By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu has expressed sadness over the slow pace of action by the British government on the corruption case, involving former Petroleum Minister, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.
Mrs. Alison-Madueke who is in UK is being prosecuted by the UK government on corruption charges.
However, Mr. Magu noted that the matter had dragged on in the UK for more than four years with no visible result and no end in sight.
Mr. Magu who spoke while receiving a team of International Criminal Police Organization, Interpol, at EFCC’s headquarters, in Abuja, Wednesday.
His words, “There is the case of Diezani which has been going on for over four years and the amount involved is about $2.4 billion and no kobo has been recovered from overseas. Though we have recovered some of the proceeds of the crime, we are still tracing others”, he said.
The EFCC boss, however, noted that the Commission’s relationship with Interpol has made it easier to place suspects on red notice, adding that “though we have not been able to arrest some of these fleeing people, it is good that they know they are on red notice, as there are Nigerians like Diezani whom we have applied for.”
He disclosed that getting Mrs. Alison-Madueke, Mr. Dan Etete, (former petroleum minister) and Mr. Mohammed Adoke (former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice), all of whom are overseas and facing fraud cases in Nigeria, back to the country has been a problem. He therefore, urged their new countries of residence to either prosecute them or hand them over to Nigeria “since they are Nigerians.”
The EFCC boss assured Interpol of the Commission’s continued support towards the strengthening of collaboration, particularly in information sharing.
“We are willing to cooperate with Interpol at all times, if there is anything other enforcement agencies cannot provide especially in financial crime, the Interpol is sure to get result here in EFCC because we specialize in financial crime, money laundering and terrorist financing.
“We are thankful for Interpol residency in the EFCC i24/7. We are delighted that the collaboration with Interpol is yielding results, especially in the area of intelligence,” Mr. Magu stated.
Sebastian Bley, Interpol’s Coordinator on Anti-corruption, while commending the efforts of the EFCC in the fight against corruption said: “We are fostering our relationship with selected law enforcement agencies in Nigeria because we are doing a set of activities which have been fruitful. One area we will need to be stronger is the area of case coordination support.
“What we do basically is capacity building, expert working group meetings and regional training workshop. The next workshop is coming up in August in Ghana and the EFCC will participate.”
Bley further informed the Commission that the Interpol was ready to offer it support in all areas of its mandate. “Interpol can take care of logistics; we can give support in terms of investigation and recovery of funds. Interpol is the platform, the channel that allows law enforcement agencies to gather together and exchange sensitive information among themselves as a closed group.
“We thank the great collaboration we have with the EFCC and we are looking forward to foster the relationship. The capacity building in Ghana which the EFCC is contributing is a good step,” Bley said.