In four years, no fewer than 1,204 financial crime offenders have been nailed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
This cheery news came from the commission’s boss, Ibrahim Magu while presenting a scorecard at the National Democracy Day Anti-Corruption Summit with the theme “Curbing Electoral Spending: A Panacea to Public Corruption” in Abuja.
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, Magu disclosed.
The commission also announced the recovery of funds, properties and several other assets worth billions of naira, even as the chairman said corruption still remains a challenge in Nigeria, and emphasised the need for a multi-stakeholder approach to sustain the onslaught against corruption.
“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,” he said,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, and enjoined 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 said
He expressed satisfaction that “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 chairman 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 and noted that, “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.”
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 praised President Muhammadu Buhari “for his extraordinary support of the commission and his resolute principle of non-interference in the anti-corruption war.”