Corruption: I Don’t Care Who You Are, I’ll Go After You – Magu

Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu speaking to journalists in Benue state

 

Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, has distanced himself and the anti-graft agency from political inclination.

Speaking with journalists on Monday, Mr Magu stated that the agency will come after anyone alleged to be corrupt, regardless of who they are.

“I don’t care who you are, where you come from. The political inclination is not an issue, so there is no question of identifying the chairman of a political party under investigation,” he said.

“If you are corrupt, I’ll go after you. You can see the two governors who were convicted were APC governors; there is no doubt about that”.

READ ALSO: Tribunal Upholds Bala Mohammed’s Election As Bauchi Governor

He further explained that the agency does not invite people on a hear-say basis, but only when there is something linked to the person.

“If you are corrupt, we usually conduct a very thorough preliminary investigation before we go after you, that’s why if you are invited by EFCC, there must be something.

“I think the fear factor is helping a lot,” he added.

Anti-Corruption War Sometimes Used As Excuse To Degrade Rule Of Law – Paul Usoro

 

President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Paul Usoro, has said that the Federal Government sometimes uses the anti-corruption fight as an excuse to degrade the Rule of Law.

According to him, if the government is indeed serious about fighting corruption, it would directly block the loopholes that have allowed the menace to thrive.

Mr Usoro who was a guest on Channels TV’s Politics Today on Wednesday, said this while addressing the issue of Separation of Powers and the independence of the various arms of government.

Read Also: ‘This Government Is Intimidating The Judiciary’ – Galadima

He said: “This business of having to fight corruption…sometimes, it is used as an excuse to infringe on people’s rights and degrade the Rule of Law.

“If the government is seriously interested in having to fight corruption, the significant way to do it is to look at those loopholes in the system and make sure you plug those loopholes”.

The NBA boss also took a swipe at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for the manner in which he says the agency goes about fighting corruption.

According to him, recovering monies or winning cases does not bring an end to corruption.

“I find it very ridiculous that for example (the EFCC), its index for establishing that it is fighting corruption is how much money that it recovers and how many cases that it wins in court.

“That doesn’t stop corruption.

“On the other hand, if for example you find that petroleum subsidy enhances corruption, then government needs to look into it.

“If you look into it, then you will block that oxygen that gives life to corruption,” he said.

Russia Freezes Assets Of Opposition Anti-Corruption Group

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny addresses demonstrators during a rally in Moscow. Maxim ZMEYEV / AFP

 

Russia on Thursday froze the assets of an anti-corruption group that top opposition figure Alexei Navalny set up to expose the questionable wealth of top government officials, his spokeswoman said.

The ruling comes amid a crackdown on the opposition that has seen Navalny jailed and thousands of people detained at a series of rallies in Moscow calling for free and fair elections.

The Foundation for Fighting Corruption (FBK) has published reports detailing the lavish lifestyles of figures close to Russian President Vladimir Putin including Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

READ ALSO: Gambia Removes Yahya Jammeh’s Image From Bank Notes

A Moscow district court froze 75 million rubles ($1.1 million) held in accounts of the FBK and those of several staff members, Navalny’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh wrote on Twitter.

“This is the amount that they considered to be ‘laundered’,” she wrote on Facebook.

Investigators said that the FBK knowingly used a large amount of money that was gained by third parties through crime. A spokeswoman said it was around one billion rubles ($15.3 million).

The foundation solicits donations on its website.

The recent opposition protests have been among the largest since Putin returned to the Kremlin in 2012.

Demonstrators are protesting Moscow’s refusal to allow prominent opposition candidates who support Navalny to stand in the Russian capital’s September local elections.

Investigators on Thursday also raided the FBK’s offices and the homes of lawyers who work for it.

“Right now there are raids and detentions taking place over the ‘money-laundering case’,” Navalny’s aide Leonid Volkov wrote on the foundation’s website.

The site posted security camera footage of investigators at the FBK offices accompanied by masked guards on Thursday morning.

Navalny himself is currently serving a 30-day sentence in Moscow for calling for a mass protest. He was taken to hospital from prison with symptoms that officials attributed to an allergic reaction but that his doctor said could be caused by a “toxic agent”.

The opposition is planning a large protest in Moscow on Saturday.

AFP

China Anti-Graft Body Probes High-Level Xinjiang Official

 

China’s anti-corruption watchdog said Tuesday it is investigating a high-level official in the northwest Xinjiang region, the latest to be ensnared in President Xi Jinping’s sweeping campaign against graft.

Enwaer Tursun, an ethnic Uighur, had worked his way up in his native Xinjiang, eventually rising to the post of deputy secretary-general of the region’s People’s Congress in 2017.

Xinjiang is home to the Uighur minority, and where an estimated one million mostly Muslim Turkic-speakers are held in internment camps which Beijing defends as “vocational education centres” used for counter-terrorism purposes.

Some ethnic Uighurs like Tursun have worked alongside members of China’s majority Han population to implement Beijing’s policies in the region.

