To abolish banks secrecy, sanction banks, lawyers, brokers
As EFCC secures 835 convictions, recovers over N796bn
Kagame warns trust declining in Africa
By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief & Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA—President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed that his administration’s anti-graft fight would be tougher in his second term, with a threat to sanction banks, lawyers and stock brokers who aid corrupt practices in the country.
He spoke at the National Democracy Day Anti-Corruption Summit, organised by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in Abuja, yesterday.
Buhari, who said he was reviewing the anti-corruption strategy to make it more effective, stated: “During the recently concluded election campaigns, I stated clearly that the major areas of priority during my second term in office, as it was in my first term, will be security, economic improvement and fight against corruption. I remain committed to the fulfillment of these promises.
“Now, as this administration commences, we are taking stock of progress made so far in the war against corruption, assessing what needs to be done and devising new strategies to address existing challenges.
“I am pleased to inform you that this process has already started with the recent interaction between Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption and all anti-corruption agencies in Nigeria.
“The outcome of the interaction, among others, shall serve as the basis for a more concerted effort by this administration to strengthen the capacity of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and other anti-corruption agencies by providing additional material, organisational and logistical support;
“Close existing legislative loopholes facilitate collaboration with the judiciary and strengthen the criminal justice system.
“Enforce effective asset declaration by public office holders and ensure sanctions by professional bodies against lawyers, bankers, brokers, public officials, and other individuals facilitating corrupt practices.
“Ensure comprehensive support and protection to whistleblowers, witnesses and victims of corruption.
“Adopt and formulate the policy of ‘naming and shaming’ all those who engage in corrupt practices while encouraging and honouring those who do not.
“Educate, mobilise and encourage Nigerians at the grassroots level to take ownership of the fight against corruption;
“Press for a crackdown on safe havens for corrupt assets, abolishing of bank secrecy jurisdictions and tax havens on the continent and beyond;
“Insist on the unconditional return of looted assets kept abroad and further strengthening of international cooperation through information and mutual legal assistance.”
Uncontrolled electoral spending
Speaking on the theme, “Curbing Electoral Spending: A Panacea for Public Corruption,” the President said “uncontrolled electoral spending and voter inducement by politicians must be combated, if we want to consolidate true democracy and on good governance.
“Corruption rewards those who do not play by the rules and also creates a system of patronage where the resources are shared out by a small elite, while the majority are trapped in poverty.
‘’Recent political experiences have been characterised by the corrupting influence of money on party politics and electioneering processes.
“Uncontrolled electoral spending and voter inducement by politicians must be combated if we want to consolidate on true democracy and good governance,” President Buhari insisted.
EFCC secures 835 convictions, recovers over N796bn
Earlier, the acting Chairman of EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, said his team had secured 835 convictions, recovers over N796 billion between 2015 and 2019.
He said: “The convictions secured by the commission since the beginning of this administration reflect a positive progression. In 2015 the commission secured 103 convictions, 194 in 2016, 189 in 2017 and 312 in 2018.
“From January 2019 to date, the commission has secured over 406 convictions and recovered several assets worth billions of naira.”
In addition to the N796 billion recovered by the EFCC, Mr. Magu listed recoveries in other currencies to include: $261 million; 1.129 million pounds; 8.168 million euros; and 86, 500 CFA .
Corruption fuelling terrorism in Nigeria
He also warned that “corruption does not only stifle economic and social benefits due to the citizens, but it also perpetuates terrorism in Nigeria as numerous studies and the empirical evidence available to EFCC indicate.”
In his keynote address, President of Rwanda, Mr. Paul kagame, warned: “Trust is declining in Africa, leaving a cynical citizenry who are easily bought over by opposition. Without transparency, it is not possible to earn the trust of others.”
He opined that corruption was thriving because leaders allowed it, saying, “where ever corruption has become a way of life, it is because their leaders have made it that way” because, according to him, “the rich and powerful are the major beneficiaries of corruption.“
The Rwandan president noted that corruption did not need centuries to eradicate and explained that the purpose of transparency was not to impress others, but to make the society better for all.
According to him, there was need to take immediate steps to close the wide gap between the rich and the poor on the African continent.