The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, yesterday said the war against corruption has just started.
He said he had no fear in his “Deoxyribo Nucleic Acid” (DNA) which is sometimes called “the molecule of life”.
He said “corruption flourishes when good people fail to confront it”.
He said between January and August this year, the EFCC recorded 137 convictions.
Magu, who opened up in an in-house magazine of the anti-graft agency, EFCC Alert, said the battle against corruption had reached a level where no one could stop it.
The November edition of the magazine features what it is titled as a “chronicle of thoughts” of Magu.
The Acting EFCC Chairman said the commission would not succumb to pressure under any guise.
Magu has been facing a series of plots since he stepped on toes with the investigation of many high-profile cases.
The National Assembly has launched a fresh plot for the removal of the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu.
The plot includes the alleged instigation of a petition by some forces and anonymous staff of the EFCC in order to rein in Magu.
But the EFCC boss said he was ready to fight corruption to the end and warned that the days of impunity are over.
He said: “Those talking about succumbing to pressure do not know Ibrahim Magu. I have no fear in my DNA. The bigger they are, the better for me. I do not fear anybody. The EFCC’s motto is ‘Nobody is above the law’. That is what it is supposed to be; equality before the law is the grand norm of our constitution. So, we cannot succumb to pressure.
“Victory is certain for the common man. It is part of my vision to take the fight against corruption to the grassroots. We shall not betray the trust and confidence reposed in us. We have reached a level where nobody can stop us in the fight against corruption, but we all must realize that we are all stakeholders, and this fight is for the future generation.”
Magu said the only way to bring succour to this country was to wage war against corruption.
He added: “Those who dread to be punished for their corrupt deeds should take notice that the EFCC is watching. It would be naïve for anyone to expect the fight against corruption to be smooth; you should expect resistance and opposition which are expressed in various guises.
“If you go to the United States or the United Kingdom, they are all awash with news about our efforts in the fight against corruption, particularly the Malabu Oil scandal.”
In spite of the criticisms against the EFCC, he said the agency had recorded some achievements, including a record of 137 convictions between January and August 2017.
He said: “We are making progress. Nigerians are aware of the achievements that we have recorded in the fight against corruption especially in the area of assets recovery. We got the court to forfeit to the Nigerian Government a sum of N7.6 billion which was hidden in a Nigerian bank by a former petroleum resources minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke.
“The commission recovered over N329 billion from a group of oil marketers for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. These are major recoveries from a sector of the economy. I have the pleasure to report that the commission between January and August 30, 2017 recorded monetary recoveries (that amounted to) N409,270,706,686.75; $69,501,156.67;£231,118.69; €610,816.20; 443,400.00 Dirham; and 70,500 Saudi Riyal. Remarkable as this feat is, we are not resting on our oars.
“In the area of prosecution of cases in court, we are making progress despite the antics of some persons accused of grand corruption to delay trial. Between January and August this year, the EFCC recorded 137 convictions. The potential for improvement is good as more cases are brought to conclusion.
“On my watch, where hapless Nigerians are defrauded, the EFCC will swiftly come to their aid; where powerless Nigerians are shortchanged, the EFCC will intervene; where there is impunity, the EFCC will step in and level the field. The struggle to enthrone a just and equitable society has been, and will continue to be my life.”
Magu denied allegation of torturing of suspects by the EFCC, which he said only investigates non-violent crimes
He said: “We don’t chase innocent people, but thieves of state resources. We conduct certain background investigation before we invite a suspect. When we invite you, all we ask you is to corroborate our findings.
“We don’t torture people; far from it. We investigate non-violent crimes and so we have no basis to torture anyone. We specialize in financial crimes investigation, which means we follow the money to the extent of knowing how you utilized the money, how you distributed it, and so we do our own homework before we invite anybody.
“The EFCC has come a long way, from its very humble beginnings in 2003. From a handful of seconded staff, working with no takeoff funds, office or equipment, we are present in all the geo-political zones of the country, with hundreds of ongoing investigations and prosecutions in courts all over the country.
“We have also recognized the need for global partnerships in the work that we do and are therefore in mutually-beneficial relationships with all the leading law enforcement and regulatory agencies around the world. In the comity of global law enforcement, the EFCC is the reference agency.”
Magu gave insights into why the EFCC plans to take the anti-corruption battle to the nation’s universities.
He said: “Nigerian universities are hosts to millions of young men and women in their late teens and early 20s, pursuing courses from accounting to zoology. This demographic is what fascinates us at the EFCC, it is these young men and women that will, on graduation, move into the Nigerian civil and public services, as well as the private sector of the economy.
“To repeat an all too familiar cliché, they are the future leaders. Unfortunately, there are preciously little or no courses in our universities to prepare these young men and women about corruption, how it manifests itself, its ramifications, and what they could do to stop it.
“The EFCC believes that university students constitute a strategic target of anti-corruption training and awareness raising activities as they will become tomorrow’s managers. It is for that reason that I am canvassing for the introduction of anti-corruption courses for all university undergraduates in Nigeria.”