In 2014, as the mayor of Kashgar, an ancient Silk Road city, Tursun backed the Communist Party’s crackdown, saying Xinjiang had been “plagued by religious extremism, which had disrupted social order and fed the ideology of terrorism”, according to China’s official Xinhua news agency.

But Tursun is the latest official to have fallen under suspicion in Xi’s campaign against corruption in the Communist Party, which critics have compared to a political purge.

Another top Uighur official, former chairman of the Xinjiang region Nur Bekri, who is also a former head of the national energy administration, pleaded guilty at a trial last week to accepting $11.5 million in bribes.

The local branch of China’s anti-graft agency said Tuesday that Tursun was being investigated for “serious violations of discipline and law”, a euphemism that usually means corruption.

The 53-year-old “is currently under disciplinary review and supervision investigation” by the region’s discipline inspection commission, the agency said in the statement.

FG Committed To Halting The Menace Of Corruption – Boss Mustapha

 

The Federal Government has restated its commitment to stop the menace of corruption by strengthening institutions to block leakages.

This is according to Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, who spoke to a gathering in Abuja on the heels of the African Anti-corruption day anniversary.

“This government is committed to halting the menace of corruption and will continue to be and strengthen institutions to block leakages.

“Policies will be developed and enforced to achieve this noble goal, including creating an enabling environment for all Nigerians to strive on a level playing ground.

“We must be our nation’s keeper by saying no to corruption and reporting any act of corruption around us.”

READ ALSO: Corruption War: I Will Waive My Immunity, Appear Before Anti-graft Agency – Makinde

He called on foreign partners to enforce their anti-corruption laws to prevent acceptance of Nigeria’s stolen monies and repatriate all funds stashed in their country’s banks.

“In the same vein, I wish to call on other countries to diligently enforce their own anti-corruption laundering law to prevent acceptance of Nigeria’s stolen monies and asset into their economies.

“We expect that where the integrity of their system has been shown to have been compromised, they will work with Nigeria to quickly remedy the situation by intercepting the stolen asset and the criminals and expeditiously repatriating them to Nigeria.”

Buhari Calls For More Support From Traditional Rulers

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has called for greater support from traditional rulers to consolidate his promises bordering on security, economy and fighting corruption.

He made the call on Tuesday during a meeting with members of the Traditional Rulers Council at the Presidential Villa.

He said he swore by the Quran to uphold the tenets of his office, after which he says he would return to Daura and settle down.

Read Also: IGP Warns Against Disruption Of Polls As Buhari Meets With Security Chiefs

Responding to the President, the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar (III), asked him to reciprocate by continuing to lead with Justice and openness.

He also enjoined Nigerians to accept the results and support the present administration, adding that the will of God has prevailed.

Court Upholds Five-Year Prison Term For Former Anti-Graft Chief

 

An Egyptian court on Sunday upheld a five-year prison sentence for the country’s former anti-corruption chief, found guilty of insulting the military, legal sources said.

A military court rejected Hisham Geneina’s appeal and confirmed his sentence, a judicial source said, over comments made in an interview with the news website HuffPost Arabi.

Geneina was head of Egypt’s Central Auditing Organisation until he was sacked by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in 2016 for allegedly exaggerating the cost of corruption.

He subsequently became a top aide to former military chief of staff Sami Anan, who planned to challenge Sisi in presidential polls but was arrested.

Geneina claimed Anan held documents on “political events and crises that Egyptian society has passed through” since the 2011 uprising.

He said the documents could be released if Anan — who remains in jail — was harmed.

Following the interview, Geneina was detained in February 2018 and sentenced last April to five years in prison for “spreading news that harms the armed forces”.

Sunday’s ruling “could be challenged before a higher military court,” Geneina’s lawyer Ali Taha said.

Moataz Wadnan, the journalist who conducted the interview, was also detained but has not yet been put on trial, according to rights lawyer Negad al-Borai.

Without any serious challenger at the ballot box, Sisi won a second four-year term last March with 97 per cent of the vote.

Egypt’s parliament, packed with Sisi supporters, is seeking to institute constitutional amendments that would extend his rule beyond 2022.

Scrap Security Votes, Immunity Clause, SERAP Tells Presidential Candidates

SERAP Threatens To Sue UI, AAUA Over Increased Fees

 

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked all presidential candidates in the 2019 elections, to commit themselves to innovative antigraft reforms which include the scraping of security votes and immunity clauses for political office holders. 

SERAP’s position is contained in a letter which the organisation said it had sent out to all major presidential candidates in the forthcoming polls.

The group in its letter, set before each candidate five main anti-corruption priorities which they believe each candidate should address.

These priorities include “Committing to scrapping security votes spending by presidents, committing to repeal the Electric Power Sector Reform Act of 2005, committing to reopen all reports of corruption in the electricity sector and ensuring effective prosecution of corruption allegations”.

Others include, “Committing to establish independent counsel and/or special anti-corruption courts in the six-geopolitical zones of the country for the effective and speedy prosecution of all former state governors indicted for corruption, and committing to work with the judiciary to improve the independence of the National Judicial Council, including by reviewing requirements for its leadership to allow retired judges of proven integrity to lead the council”.

