Transparency International rating on corruption in Nigeria has become political – Magu

The acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, yesterday faulted the corruption index on Nigeria by Transparency International (TI).

He said politics was already creeping into the indices being used by the international body.

He also said having special courts to tackle corruption will help to accelerate trial of looters.

Magu, who made his feelings known at a briefing preparatory to the inauguration of the N24billion new office complex of EFCC, also said the EFCC will not punish the innocent.

He said: “There is a lot of politics in these indices. I don’t believe it is right. You are in this country. Would you say the situation is the same as when we took over?

“So, I don’t believe it but we are doing all we can to improve on our ratings next year. We should all work together on this. The job is not for us alone.”

On Special courts to try corruption cases in Nigeria, Magu described it as “a good idea that would go a long way to reduce the long years it takes to prosecute one case in all the courts from the Federal High Court to the Supreme Court.

“It would go a long way to speed up the tackling of corruption. The current system takes too long to conclude one case.”

He assured Nigerians of fairness by EFCC and clarified that the innocent will not suffer.

“We are doing a lot to make the agency serve Nigeria and Nigerians better. It is an institution that will stand the test of time.

“We will ensure that only those who genuinely looted the treasury are investigated, prosecuted and jailed and innocent persons not arrested indiscriminately,” he said.

Magu said contractors of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) will now be henceforth monitored by EFCC.

He said: “There was a time we met with the NDDC and civil societies. So, for instance if you have abandoned projects in Rivers State, we have civil organizations, we work together, we monitor and we go and inspect the abandon project, we bring them to book.

“We have been working on that even though it has not been very effective but we are on it. We deal with the HoS and civil societies in that particular state because it occurs across states. So, we have been working on it. It is very annoying that the NDDC gives jobs, people collect monies and they do nothing.”

The EFCC chairman said the new N24billion office complex will be inaugurated on Tuesday by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Magu said the cost of the 10-storey complex was not too much as being alleged.

He said: “How can N24bn be too much for this building? That is not fair. We were able to even do it at that cost because we procured most of the equipment. If you bring any valuer here, they will value the property at no less than N100billion.

“This shows prudence and transparency in the transaction. At that price! Go and see the transformers, the water filter and even the main building. How can it be too expensive?

“Somebody can even claim to have collected N24bn for constructing our clinic alone. It happens. They will collect that money and this place would be the same.”

When asked how he was able to finally complete the project after nearly 10 years, Magu attributed the feat to hard work and prudence.

“As long as you give them (contractors) money, they will work. I told them I wanted honest work and I gave them all the money. I warned all of them against sharp practices. I can tell you that before you can get a property like this, people will ask you five times the current price.

“If you like you can go round the whole of this country. You cannot get this kind of property with the equipment worth N24bn. No. You can go and bring valuers and ask them to value it.”

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