Sanitise AMCON, CSO tells Tinubu

An Abuja-based rights group and anti-corruption champion, Empowerment for Unemployed Youth Initiative, has called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to immediately take steps to sanitise the Assets Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON).

The CSO in a statement said the call became necessary following series of unabated allegations of gross corruption and mismanagement of public assets as well as other unwholesome activities unbecoming of the anti-corruption agenda of the present administration.

The statement signed by Danesi Momoh and Igwe Ude-Umanta, National Coordinator and Director, Research and Programmes respectively on Wednesday, in Abuja, the group reinstated their persistent calls for the sack of the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of AMCON and wondered why Mr President has not acted in his typical swift manner.

“Since last year, we have been calling the attention of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to the allegations of the stench caused by corruption in Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria under the headship of Ahmed Kuru including the sale of public asset to himself (using fronts) and cronies at grossly undervalued prices.

“These allegations which predates the current administration have remained empirically unrefuted.
The giving out of public assets to self, close friends and powerful individuals which is described as largesse by commentators is not only criminal but abuse of office and public trust. There was and has never been any modicum of transparency in the sale of assets managed by AMCON since Ahmed Kuru took over. We reject this thievery and demand his sack immediately”

The right group recalled with frustration, their earlier attempts to enthrone transparency in AMCON under the previous administration and the brick walls they encountered due to lack of political will to end corruption but expressed hope that President Tinubu act as he has always done in similar cases.

“Mr. Ahmed Kuru is an inherited liability from an administration that condoned corruption and even protected it. He therefore has no place in this current administration. We once wrote to Buhari over this matter but we did it only for record purposes, since we knew that his administration allowed public officials to get away with any crime. Of course he didn’t do anything and we were sad but not disappointed because we expected nothing.

“It is now up to Mr. President to put an end to the mess in AMCON if he wishes to be trusted with his claim to enthrone transparency and accountability in governance and public life. We are encouraged by his antecedents so far and it is our hope that AMCON will be sanitised once and for all and Ahmed Kuru made to face the wrath of the law for his dubious dealings”, the text added.

The group expressed worry that a possible cartel close to Mr Ahmed Kuru, and made up of beneficiaries of his largesse might have been working underground to block their efforts in reaching Mr President in a bid to bring sanity to one of the most corrupt agencies currently operating in Nigeria but vowed not to give up till the right thing is done.

The press text read in part, “in June 2023, shortly after his inauguration, we wrote to Mr President, intimating him on the sorry situation in AMCON and the need to act fast. Sadly, nothing has been done. Facts are now emerging that it is possible Mr President did not see our letter because some powerful persons blocked it from reaching his desk to conceal the atrocities in AMCON.

“Of course, we followed our letter to Mr President up with a Press Conference on July 6, 2023 in which we called for the sack of Kuru. Rather than responding to the issues we raised, which were backed by facts, he simply claimed that he was being blackmailed by people he called “obligors.” It is certain that this is the kind of stories he and his allies use to deceive Mr President but we can’t give up because facts are stubborn and cannot be silenced”.

On the fraudulent takeover of Polaris, Keystone and Union Banks using public funds to the tune ₦25 billion which was round tripped and ended with Riverbank Sigma Gulf Consortium, fronting for Kuru and others as revealed by Sahara Reporters recently, the group said they were not surprised as Mr Ahmed Kuru has always been “a notorious public servant with a penchant for illegal acquisition and enrichment using different fraudulent schemes”.

The rights group bemoaned the alleged protection granted to Kuru by the Chief-of-Staff to the President, RT. Hon. Femi Gbajamiabila and wondered just how far Ahmed Kuru has succeeded in spreading his evil tentacles even in the current administration which has zero tolerance for corruption.

“We don’t want to believe the expose by Sahara Reporters about an alleged protection but if that is true then we are disappointed beyond words. It will only go to show that, just like in the Buhari era, Mr Kuru has found his way to the Presidency to ensure his survival despite his corrupt way. We shall, however, not be deterred because of our unwavering hope in Mr President except he has chosen to jettison his clamour for transparency to embrace fraudsters”, the group insisted.

The group concluded by appealing to Nigerians and other civil society organisations to join their ranks in ensuring that justice is done for the sake of the majority of poor and unemployed Nigerians whose chances of a better life are being ruined by the likes of Ahmed Kuru and the likes.

“We call on all Nigerians to demand for the investigation of AMCON by President Tinubu and a decisive action taken. This is very important and a lot is at stake. Mr President should therefore be aware that Kuru is in bed with those who are supposed to brief him on some these issues. He must therefore go out of the normal administrative channels to address this issue,” the text concluded.