authorities concerned because "a document that tells the truth about itself and also contains false statements is not a forged document in our law"!
In my case, two sister Police organisations investigated same documents confirmed to be forgery/fake by Lagos State Government and interviewed same suspects. Whereas the Police found that a case of conspiracy, forgery and fraud was established against the suspects, the EFCC supporting the DPP found that no criminal act was committed!
I am in agreement with you that Government should accept responsibility in cases of compromise leading to disasters and losses. I also agree with your editorial that "The Government owes a central duty to make citizens and corporate organisations (including foreigners) in the country conform to stipulated standard and so discourage the culture of anything goes".
Futhermore, it is necessary to remind public officers that their primary responsibility in Government is to secure and protect the interest, lives and property of citizens. This is enshrined in the Constitution. Eventually all concerned will be called to account for their stewardship. God has blessed Nigeria. What remains is for Nigerians to diligently, faithfully, with good conscience and sincerity of purpose work out the manifestation of the blessing.
NGEX welcomes and encourages reader comments. Permission to post reader comments is assumed, and we reserve the right to excerpt or edit for clarity any comments that are posted. We won't be able to publish all comments. And we can't vouch for the accuracy of posts from readers. Nickname or Name will be used to identify your post.
Ade Yankee , January 19, 2007
Na today?! He who has no sin let him cast the first stone. EFCC is running after Atiku. Obasanjo wants court to ask Atiku eight questions.
I look forward to the day when OBJ will shed is immunity. If EFCC finds no fault in him, then he is a righteous man. What I still never understand is the reason why Babangida, the sole architect of the downfall of Nigeria, is still walking the streets with pump and pageantry.
He is even bold enough to come out and declare his ambition to rule the country again! What an arrant nonsense and insult to the people of Nigeria?! What is he coming back to do that he had never done while wearing "khaki"? I thank God for frustrating his counsel. That should teach him a lesson that God pass man and God speedily answers the prayers of the oppressed.
If we continue to have irresponsible leaders, it will be difficult for Nigerians in Diaspora to ever make the decision to return home. God forbid that I die in another man's country.
So, I will keep praying that God should oppress our oppressors and because they have determined to not give us peace, they shall know no peace themselves.
Results » 1-1 of 1 Result Page » < 1 >
"The views and opinions expressed in these comment(s) or article(s) do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of NGEX, its partners or its affiliates."