…says list of looters will shock Nigerians
By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor
There were strong indications yesterday that highly-priced jewellery valued at £28 million seized from the former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, might be forfeited to the Federal Government.
The jewellery were impounded from the home of the former minister when operatives of the anti-graft agency raided her house in Abuja shortly after she lost her position.
A top official of the EFCC confirmed to Vanguard in Abuja that the boxes containing the items were stored in a safe custody with some of the items still bearing their expensive price tags.
“Maybe we will soon invite Nigerians to come and see what one person acquired or collected as gifts while serving as minister,” the official said on Tuesday in Abuja.
“We have even brought in dealers and experts from the United Kingdom who have assessed the value of the gold and silver in the boxes we seized from the woman’s homes and they have ascertained that the value is not below £28 million,” the top official said.
Responding to a question on the list of those who had looted the treasury, being bandied about by both the government and the opposition, the official said that the final list of looters would shock Nigerians.
“Nigerians have not seen even 10 percent of the looters yet; and when the list comes, it will shock Nigerians,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, Babatunde Fowler, has for the first time admitted that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission assisted it to recover N28 billion from various tax defaulters across the country.
“Through the intervention of the EFCC, the agency has been experiencing high level of tax compliance and it is yielding positive results,” Fowler confessed when he met with the Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu in Abuja on Tuesday.
According to him, “When tax defaulters are reported and invited to your office (EFCC), we see results; we don’t know how you do it, but we are seeing results and people are complying.”
He believed that the FIRS alone cannot curtail the activities of tax evaders without the collaboration of other national and international agencies such as the EFCC.
The FIRS boss emphasized the need to strengthen the existing collaboration and synergy between the two agencies and assured that his organization would explore all means backed by law to ensure that taxes are paid and not diverted.
According to him, if taxes are paid, funds would be available for government to provide the infrastructure needed for the socio-economic well-being of the citizenry.
Responding, Magu, assured that “the commission is ever ready to partner any agency, organisation or individual in fighting corruption for to move the nation forward.