The African Union (AU) has suspended seven members — including two Nigerians — of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) over alleged misconduct.
Tunji Asaolu and John Oba are the two Nigerians on the list of suspended members.
Others suspended include Abozer Elligai Elmana (Sudan); Abdurrahman Mokhtar (Libya); Roll Stephane Ngomat (Gabon); El Hacene Abdallah Bah Mbareck (Mauritania), and Shem Ochuodho (Kenya).
According to the AU, a report by a probe panel set up to investigate allegations against the seven persons made “findings of misconduct/infringement of AU legal norms (violation of Rule 8 of the Rules of Procedure of ECOSOCC and provisions of the AU Code of Ethics and Conduct)”.
Asaolu was accused of “illegally opening a bank account in the name of ECOSOCC (UBA: AU ECOSOCC PROJECTS, Account No: 1022334209) in Nigeria”.
He was also said to have “illegally signed an MOU with DROMI, a Nigerian based NGO and another MOU with the federal ministry of women affairs of Nigeria, on behalf of ECOSOCC”.
On his part, Oba was accused of illegally appointing one “Otunba Wanle Akinboye, the President of Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort in Nigeria, as an AU-ECOSOCC Advisor on Culture and Tourism”.
According to a statement by the AU, others were accused of various offences including abuse of office, misuse of the letterhead, and unlawful signing of memorandum of understanding.
“Abuse of authority/office and unlawful signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) with third parties on behalf of AU ECOSOCC (Mr. Abozer Elligai, Mr. Roll Ngomat and Mr. Abdurrahman Mokhtar,” the statement reads.
“Illegal convening of the General Assembly and destabilization of ECOSOCC (Mr. Ngomat, Mr. Mokhtar, Dr. Mbareck, Dr. Shem Ochuodho & members of the Group of Eight).
“Misuse of ECOSOCC letter heads, logo, stamp/seal (Mr. Abozer, Mr. Ngomat, and Mr. Mokhtar).
“Illegal appointment of Ms. Evelyn Joe by Dr. El Hacene Mbareck as an AU ECOSOCC Global African Diaspora Forum on Migration and Developmerfv in Washington DC.
“The improper behavior of Dr. Sheri Ochuodho as a member of ECOSOCC, which conduct is in violation of Article 8 (1) of the ECOSOCC Rules of Procedure and section 4 (1) and (2) of the AU Code of Ethics and Conduct.”
According to the AU, the suspended members of the ECOSOCC will face sanctions as shall be determined by the commission.
“Accordingly, the Commission wishes to advise that above-listed subjects of investigation cannot represent ECOSOCC in any capacity nor take part in the activities of the African Union and all its organs/institutions during the period of suspension,” the AU said.
“In compliance with Rule 8 of the Rules of Procedure of ECOSOCC, the matter shall be referred to the disciplinary committee of ECOSOCC to inquire into their conduct and determine the appropriate sanctions to be imposed upon them.”