The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, on Thursday, said only about 15 per cent of funds allegedly misappropriated by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, had been recovered. Magu, who said the commission was working with the United Kingdom on her case, noted that efforts were being made to extradite her back to Nigeria.
The anti-corruption boss, who spoke during a courtesy visit of the principal officers of the commission to The PUNCH Place, Magboro, on Thursday, vowed never to give up until all the money stolen from the country was recovered. He said:
“We are working on the process of Diezani’s extradition. But we have to allow them (the UK government) because we are collaborating. There is the National Crime Agency and the Crown Prosecution Service in London, and our colleagues, the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in America. We had cause to meet in London. I was there myself for about a week. We are working not only on the Diezani case; but the Diezani case has become a test case.”
“It is even more notorious than the so-called Abacha loot because we have not seen anything yet. I’m sure what we have seen is not more than may be 15 per cent. I think it is going to be a long time. That is why sometimes I think we should appeal to the looters to return the loot. Come and tell the government, ‘This is what I have stolen.’ Since you have voluntarily complied with the instruction to bring back the loot, then the government will take a decision. I think it is the best way to go about it, otherwise, the monies would be wasted.”
“Diezani has a lot of people who are well connected, like (Jide) Omokore who are international businessmen. They have private aircraft and you can’t see any of them in Nigeria. They went and kept them in Ghana, some of them. But we are working with almost all law enforcement agencies in the world. They are all willing to work with us because what I told them is, ‘As long as you have any (claim) of criminality in Nigeria, call us.’
“We will go after the criminals because we don’t wait for protocol. Delay is dangerous; when you delay you will not see it. So, we are ready to cooperate with everybody and people have shown willingness. Last time I went to the international convention, they said Nigeria should show it experience. So, the whole world at the United Nations level wants to hear our asset recovery experience.”
Magu noted that the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission had been informed of the needs of the anti-corruption agency, saying there would soon be an upgrade of facilities. He said the agency was also giving attention to the welfare of its workers to avoid undue influence or temptation in the course of their assignments. The EFCC boss explained that the EFCC was making efforts to involve experienced lawyers in order to reduce the rate of loss of court cases.
Magu, who expressed resolve to kill corruption in the country, called for support and collaboration from Nigerians, saying corruption was the greatest problem of the country. He said:
“I sometimes tell people, this rubbish called corruption was caused by my generation. It is our duty to remove it before the next generation, so that the next generation will have a better life.
“We are going into massive campaign against corruption. We have seen some good results. People are beginning to change. We want to beg you, let us sustain the momentum. We all have the responsibility to do that. It is about our people and the future of this country. We should do the right thing and give away our today for the better life of the next generation.”
The EFCC boss commended The PUNCH for its role in the anti-graft war and advised the media organisation to stay committed to responsible journalism. The Director of Public Affairs, EFCC, Osita Nwajah, noted that the commission had put in place measures to ease the burden associated with public complaints.
According to him, the anti-graft agency had a robust online petition receipt and investigation platform.\