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EFCC secures 1,204 convictions in under Buhari administration

BY ONYEKA AJUMOBI ONOCHIE

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said it has, so far, secured a total of 1,204 convictions within the last four years of the administration of the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari.
Out of the 1,204 convictions, 103 were secured in 2015, while 194 were secured in 2016 and 189 and 312 secured in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Within the last six months of 2019 (January to date), the commission secured a total of 406 convictions.
The commission also announced the recovery of funds, properties and several other assets worth billions of naira.
Announcing this in his welcome address at the commission’s organized National Democracy Day Anti-Corruption Summit with the theme “Curbing Electoral Spending: A Panacea to Public Corruption” in Abuja, the EFCC Acting Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, said that, despite this record, corruption still remains a challenge in Nigeria, stressing the need for the fight to be fortified with a multi-stakeholder approach.
He said, “The private and public sectors are critical players in this regard and I am glad some state governors are taking steps to establish institutional mechanisms to fight corruption,” noting, however, that institutional mechanisms alone will not eradicate the endemic, “as we must have the passion and the will to make a difference.”
Magu noted that the business environment will never be sustainable if Nigerians remain sympathetic to the destructive tendencies of corruption, enjoining captains of industries to strengthen their corporate governance policies to reflect anti-corruption principles. “Thus, radical reforms are urgently needed for the business climate to attract foreign direct investments.”
He further stressed, “Gladly, this administration, in its anti-corruption drive, has endorsed some policies that will sanitise the business environment.
“The Executive Order 8 for the Voluntary Offshore Assets Regularisation Scheme and the Executive Order 6 for the Preservation of Assets Connected with Serious Corruption and other Relevant Offences, are all policy initiatives that would aid anti-corruption.”
The EFCC chair noted that there is no better time than now for effective collaboration amongst African states in the fight against corruption, as the scourge does not respect national borders.
“Organised criminal groups have developed intricate channels of illicit financial flows that deprive African economies of crucial resources for development,” he emphasized, adding, “Such resources end up in safe havens across the globe, prompting, among other things, the target set for the Sustainable Development Goals to remain a fantasy. We must intensify our efforts towards zero tolerance to corruption.”
Speaking on the summit’s theme, “Curbing Electoral Spending: A Panacea to Public Corruption,” he said, “Before the just just-concluded elections in Nigeria, we visited some countries in Africa that we suspect our politicians have been covertly laundering stolen wealth to. The governments of those countries were extremely receptive and helpful. This initiative contributed immensely to the success of anti-vote buying campaign of the commission during the 2019 elections, and it rekindles my belief in our continued collaboration with other law enforcement agencies across the globe in initiatives that are mutually beneficial.
“As we move to the Next Level of the war against corruption, the arena will certainly get tougher because we are determined to rid this country of all sorts of corruption for the benefits of the current and future generations.”
Expressing readiness to do more, Magu said, “We are not oblivious of the fact corruption fights back, but these threats will only solidify our resolve to make the frontiers of anti-corruption war more formidable,” adding, “we all have a moral burden on the fight against corruption, and as such, we must take full responsibility and ownership to the anti-corruption war.”
He expressed appreciation to President Buhari “for his extraordinary support of the commission and his resolute principle of non-interference in the anti-corruption war.
“Your Excellency, once again, on behalf of the officers and men of the EFCC, I am very pleased to have you here today to discuss how curbing electoral spending will lend value in the fight against corruption,” he enthused.

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