Viewing cable 03ABUJA2080
Title: SCORE ONE FOR REFORM: LABOR MINISTER SACKED FOR

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
03ABUJA20802003-12-08 05:11:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Abuja
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

080511Z Dec 03
UNCLAS ABUJA 002080 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM NI
SUBJECT: SCORE ONE FOR REFORM: LABOR MINISTER SACKED FOR 
BRIBERY 
 
 
SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED, NOT FOR PUBLICATION ON THE 
INTERNET OR INTRANET. 
 
 
¶1. (SBU) The Obasanjo Administration scored its first major 
anti-corruption coup when the Independent Corrupt Practices 
and Other Related Offenses Commission (ICPC) on December 3 
announced its arrest and detention of seven persons, 
including current Minister of Labor Hussaini Zannuwa Akwanga, 
in connection with a scandal in the national identity card 
project.  President Obasanjo terminated the Minister,s 
appointment the next day.  Several of the officials arrested 
had served in the Ministry of Internal Affairs between 1999 
and 2003, including former Interior Ministers Sunday Afolabi 
and Mahmud Shata, and current Interior Ministry Permanent 
Secretary Akerele.  Labor Minister Akwanga had previously 
 
SIPDIS 
served as the Permanent Secretary at Interior Affairs. 
 
 
¶2. (U) The French firm SAGEM was awarded the contract to 
produce the ID cards in 2001 for 214 million USD, while 
Afolabi was Minister.  SAGEM has already received nearly 150 
million USD for the project which has registered more than 50 
million Nigerians.  A business partner with SAGEM, Mr. Niyi 
Adelagun has also been arrested; the ICPC reports that 
Adelagun was the chief conduit of money to the various 
Nigerian officials.  Christopher Orumgre Agidi, former 
Director of the Department of National Civic Registration has 
been arrested in the U.K., and the GON is currently seeking 
his extradition.  The other official charged in the scandal 
is Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, a former Governor of Enugu State 
and Secretary of the ruling People,s Democratic Party. 
 
 
¶3. (SBU) COMMENT:  This is the best news reformers in Nigeria 
have had in a long time.  President Obasanjo started the ICPC 
in 1999 to investigate government corruption, but the ICPC 
has done little until now and many Nigerians had considered 
it toothless. Further concrete reform action may be in the 
offing.  The separate (GON-internal) Code of Conduct Tribunal 
has announced it is bringing charges against several other, 
as yet unnamed, public officials, including Governors and a 
Ministry's Permanent Secretary, for failing to declare their 
assets. 
MEECE