John Campbell

Africa in Transition

Campbell tracks political and security developments across sub-Saharan Africa.

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Showing posts for "Corruption"

High Ranking Nigerian Officials Linked to Mysterious $43 Million

by John Campbell
A trader changes dollars with naira at a currency exchange store in Lagos, February 12, 2015. (Reuters/Joe Penney)

On April 12, Nigeria’s principal anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), announced that it had found $43.4 million stashed in a vacant apartment in Lagos. The cash was in U.S. dollars, British pounds, and Nigerian naira. The EFCC did not reveal the owner of the cash—if it even knows. The EFCC said its seizure was the result of a tip-off under a program whereby the whistle-blower received 2.5 percent of recovered funds. The Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered the temporary forfeiture of the cash. Read more »

Britain to out Nigerian Property Owners To Aid Anti-Corruption Crusade

by John Campbell
Police officers stand in front of the Nigerian embassy in London as demonstrators protest against the kidnapping of schoolgirls in Nigeria, May 9, 2014. (Reuters/Olivia Harris)

In a boost to President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption crusade, Bolaji Owosanoyu, Executive Secretary of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption has announced that the British government will release to the Nigerian government information about Nigerians who own property in the United Kingdom (UK). According to Owosanoyu, “Britain has promised that by 2018, she will provide Nigeria with the information about who owns what and where; that’s very helpful. These include all the houses that have been bought by public officials or accounts that are held by public officials on which they are right now not paying taxes or which they cannot explain the sources.” Read more »

Maduekwe Trial to Begin in June

by John Campbell
Nigeria's Petroleum Minister and OPEC's alternate president Diezani Alison-Madueke adjusts her glasses at the annual IHS CERAWeek conference in Houston, Texas, March 4, 2014. (Reuters/Rick Wilking)

Former Nigerian Minister of Petroleum Resources Diezani Allison Maduekwe will be tried for money laundering in the United Kingdom in June. For many observers,  Maduekwe is the face of high-level corruption in Nigeria. A former minister of transport, she served as petroleum minister in the government of Goodluck Jonathan. During her days of flying high, she collected “firsts,” she was the first female minister of transport, the first female minister of petroleum, and the first female secretary general of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). She was also the first female appointed to the board of the Shell Petroleum Development Corporation. Read more »

After Shift from East to West, Maritime Piracy Remains Threat to U.S. Seafarers and Interests

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A machine gun is seen on a sandbag on a boat off the Atlantic coast in Nigeria's Bayelsa state, December 19, 2013. (Reuters/Stringer)

This is a guest post by Michael Clyne. Michael is an assistant director at Drum Cussac, a global risk management consultancy.

When President Obama took office nearly eight years ago, his first national security test came within one-hundred days, not from al-Qaeda or the self-proclaimed Islamic State, but pirates. It was the rescue of Captain Richard Phillips, the merchant mariner kidnapped aboard U.S. container-ship Maersk Alabama off the Somali coast, which triggered the president’s first known standing order for lethal force. At the time, the Gulf of Aden, which separates the Middle East from East Africa, was the world’s piracy hotspot, spawned from the lawless destitution of lower Somalia. Read more »

A Reminder that South Africa’s Ruling Party is Multiracial

by John Campbell
Derek Hanekom (C), head of the ANC disciplinary panel, announces the verdict for Youth League leader Julius Malema at the party's head quarters in Johannesburg, November 10, 2011. (Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko)

Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom appears to have been the initiator of the African National Congress’s (ANC) November 27-29 in-house debate over whether to recall Jacob Zuma as party leader. (Zuma survived, but is further weakened politically within the ANC by the episode.) Hanekom, who is white, is a useful reminder that the ANC remains a multi-racial party, though its electoral base is overwhelmingly black. In the aftermath of the ANC’s Zuma debate, some black political officials that backed the president accused Hanekom of “racism,” but others defended him as a full member of the movement, even though he is white. Read more »

Elections: U.S. Prestige Takes a Hit in Africa

by John Campbell
Katie Hartman, a correspondent for Seriously.TV, poses outside Hofstra University, the site of the September 26 first presidential debate between U.S. Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, in Hempstead, New York, U.S., September 26, 2016. (Reuters/Shannon Stapleton)

The U.S. image in Africa has been based on more than trade and aid. Africans admire and seek to emulate U.S. rule of law and institutions of governance largely free of corruption. They seek to emulate American elections that are credible and accepted by winners and losers. U.S. ethnic and religious pluralism has long been admired. So, too, has been the American tradition of at least some civility in politics. With the ambiguous exception of Liberia, the United States was not a colonial power and public opinion (if not government policy) was generally hostile to colonialism. The success of American democracy and governance made U.S. criticism of “big man” and other sleazy governments credible to Africans. Read more »

A Review of Stephen Ellis’ “This Present Darkness”

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, from left, Sarah Chayes, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron and Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari take part in a panel discussion at the Anti-Corruption Summit in London, Thursday, May 12, 2016. (Reuters/Frank Augstein/Pool)

This is a guest post by Tyler Lycan. Tyler is an intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program, he recently obtained his Masters in International Security Studies from the University of St. Andrews, and is a former U.S. Marine. Read more »

Recovery of Nigeria’s Oil Production Under Threat

by John Campbell
A man works at an illegal oil refinery site near river Nun in Nigeria's oil state of Bayelsa, November 27, 2012. (Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye)

According to the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (the state-owned oil company) Nigeria has the capacity to produce 2.5 million barrels of oil per day (bpd). At the beginning of the year, production stood at 2.2 million bpd. Under insurgent attacks on oil production infrastructure, it fell to 1.3 million bpd. With a pause in delta insurgent attacks on oil infrastructure, the administration now claims that oil production has recovered to 1.9 million bpd. Read more »

Fallout Continues in Nigeria from Judges’ Arrest for Alleged Corruption

by John Campbell
A court clerk reads the charges to Nigeria Senate President Bukola Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal at Darki Biu, Jabi Abuja, Nigeria, September 22, 2015. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)

Critics of the Buhari administration continue to protest the October 8-9 Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arrest of judges, including some from the Supreme Court, for corruption. Initially, the focus was on the rough “Gestapo style” way the arrests were carried out. Now, critics see the arrests as compromising the independence of the judiciary, in theory one of three co-equal branches of government. Read more »

Exit of South Africa’s Finance Minister? Not So Fast

by John Campbell
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan reacts during a media briefing in Johannesburg, South Africa, March 14, 2016. (Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo)

Pravin Gordhan faces charges of fraud and has been summoned to the Pretoria Regional Court on November 2. The charges appear to be spurious. They concern Gordhan’s approval of the early retirement of a government employee and his subsequent re-employment under contract. The claim is that the amount of money involved is just over ZAR 1.1 million (approximately $76,000). Early retirement followed by re-engagement on contract is commonplace in many governments, including that of South Africa. Read more »