EFCC recovers over N430.8b, secures 137 convictions in eight months
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairman Ibrahim Magu yesterday said the commission has recovered over N430, 849,162,174 billion in eight months.
The funds recovered are N409, 270, 706,686.75; $69, 501,156.67; £231,118.69, €610,816.20; Dr. 443,400.00 (Dirham) and SR70, 500.00 (Saudi Riyal).
He also said the EFCC has secured 137 convictions within the same period under review.
The anti-graft chairman, however, said he is not fighting anybody and he has no issues with anyone.
Although he said he meant no harm in pursuing the fight against corruption, he vowed to fight the menace to a standstill.
He urged the media to remain undaunted in supporting the EFCC.
Magu, who spoke at a session with representative of media organisations in Abuja, said the battle against corruption was already half won.
He said: Gentlemen of the press, regardless of the challenges that we have faced and continue to face, I am happy to report that we are making progress.
“Many of you are aware of the achievements that we have recorded in the fight against corruption, especially in the area of assets recovery. Two (three) days ago, we got the court to forfeit to the Nigerian Government a sum of N7.6billion which was hidden in a Nigerian bank by former Petroleum Resources Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke.
“Two weeks earlier, another court issued a temporary forfeiture order to seize properties worth $21,392,224)belonging to the same former minister. Those properties are awaiting final forfeiture.
“Over a month ago, the commission recovered over N329billion from a group of oil marketers for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). These are major recoveries from a sector of the economy. But to give a holistic picture of the aggressive drive to recover stolen wealth, I have the pleasure to report that the commission, between January and August 30, 2017, recorded the following monetary recoveries: N409, 270, 706,686.75; $69, 501,156.67; £231,118.69;
€610,816.20; Dh 443,400.00 (Dirham); and SR70, 500.00( Saudi Riyal).
“In the area of prosecution of cases in court, we are also making progress despite the antics of some persons accused of grand corruption to delay trial.
“Between January and August this year, EFCC recorded 137 convictions. The potentials for improvement are good as more cases are brought to conclusion in the remaining four months of the year,” he added.
Magu also opened up on the purported rift between him and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami.
He said he had no issues with anybody and not after anyone.
Magu said: “Ladies and gentlemen, it would be naïve for anyone to expect the fight against corruption to be smooth; you should expect resistance and opposition which are expressed in various guises.
“From what we read in the papers these days, it is either somebody is fighting Magu or Magu is fighting other people.
“ I know that journalists want to sell their newspapers, but seriously speaking, instead of fighting ourselves, we should be united in fighting the common enemy, which is corruption.
“Personally, I am not after anybody and have no issues with anybody. Those who think they have issues with me will soon discover that I mean no harm. What drives me is the passion to do what is right by ensuring that we fight corruption to a standstill in this country.
“I believe in self-discipline, I respect authority. The AGF is number one minister, there is no reason for conflict.
“This is a fight for all of us, it is not just one person. Nobody can claim ownership, nobody has a monopoly of knowledge in fighting corruption. We need everybody on board now that the fight against corruption is getting tough.
“It has never been this tough. Corruption is fighting back. We are fighting corruption to ensure a better life for Nigerians and so that the next generation can be comfortable. It is not for our selfish interest.
“The way we are going, the corrupt elements have already failed, the battle is already half won but we must sustain the momentum. But the media is vital, the media is very key to the sustenance of the momentum. We must be united in fighting corruption because it is poison.”
On the setting up of a centre by the AGF to assist law enforcement agencies in investigation and prosecution, the Acting EFCC chairman said the agency was “ready to work with the centre.”
“Setting up committees or centres to work with law enforcement agencies has been done severally. It is just to bring in additional prosecutors to add value to what we are doing.
“Already, we have 137 convictions in eight months. Can you find out even if there is any law enforcement agency that recorded 10% of what we secured? We are ready to work with them.”
He debunked the notion that the EFCC has been indulging in media hype.
He said: “With all these media disclosures, we are just trying to be very transparent so that if you are not there, the records will be there.
“If there are things we are doing wrong, tell us. If there are things we are doing right, tell us so that we can improve.
“This meeting is part of my ongoing interface with critical stakeholders. Of course, there is no gainsaying the fact that the media remains the most important ally of the EFCC in the fight against corruption.
“We owe the media a debt of gratitude for whatever success we have recorded in the last two years. More importantly, we are convinced that the media remains strategic for future success of the EFCC and the fight against corruption in our country.
“I have not called you here to lecture you on anti- corruption. I am here to listen to you, to know what we are getting right and areas where we need to improve. I will be taking notes.
“This conviction inspired my decision to meet with you in this informal setting to interact and exchange ideas on the way forward in the fight against corruption in Nigeria.
Remarkable as this feat is, we are not resting on our oars. We believe there is still a lot to be done which is the reason why we are actively seeking the support of all stakeholders, including the media.
“We do not pretend to have a monopoly of knowledge on how to win the war against corruption.
“The anti-corruption campaign requires a concerted effort. I enjoin members of the public, including the media, to be part of this effort by reporting cases of corruption to the EFCC.”