By now it’s no longer news that the chairman and CEO of Samsung Lee Jae-yong has been sentenced to 5 years in prison in a South Korean court
He was docked on allegations of bribery and corruption.
I thought it would be nice to bring this story into the Nigeria context and see how his prosecution, trial and possible conviction would have played out.
But first let’s go to South Korea and find out the details of what really happened.
It’s a pretty short story.,
South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye had a very close and powerful friend named Choi Soon-sil.
For some strange reason (don’t ask me) it was a puppet and master type friendship.
The puppet was the president Park Geun-hye and the Master was the friend Choi soon-sil.
If cooperate giants wanted governmental favors, tax waivers and basically anything that involved political muscle, Choi soon sil was the ass to kiss.
Samsung’s Chairman Lee wanted a favor, He needed government’s support for a crucial merger of two Samsung affiliates, part of a plan to strengthen his family’s hold on the group.
To achieve this he paid $36 million dollars to two foundations owned by Choi-soon sil in exchange for her influence on approvals.
So the bubble burst last year, this led to the impeachment and arrest of the president, her friend and now the Samsung boss.
If this story was written and acted in Nigeria, the following scenarios could play out.
His trial would only take place in the court of public opinion;
- Paying bribe for governmental favors would not be seen as a criminal offense, at worse it can only be termed an unfair business practice.
- His trial would take place during office gossip, over bottles of beer, or at the most an intelligent write up in vanguard or Sahara reporters.
- Nigerian Business men (Dangote, Adenuga, oil companies) openly and brazenly bribe government officials to curry favors. Only few cases with international connections like the Haliburton and shell bribery scandal make news.
But let’s assume in some crazy twist he ends up being prosecuted
He can file a court case to stop his corruption trial
- Senator Stella Oduah on August 26, 2015 succeeded in stopping a corruption trial against her.
- A court barred EFCC from taking any action against her as regards the purchase of two armored BMW cars at a cost of N160m when she was Aviation minister
- In May, 2015 a Federal High Court in Lagos stopped the Police IGP and Attorney General from arresting Senator Kashamu Buruji for extradition to the United States over alleged drug-related offences.
- Former Governor of Abia State, Orji Kalu was not so lucky in stopping his EFCC trial, Mr. Saraki also failed to stop his CCB trial.
But there are other options
Find a way to keep the case in court for a really long time.
- The criminal trial against former governor of Abia state Orji Uzor Kalu has been in court for the past 10 years.
- He has frustrated moves by the anti-graft to agency to successfully penalize him.
- In October 10, 2011 Former Governor Danjuma Goje of Gombe was arrested and charged to court for stealing more than 70 billion naira ($450 million) in public funds. His case is still in court till today. In-fact he is a sitting and serving senator.
And in case the court case picks momentum, get the witnesses on your side
- The prosecution had listed eight witnesses who would testify against the senate president in the 13- count charge of alleged false assets declaration. But during court proceedings, the witnesses all disappeared, and those that were available suddenly feigned ignorance.
- Christiana Ohiri, a branch manager of the bank where Orji Uzor Kālu’s had some illegal transactions said she had not met personally all the government officials involved in the transaction because they were liaising with her superiors who are currently not working for the bank.
Oh, there is an option of blackmailing your prosecutor
- According to Thisday Live, The IGP of police ordered a raid at the home of Senator Danjuma Goje following a tip off. Police men found and confiscated $19,000, 4,000 Saudi riyals and N18 million at his Asokoro residence
- To avoid prosecution of their member; the house of assembly did a little digging and found some dirt on the IGP of police. He used N1.2 billion approved for the purchase of 10 armored personnel carriers for the purchase of 64 Toyota Hiace commuter vehicles without approval from the National Assembly.
- Police IGP also diverted N6 billion appropriated for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of 102 police stations to other uses without approval by the National Assembly.
- Mr. Ibrahim Idris, was confronted with evidence, they were ready for him. He was forced to close the case and return the Illegal monies to Senator Danjuma Goje
- Remember Dino’s recall, Inec chairman decided to drop the recall exercise after being blackmailed by the senate. From 2007 to 2012, INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, served as TETFUND’s Executive Secretary. His time at the Fund was marked by a series of allegations of corruption against him. The Senate’s threatened to probe the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TET Fund).
Finally prosecution would be forced to close the case after months and months of court adjournments and postments. Or perhaps a political solution would be reached.
If Samsung boss were in Nigeria, he may not need to go this far. Because the country is yet to successfully prosecute glaring cases of public funds theft hidden in homes and openly used to amass private properties.