The Acting Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, has described the resistance against the ongoing anti-graft war by the corrupt elements in the country as
He said though no one would expect the fight against corruption to be smooth, the resistance had assumed frightening dimensions with political motives inputed into most of the activities of the Commission, especially as the next general election approaches.
Speaking during a meeting with media executives in Lagos on Wednesday, September 5, 2018, Magu added that it had become fashionable for anyone being investigated for corruption to “scream political persecution.”
He said: “Corrupt officials of state governments are pleading immunity not ascribed to them by the Constitution. “Some governors have also extended the frontiers of their constitutional immunity by claiming that anti-corruption agencies cannot even investigate them.”
Magu, who described the event as part of his interface with critical stakeholders, therefore, urged the media to be more vigilant, adding that “as I have stated in various fora, the EFCC is apolitical and will not knock on your door, if you have not violated the law.
“The media owes Nigerians a duty not to allow the corrupt to deploy their ill-gotten riches to corner the machinery of government. Such folly was injurious to our national wellbeing in the past and will not profit us in the future.”
The EFCC boss, who further stated that the Commission was making progress, in spite of the distractions and irritations by the corrupt, also used the occasion to reiterate that the Commission, under his leadership, had recorded improvements in the areas of prosecution of persons for corruption and recovery of stolen assets.
“So far this year, we have had the honour of sending two former governors to jail for 14 years each. It has never happened.
“As I speak with you, the Commission has recorded over 158 convictions. At this rate, I am confident that we will surpass the record of 189 convictions achieved in 2017. In terms of assets recovery, the figures from January to August 2018
stood at One Hundred and Six Billion, Five Hundred and Sixteen Million, Two Hundred and Twenty- Two Thousand, Three Hundred and Eighty-three Naira, Sixty-eight Kobo (N106,516,222,383.68), One Million, Six Hundred and Thirty-five Thousand, Nine Hundred and Twenty-five Dollar, Eighty-one Cent ($1,635,925.81), Six Hundred and Twenty-nine Thousand, One Hundred and Ninety-three Pounds, 65 pence (GBP 629,193.65) and Twenty-five Thousand, Five Hundred and Seventy-five EURO (Euro 25,575).”
He added that the Commission, in addition to focusing on recovery of looted funds and assets and securing convictions, had also been sensitizing the public on the evil of corruption through its Enlightenment and Re-orientation Unit.
Magu also emphasized that the fight against corruption was not selective, adding that “the Commission will go after anyone, irrespective of his or her political affiliation or status in the society.”