The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu yesterday said whistleblowing has led to the recovery of N527, 463, 500, $53, 222, 747, £122, 890 and €547,730.
He said the EFCC will continue to be politically neutral in its operations and will go after anybody or institution with sufficient case to answer.
He said the commission will never shield anyone from investigation and prosecution in accordance with law.
Magu, who made the disclosures at an interactive session with newsmen in Abuja, said the “whistleblowing policy of the President Muhammadu Buhari is revolutionary.”
He said: “The whistleblowing policy is designed to encourage citizens to volunteere information that could lead to the recovery of stolen funds in return for a token pay out, not more than five per cent of the total recovered sum, as incentive.
“Since the policy came on stream, some humongous sums have been recovered by agencies saddled with the responsibility for its implementation.
“Figures released by the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun indicate that the government as at May this year had recovered N7.8billion, $278million and £27, 800.
“At the level of EFCC, the lead anti-corruption agency in Nigeria, funds recovered through information provided by whistleblowers is as follows: N527, 463, 500, $53, 222, 747, £122, 890 and €547,730.”
The EFCC chairman assured the nation of political neutrality and commitment to the Rule of Law.
He added: “I will like to use this opportunity to assure you all and indeed the Nigerian public that the commission under my leadership will continue to abide by the following code of ethics: That we will continue to put God first:
That the interest of our people is non-negotiable in all our operations;
That in the fight against corruption, the Commission, as a creation of the law, will continue to act within the ambit of the law;
That the commission will continue to be politically neutral in our operations and will go after anybody or institution that we sufficiently believe to have a case to answer; and
That the commission will never shield anyone from investigation and prosecution in accordance with law.
“That said, I will also use this opportunity to highlight some of the major achievements of the commission in the past months. These achievements cover the areas of convictions, Recoveries, Tracking Election Financing, Putting Searchlight on the Judiciary and Accounting for Security Budgets.
“Before we delve into the specifics, it would interest you to note that before now, it was inconceivable for law enforcement agencies to investigate the sources of election funding of political parties and their candidates. This has led to gross financial abuse and the perversion of the electoral process and consequently enthroned bad leadership which in turn led to corruption and bad governance.
“ With our modest achievement in this area, I can assure you that our politicians will be more circumspect as we go into the next general election. And our people have all to gain in this process of disinfecting the electoral process by monitoring the financing of elections because it will help to improve good governance when good candidates are elected not money bags.
“Secondly, before now, military budgets were no-go areas that unfortunately had hemorrhaged our country badly.
“Of course we can say this now with the benefits of hindsight. Numerous senior military officers and their civilian accomplices implicated in the $2.1 billion arms deal fraud were investigated and arrested.
“As you know, some of the people involved have refunded some monies they diverted and they are still standing trial for the roles they played in defrauding the country through the abuse of office.”
Magu gave more insights into the ongoing moves to cleanse the Judiciary.
He said: “There are also alleged corruption cases involving judges and even senior lawyers. Stories were rife of this alleged corruption so much so that the corrupt are now said to be shopping for “favourable” judges to handle their matters. The EFCC has decisively stepped in to put some Judges and lawyers on trial.
“We have even secured the conviction of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria. We can say that we have helped in building public confidence again in our judiciary. Between January and August 2018, the commission has secured 158 convictions and still counting. While within the same period, we have recovered: N106,516,222,383.68; US$1,635,925.81; £ 629,193.65; and € 25,575.00.
“Nonetheless, the Commission is currently collaborating with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to investigate and recover funds and properties within the provisions of the laws. So far, the Commission has recovered over N35 billion for the FIRS and about N4 billion for the AMCON. Tax liabilities of other institutions running into billions of naira have also been identified and the companies have agreed to pay.
“Furthermore, in an effort to maximize and utilize some of the forfeited properties recovered by the Commission, numerous government agencies have been allocated such properties to be used as offices.
“These magnificent properties are currently housing institutions such as the VAIDS office under the Ministry of Finance, a Unit from the Defence Headquarters, Voice of Nigeria, North-East Initiative and also the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD. This in a long run will drastically reduce the cost of rental by these institutions.”