EFCC Plan To Go After Corrupt Governors, Ministers After May 29
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has concluded plans to go after some outgoing governors and other public officials after May 29.
EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, who disclosed this yesterday at the headquarters of the commission during an exclusive interview with Daily Trust, specifically said more arrests would be made immediately after May 29.
Bawa, who hosted the management staff of Media Group, publishers of Daily Trust newspapers titles, Trust TV and Trust Radio, did not give names or the number of public officials that would be brought under the law.
Daily Trust reports that governors are among public officials that enjoy immunity and therefore could not be arrested or tried while in office………………………CONTINUE READING
Besides targeting those to be picked at the end of this administration, Bawa also disclosed that at least two ministries are currently under the radar of the commission for fraudulent activities that border on procurement processes.
According to him, one of the ministries committed fraud on about 20 contracts to the tune of N4 billion.
Bawa said, “Currently, we’re investigating two ministries where double payments were made. In one of the ministries, the double payments, cumulatively, were about 20 contracts of over N4bn.
“These were contracts that were done way back 2018, and then some group of people, so bold, came up with the same narration.
“They moved the documents from the file, forged them, and then of course in conspiracy of some civil servants, raised vouchers and pay. How can that happen if we have digitalised procurement processes.”
We’ll not be intimidated
Also reacting to a question on the agitations of some civil society organisations calling for his sack, Bawa said the commission would not be intimidated by their actions.
The EFCC boss said, “It is on record that I am the first sitting EFCC chairman to go to court and testify, not once, not twice or three times. We now have some group of people that were paid, we know the people that are paying them, coming up with all sorts of gang-ups.
“We are following due process and the rule of law. The court had made a pronouncement, we have appealed that, and there is a stay of execution, what do you expect? We move on!
“How many of our cases were lost? We lost 41 and we got 3,785. What is there? What are we talking about? Who is losing? Who is not losing? Nobody is losing and nobody is winning. But it is like that!
“It happened in 2007, it happened in 2011, it happened in 2015, it happened in 2019 and it is happening in 2023. We’re students of history.
“People are just trying to tell the incoming government that they need to change the chairman, maybe because the chairman is doing the right things. It is just a question of corruption fighting back. Nothing more!
“But what they do not know is the fact that in the last couple of months, we have more than ever before tried to institutionalise the operational activities of the EFCC.
“Whether it is Bawa or not, the EFCC will continue to do those good works that they don’t want and those prosecutions we’re planning to do.
“And God willing, come May and June, we are going to make some huge arrests and commence huge prosecutions of people.
“And for those people that are not leaving in May, whenever they are leaving, we will be waiting for them to ensure that justice is done.”
Automation policy in procurement underway
The EFCC chairman said digitisation of the procurement process was being spearheaded by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) and the World Bank. He specifically said automation of the process would curb a series of fraudulent activities of civil servants in connivance with other public office holders in the country.
“It is the World Bank that is working with the Bureau of Public Procurement, it is called EGP. It is primarily towards digitalising the procurement processes of the federal government entities.
“As a pilot scheme, they proposed to start with nine MDAs. These nine MDAs constitute close to about 70 per cent of the total capital budget expenditure of the government.
“When we heard about it, we studied it, we realised that this is something the EFCC needs to support, encourage and ensure its own implementation to the fullest.
“This is because no single kobo of government can be expended particularly when it comes to capital expenditure without passing through the procurement processes.
“That if we’re able to digitise the processes, we will be able to weed out procurement fraud before award, during award and after award on the fact that all the documents are being digitised.
“This is some of the silent behind-the-scenes achievements that this government is going to leave for Nigerians before May 29. We’re very happy we did, and God willing, it is going to help us tremendously to checkmate public sector corruption in Nigeria.”
9,060 convictions recorded in 8 years
Bawa said the EFCC recorded unprecedented convictions of economic criminals after he took over the leadership of the commission.
He said the anti-graft agency only lost 41 cases since he took over while 3,785 convictions had been secured.
He stated: “To start with, when you talk about the tangible things we have done, which Nigerians want to see, let’s go back to that.
“In 2015, the EFCC recorded only 103 convictions. In 2016, we recorded 195, and in 2017, we went down to 189. In 2018, the EFCC recorded 312. In 2019, the EFCC had 1,280 convictions.
“In 2020, because of COVID-19, we recorded 976 convictions. In 2021, you know I took over on the 5th of March, 2021. But in 2021, we recorded unprecedentedly 2,220 convictions.
“Last year, we recorded 3,785 convictions. Only 41 cases were discharged and acquitted. If you do the mathematics, that means we have a 98% success rate in courts.
“Any student that writes an examination, cases that have been concluded, we got 98% in them. That is A+. You cannot go to court with these high numbers of cases and then not follow court orders and processes.
“And some people are not doing this. Every action during the trial periods of those cases, was in compliance with the court orders.”
How FG spending recovered loots
He also said some of the proceeds of crime recovered were being expended on critical infrastructure in the country as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He listed Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, the Second-Niger Bridge and Abuja-Kano Expressway as some of the infrastructures where the recoveries are being expended.
“With the coming of POCA (Proceeds of Crime Act) into law, there is a provision in the law that all stakeholder organisations must open a confiscated and forfeited property’s accounts.
“You will recall that the president signed the bill into law on the 12th of May, 2022, to be precise, and we are the first agency to open those accounts.
“Before the passage of POCA, all monies belonging to the federal government would be put into the Consolidated Revenue Funds but now, we put it into POCA.
“We transferred N110 billion into that account, $29 million into the dollar account, more than 6 million Euros into the Euros account, and about 1.7 million pounds into the pounds account.
“The president instructed that those monies be utilised to complete the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, the Second-Niger Bridge and Abuja-Kano expressway,” he said.