Money laundering and facade of entrepreneurship

PHOTO: moneylaundering.ca
PHOTO: moneylaundering.ca

WHAT facilitated the scandal in that sharing of Nigeria’ hard earned moneys from oil and gas, precisely from the excess crude oil account meant for infrastructure development, is nothing but the endemic corruption in the political economy; of money laundering and in the illicit and illegitimate entrepreneurship in the country. Arms deal must have been “business as usual” since Nigeria’s independence yet controlled and driven by the privileged few who believe they are entrepreneurs with registered companies as conducts for looting and laundering the treasuries. Dasuki-gate has only impenitently and inadvertently betrayed historical contradictions in an economy oiled by odious, insidious, perfidious, sordid and callous fraudulent activities of the politicians, civil servants and their cohorts and cronies who parade themselves as business men, entrepreneurs and corporate agencies. The $2.1 billion arms deal or N2.6 billion NIMASA fraud are not isolated cases, but probably the most gruesome and scandalous height of corruption because of the quantum of money in circulation in this space. But none of them at any period could have been possible without being machined by the banking industry. It is also the epitome and highest form of corruption coinciding and collaborating with 21st century digital technology.

Politics as business and money laundering as entrepreneurship is a hard social reality in the Nigeria’s political economy today. Therefore, Dasukiscam is one among many occupying an enviable volatility in space and time. It is a 21st century challenge that calls for vertical and not horizontal analysis with individuals and leaders being culpable as moral and free agents. It is not only the moral irresponsibility of leaders and politicians but also the breakdown of institutions and rule of law as a systemic phenomenon. Space and time, digital technology, people, leaders and institutions of law, democracy, monetary and fiscal regulations are unconsciously and collectively guilty of this self-affliction and self robbery. This is a new era with new challenges for anti-corruption, rule of law and governance.

Let us not ignore the fact that Bureau De change industry is in the mainstream of this corruption sesame as moneys ledged in and out of the banks found their ways into foreign exchange parallel market. Similarly, the 21st century of money laundering business digitally revolved around a network of corrupt entrepreneurial ring-pins not only in the Bank and Bureau De change industries but also in the nation’s corporate affairs commission which fraudulently register and speed up phony companies through which Nigerians’ treasury is looted and laundered. On-going probes and interrogations of business deals of the immediate past government show that virtually all ministers, special advisers, senators and honourable members of the House of Representatives have in their pockets unicorn and contour business names registered with the CAC not for any functional business transaction but for laundering, looting and skewing Nigeria treasure, as ghost entrepreneurship

Naturalistically, Plato, accordingly submitted that, “the human race will never see the end of trouble until political power is entrusted to the lover of wisdom” and “so long as power is valued as the means to wealth, the helm of the ship will be grasped by men of business whose Bible is their profit and loss account”. It is symbolically important to ask this question: how many entrepreneurs have become millionaires and billionaires without government patronage or without participating in plundering treasures? Paid adverts have surfaced in the dailies pointing out how big business moguls or entrepreneurs had knocked off their competitors from market using government connections and monetary might. The Balewa government had her own made entrepreneurs who were the billionaires of the time. Gowon’s regime produced her own business entrepreneurs who were castrated by the Murtala regime. Shagari regime had its own retinue of corrupt business moguls who looted treasury before it was overthrown. Obasanjo regime saw the emergence of modern entrepreneurs who are today parading themselves as the business leaders and members of the nation’s economic Thinktank and individually either the richest in Africa, in Nigeria or the world. /

Dasukigate and the NIMASA scandals have taken up the complexion of the highest form of bribery reminiscent of the Halliburton bribery, the pension, the NEPA and, the police scandals. But unlike the latter, the former have their culprits being gradually exposed and subjected to the hook of EFCC and the law. The phenomenal forms and nature of Nigeria’s entrepreneurship and where their plundered funds go into are important high moral issues that call for a torchlight of an independent commission, albeit, beyond the morality of liberal democracy and capitalism. The growth of corrupt business leaders from one regime to another are self manifestation of capitalist ethos through its particular concepts and business practice like commercialisation, privatisation and concession. Modern Nigerian entrepreneurs fight themselves dirty with all supra and natural means to buy off government properties, and successful ones are often the business godsons of those in power. This historical and phenomenological successive corrupt regimes are the reasons for the dearth of small scale and medium entrepreneurs in Nigeria.

Our economic team is better advised that a knowledge based economy would definitely be interested in the following: it is one thing to retrieve looted and laundered moneys, it is another to know, where and how the moneys were invested? Were they invested into education, health or agriculture where they would be capable of increasing either the GDP or per-capita GDP? It is important the people of this country know the facts and figures of the quantum or billons of naira and dollars recovered and how they would be invested or evenly distributed to free and fair, efficient transparent and economically profitable entrepreneurship and empowerment in Nigeria.

Dukor is a professor of Philosophy at Nnamdi Azikwe University, Awka and editor-in-Chief of Essence Library.

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