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EFCC recovered N980b assets in five years, says Magu
From Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Abuja, Robert Egbe, Lagos; Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin; Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi and AbdulGafar Alabelewe, Kaduna
The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, said on Thursday that the agency had secured 2,240 convictions and recovered assets worth more than N980 billion in five years.
He said the assets included private jets, oil vessels and shopping malls.
Magu, at a news conference in Abuja to mark the 2020 Democracy Day, also spoke on the ongoing efforts to extradite a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, and the planned retrial of an erstwhile Governor of Abia State, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu.
He said: “As you (journalists) know, 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 N980bn and quite a large array of non-monetary assets like properties, estates, private jets, oil vessels, filling stations, schools; hotels; trucks and other automobiles; jewelries; plazas, shopping malls, electronics, among others.
“The EFCC is making impressive progress in digitalized and non-digitalized investigations.
“The anti-corruption agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari is real, robust and yielding visible results. We will not relent on our assigned mandate.”
The anti-graft czar lamented that the agency was being frustrated by officials of its United Kingdom counterpart in the investigation of Alison-Madueke.
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The EFCC boss however restated that the ex-minister had been placed on watch-list and INTERPOL Red Alert.
He said the alleged citizenship and acquisition of the diplomatic passport of the Commonwealth of Dominica by Diezani would not stop her investigation.
Magu said: “We are being frustrated because this is an investigation that has been on for more than five years. I wonder why an investigation like this, that is very obvious, should last for five years.
“It is frustrating. It is a financial crime investigation, the thread is very obvious, you can trail it.
“I keep on saying this; let us put pressure on the UK authorities so that if they have not established any case against Diezani, they should bring her back so that the next day we take her to court. We will do the needful at the court.
“It is true that we have been frustrated by our colleagues in the UK but I think we are looking at it now. We have exhausted all avenues. We have placed her on watch-list and she is also on Red Alert at INTERPOL level. I don’t even know why the INTERPOL has not done the needful.”
He added that the fact that Diezani allegedly has a diplomatic passport of the Commonwealth of Dominica” does not stop us from carrying out our investigations.”
“We will ask for Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) with the Commonwealth of Dominica. We can also report the country to the Commonwealth of Nations,” he said.
On Kalu, who was last week released from the correction centre in Kuje near Abuja, he said the agency was set for his retrial over the diversion of N7.65bn belonging to the Abia State Government.
Magu said: “The Supreme Court’s judgment was very clear. It said we should take Kalu back to court for trial. That is the judicial directive.
“We are waiting for the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court to give directive and we shall start his prosecution. We are ready, all our evidence and other documents are intact.”
Magu also said the EFCC has asked all the banks to provide it with details of palliative funds in their care.
On funds for COVID-19 palliatives, the EFCC chairman said: “We are monitoring what is happening, we have asked banks to give us the details. If there is any infraction, we will not spare anybody.”
Zonal Head of the Lagos office of the anti-graft agency, Muhammed Rabo, said they secured 257 convictions and recovered N14.1bn, $5,7m and €31,500 between May 2019 and early June, 2020.
Rabo, in a statement by the zone’s Head of Public Affairs, Ayo Oyewole, said, “From May 2019 till date, the Zone has arrested 1,444 suspects, filed 585 cases in various courts and arraigned over 300 persons,. Including Ismaila Mustapha (aka Mompha), and his alleged conspirator, Hamza Khoudeih, for various criminal offences.
He added that the collaboration between the EFCC and Navy resulted in the investigation of 195 suspects, 21 vessels and two fibre boats taken over from Navy Ship Beecroft.
Rabo’s counterpart in Ilorin, Isyaku Sharu, said the commission uncovered 1,000 ghost workers in the Kwara State Universal Basic Education Board (KWSUBEB). .
He disclosed that a permanent secretary and a director of SUBEB were currently in their custody over the scam.
Sharu put total cash and asset recovered by the agency at N9. 13bn.
He said; “The zone has also uncovered alleged diversion of about. N750 million from the Light Up Kwara Project in which about N72 million was used in purchasing a property in Guzape area of Abuja.
“Interim forfeiture of a residential building in Ikoyi, Lagos belonging to a top politician with a conservative value of N2bn.
“Interim forfeiture of a residential building in GRA, Ilorin belonging to the same politician with a conservative value of N1.5bn…”
In Makurdi, Acting Head of Operations at the EFCC zonal office, Mr Mohammed Alkali, said the agency secured 20 convictions and recovered N84m in 18 months.
Alkali lamented that some graduates, corps members and even secondary school students were now involved in nefarious activities like Ponzi schemes and Advance Fee Fraud.
Zonal Head of the commission in Kaduna said the zone made recovery of N717.6m and $206.798 in the last one year.
He said: “A total of 871 petitions were received, with about 159 cases with the Legal anx Prosecution Directorate for legal advice, while a total of 126 petitions were rejected and transfered to various collaborating agencies as they do not fall under the purview of the EFCC’s mandate.
He added that “10 exotic residential buildings, a shopping complex, one functional pure water factory, one filling station, one farm house, and twelve exotic cars all running into billions of Naira have been recovered.”
EFCC recovered N980b assets in five years, says Magu