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Buhari’s anti-corruption crusade gets tough

The anti-corruption campaign, under President Muhammadu Buhari, has triggered unprecedented actions on concerned agencies, especially the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). During the elections,…

The anti-corruption campaign, under President Muhammadu Buhari, has triggered unprecedented actions on concerned agencies, especially the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
During the elections, President Buhari based his campaign on a change mantra aimed at eradicating corruption, which has frustrated Nigerians over the years.
Corruption was blamed for the underdevelopment of Nigeria; hence, according to Buhari, there was the need to kill corruption before it killed Nigerians.
Shortly after Buhari won the 2015 presidential election, sources at the EFCC, Nigeria’s foremost anti-corruption agency, hinted that public officers started returning money to government accounts, even without being prompted to do so.
In the 365 days of the Buhari presidency, there are three major corruption investigations. Unarguably, the most popular among the cases is what is now known as Dasukigate. The EFCC arraigned the former National Security Adviser (NSA) to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Sambo Dasuki, over an alleged embezzlement of $2.1 billion.
The money is said to have been earmarked for the purchase of weapons to enable the armed forces fight insurgency in the northeastern part of the country.
A presidential panel investigating the arms deal indicted several retired military service chiefs and senior military officers who are currently under investigation by the EFCC.
Revelations from the investigation led to the arraignment of the former Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh, over financial crimes.
A former Chief of Air Staff reportedly returned public funds to the tune of about N2 billion, traced to him by the EFCC.
The commission also confiscated properties alleged to belong to both serving and retired senior military officers who were linked to the arms deal scam.
The presidency recently said the actual amount stolen in the arms deal scam under the watch of the former NSA was about $15 billion.
Another high-profile investigation is the arraignment of Senate President Bukola Saraki before the Code of Conduct Tribunal over an allegation of fraud in the asset declaration form he submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau.
There is also the infamous Diezanigate, which is linked to the former minister of petroleum resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke and her financial activities in office. Here, the EFCC is tracing billions of naira shared by chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
It is alleged that the former minister released the sum of N23billion public fund through Fidelity Bank Plc for the 2015 re-election campaign of former Jonathan.
It is said that the EFCC investigators tracing the disbursement of the funds have made several arrests and recovered some of the money.
The acting chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, on Thursday said: “In just six months of this year, we have secured over 140 convictions, including some elusive high-profile criminals. We have recovered billions of dollars worth of stolen funds and blocked numerous avenues of money laundering.”
The national coordinator, Procurement Observation and Advocacy Initiative, Mohammed Bougei Attah, in an interview, said that in the last one year, the EFCC had exhibited actions that upheld the integrity of the institution by fighting corruption in a manner that was never before, since its establishment in 2001.
He said: “The EFFC we know has taken the fight against corruption far more serious than in previous administrations, even under President Olusegun Obasanjo. They have demonstrated that indeed, no one is above the law.
“In fact, the EFCC has woken up from slumber and now living up to the expectations of the people by bringing corrupt public officers to book.’’
Attah said the anti-graft agency could get more results by applying rules under the Public Procurement Act, 2007 in their prosecutions. He noted that 70 per cent of corruption in the public sector was in procurements.

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