…Impounds private jets, mansions, estates, exotic cars from corrupt but powerful Nigerians; secures 2240 convictions, recovers N980bn from suspects
….Trails disbursement of COVID-19 cash
By Soni Daniel
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, said yesterday, that some serving and past governors were being investigated for corrupt practices that have reportedly robbed their states of huge sums of public funds.
Acting Chairman of the Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, while briefing the media at a ceremony in his office to mark the 2020 Democracy Day, said the probe of those governors, whose names he did not give, was borne out of numerous petitions filed against them by individuals and groups pertaining to the looting of public funds.
But Magu used the opportunity to roll out the success story of the commission in the last five year, indicating that it recovered several assets believed to have been acquired with public funds by powerful and influential but corrupt Nigerians with public funds.
The chairman disclosed that within the same period, the anti-graft agency secured no fewer than 2240 convictions and recovered at least N980 billion for the Federal and state governments.
Additionally, Magu said the commission had within the same period, seized many property suspected to have been acquired with stolen public funds such as estates, ships, petrol stations, schools, hotels, shopping malls and jewelleries and will soon expose the suspects behind the looting by charging them to court.
Magu said: “As you all know in your regular reporting, the EFCC is not only ahead, it is clearly so. We are on course in all the cases we are prosecuting. Our scorecard in the area of conviction is 2,240 in the last five years.
“We have recovered assets in excess of N980 billion and quite a large array of non-monetary assets like properties, estates, private jets, oil vessels, filling stations, schools; hotels; trucks and other automobiles; jewelleries; plazas, shopping malls, electronics, among others.
“Almost on daily basis, we receive very serious petitions against serving and former governors. One of them alleged a sitting governor diverted huge public funds from the state’s treasury for a personal cause and we are on the matter. We have many of such cases against past and serving governors,” the chairman announced.
Magu, who expressed delight over the political support he has enjoyed from Nigerians and the Presidency, which he said had given him a free hand to discharge his job, said operatives of the commission were trailing top government officials on the lodgement and disbursement of huge cash meant for the management of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“At the appropriate time, we shall make public our position on the management of the Covid-19 funds and explain to Nigerians who got what, disbursed what and to who and for what purpose, in order to make Nigerians know how their money was used,”he said, allaying public fears that the funds had been diverted.
He explained that the commission had already written to all the banks where the funds are lodged and given them appropriate directives on what they needed to do and report to the commission on specified basis.
The chairman also shed light on the money laundering allegation, which the United States Department of Justice and the EFCC had levied against the Chief Executive of Peace Air, Allen Onyeama, pointing out that the case was still being silently investigated with view to making the businessman defend himself at the appropriate time.
He said the agency had received no immediate correspondence from the U.S Department of Justice, DOJ, on what next to do with regards to the suspect.
Turning to the case of the former Minister of Petroleum, Magu said Diezani Alison Madueke was being held up in London by the British Government, which has neither charged her to court for alleged economic crime nor release her to Nigeria to face numerous charges already preferred against her by the commission.
He explained that the anti-graft agency would also seek to enforce a Mutual Legal Assistance with the Dominican Republic, which he said, issued Mrs. Madueke a diplomatic passport and granted her subtle immunity from prosecution.
He explained that the International passport confirming Diezani’s Dominican citizenship and honorary Investment official was recovered when EFCC stormed her home and seized the document.