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Thursday, June 24, 1999 Published at 09:04 GMT 10:04 UK

World: Africa

Obasanjo gets to work on corruption

President Obasanjo: Gets a cabinet at last

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has presented an anti-corruption bill to parliament - acting on an election pledge to crack down on the graft which has blighted the fortunes of Africa's most populous country.

The bill - the first to be introduced by the new government - includes a series of measures that range from procedures for tendering for contracts, to punishments for corrupt officials.

The speaker of parliament, Alhaji Buhari, promised a speedy deliberation and passage of the bill.

"I want to assure Nigerians, who voted for us, that we are here, and by God's will, we will stamp out corruption," the speaker told Nigerian television.

President Obasanjo promised the bill shortly after he was inaugurated last month, and has said that the fight against corruption will be one of the priorities of his administration.

Senate approves ministers

The Nigerian Senate has approved 42 of the 49 cabinet nominees put forward by President Obasanjo, allowing him to form his new government.

Senators have debated the list of nominees for three weeks - prompting the president to express concern over the length of time that was being taken.

The list of proposed ministers is not expected to be made public until next week.

Senate officials said among those who failed to win approval was the retired general, Theophilus Danjuma, who has been unwell.

They said some of the other six were rejected because the states they come from had already secured adequate representation in the cabinet.

Each nominee has been invited to appear before the senate this week in Abuja.

They have been asked to show tax certificates, medical certificates, voter registration cards and written evidence of assets.

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