Thursday, January 3, 2008

How to fire an anti-corruption chief

The government of Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua has pressured its most prominent anti-corruption official to step down, weeks after the arrest of a powerful former governor from the ruling party on corruption charges.

The official, Nuhu Ribadu, said in an interview Thursday that he had not decided whether to resign. But a top official on his Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it was unlikely Ribadu would be able to keep his position.

"There's no way he can stay at the commission," the official said.

Ribadu's departure has long been rumored after years in which he has targeted some of the most allegedly corrupt officials in one of the world's most corrupt nations. Among his targets have been several former governors prominent in Yar'Adua's ruling party, including James Ibori of Delta state, who was arrested last month on corruption and money-laundering charges.

The head of Nigeria's police force, Mike Okiro, announced last week that Ribadu had been ordered to attend a year-long training course at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, a research group in the city of Jos. Yar'Adua spokesman Olusegun Adeniyi, in an interview published Thursday in the Guardian newspaper in Nigeria, said the president supported Ribadu's reassignment.

-Nigerian Corruption Official Faces Removal

Nuhu Ribadu is a darling of multilateral agencies like the World Bank.

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