By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor
…Trails sources of campaign funds
ABUJA—Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, issued a stern warning to corrupt elements in the country that there would be no hiding place for them or their loot in any part of the world.
Similarly, the commission, showcased what it called its accomplishments in the last three years, spanning 2015 to 2018, during which it said it secured a total of 158 convictions and recovered a huge cash haul from corrupt elements.
At an interactive session with senior journalists in Abuja, Acting Chairman of EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, disclosed that the anti-graft agency recovered N106.5 billion, $1.6 billion, 25,575 euro from corrupt elements and institutions within the past three years.
Within the same period, Magu said EFCC recovered N35 billion for Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, and another N4 billion for Assets Management Company of Nigeria, AMCON, while tax liabilities running into billions of naira had also been identified by the agency, with the culprits agreeing to pay voluntarily.
With the successful recovery of the huge hidden funds for the two agencies of government, Magu revealed that both of them were collaborating with the anti-graft agency to investigate and recover stolen and hidden property within the provisions of the law.
The chairman announced that in a bid to checkmate the use of stolen funds to compromise the 2019 elections, the commission has begun moves to trail cash withdrawals from banks before, during and after every election.
He said: “We want to monitor the sources for campaign funding so as to checkmate vote-buying, which has become a big issue in recent elections.
“For that reason, we are going to monitor how much is being withdrawn by individuals and groups from banks prior to election, during and after each election.”
But in carrying out all the functions, Magu said no individual rights would be violated and assured all Nigerians that the commission would follow the rule of law in the discharge of its duties and obligations.
“I will like to use this opportunity to assure all and indeed all the Nigerian public that the commission under my leadership will continue to abide by the following code of ethics: That we ill continue to put God first, that the interest of our people is non-negotiable in all our operations.
“That in the fight against corruption, the commission, as a creation of the law, will continue to act within the ambit of the law; that the commission will continue to be politically neutral in our operations and will go after anybody or institution that we sufficiently believe to have a case to answer and that the commission will never shield anyone from investigation and prosecution in accordance with the law,” Magu pledged.
Magu also revealed that some top military officers, who stole part of the $2.1 billion cash for military equipment had been arrested and had refunded part of the money but did not say how much had been refunded and who the culprits were.
He, however, said that some of those who refunded money and property were also standing trial for the offences, while top corrupt judges and lawyers were also being tried in order to sanitise the judiciary and pave the way for fair trial of cases.
Magu, who was flanked by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Social Media, Mrs. Lauretta Onochie, appealed to journalists to support the war against graft so as to rescue Nigeria from the hands of looters, who have enslaved the country for their own selfish interest.
Onochie pleaded with journalists to always stand on the side of truth and honesty by exposing those who had connived to loot the common wealth of Nigerians with ignominy.