READ ALSO: ‘Ask AGF To Take Complaints Against Justice Onnoghen To NJC’, SERAP Tells Buhari

Below is the full statement as signed by Ms. Bamisope Adeyanju, the SERAP Senior Legal Adviser.

“Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) sent an open letter to major presidential candidates for Nigeria’s February 16 election urging them to “publicly commit to revolutionary and innovative anti-corruption reforms in five key areas, such as security votes, power sector corruption, judicial corruption and removal of immunity for presidents, vice-presidents, state governors and deputy state governors.”

“President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives’ Party and Atiku Abubakar of the People Democratic Party, who were absent in the presidential debate last night, are among the candidates that SERAP said it has sent letters. Others include the candidates of Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, Oby Ezekwesili; Alliance for New Nigeria, Fela Durotoye; Young Progressives Party candidate, Kingsley Moghalu; KOWA Party, Sina Fagbenro-Byron; African Democratic Congress, Obadiah Mailafia; and African Action Congress, Omoyele Sowore.

“In a statement, today signed by SERAP senior legal adviser Bamisope Adeyanju, the organization said: “Consistent with their right to participate in their own government, Nigerian voters deserve a substantive debate during the campaign about issues that affect them, particularly with respect to combating corruption. Now is the time to make a commitment to specific reforms that will strengthen Nigeria’s anti-corruption record and standing in the global ranking. Set forth below are 5 main anti-corruption priorities that candidates should address. Please let us know which positions you will support.”

“The letters dated 19 January 2019 read in part: “Candidates should commit to scrapping security votes spending by presidents and state governors by repealing the constitution to include a specific prohibition of security votes. They should also commit to a comprehensive audit of spending on security votes by presidents and governors since the return of democracy in 1999 and directing their Attorney General and Minister of Justice to take legal action in the public interest to hold governments to account on spending on security votes.”

“Candidates should commit to repealing the Electric Power Sector Reform Act of 2005 to address regulatory lapses which have continued to lead to systemic corruption and impunity of perpetrators, forcing ordinary Nigerians to pay the price for corruption in the electricity sector–staying in darkness, but still made to pay crazy electricity bills.”

“Candidates should commit to reopening all reports of corruption in the electricity sector and ensuring effective prosecution of corruption allegations, including corruption charges against Dr. Ransom Owan-led board of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission; allegations of looting of the benefits of families of the deceased employees of Power Holding Company of Nigeria; and the budgeted N16 billion between 2003 and 2007, which went down the drains as it failed to generate the needed amount of electricity.”

“Candidates should commit to establishing independent counsel and/or special anti-corruption courts in the six-geopolitical zones of the country for the effective and speedy prosecution of all former state governors indicted for corruption. They should also commit, within the first 365 days in office, to begin the constitutional reform process of removing the immunity clause in section 308 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended) to promote effective leadership and improve institutions of governance.”

“Candidates should commit to working with the judiciary to improve the independence of the National Judicial Council, including by reviewing requirements for its leadership to allow retired judges of proven integrity to lead the council. They should also commit to working with and encouraging the Chief Justice of Nigeria and NJC to ensure that the Chief Justice of Nigeria and all other judges make periodic asset declarations and public disclosures of such declarations.”

“Candidates should commit, within the first 365 days in office, to begin the constitutional reform process of inserting specific requirements in the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended) to make asset declaration details by presidents and state governors public, including by widely publishing the details online and on other accessible platforms.”

“Candidates should also commit to directing their Attorney General and Minister of Justice to refer cases of apparent disparity between the asset declarations of presidents and state governors before assuming offices and their alleged illicit wealth and enrichment after leaving to the Code of Code Bureau for joint investigation and prosecution with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).”

“Prior to the elections, SERAP will issue a short report on the anti-corruption commitments that candidates and political parties have made. SERAP will then issue an anticorruption assessment report in March 2019, to set clear anti-corruption agenda for the next president and administration, which would assume office May 29, 2019.”

“We hope that candidates will adopt these commitments as part of their own political platform and ensure that the important recommendations are diligently implemented if they are elected.”

“If you or your political party would like to commit to some or all of the recommendations stated below, please let us know by February 1, 2019, so that we can include you in our upcoming report. Please feel free to contact at [email protected]

No Matter How Long It Takes, Corrupt Officers Won’t Go Unpunished – Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that his administration is determined to bring all corrupt officers to book, regardless of how long it takes.

Listing some achievements of his administration, he noted that it has recovered trillions of naira from stolen funds in the past and it is still making more recoveries.

The President made this known on Tuesday while giving an address during the inauguration of the new office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Abuja.

Photos: Buhari Inaugurates New EFCC Headquaters In Abuja

Furthermore, he expressed hope that the judiciary would continue to collaborate with the Executive to bring corrupt people to book.

The President also called on the Legislature to “review archaic provisions in the law” and add more verve to the determination of the government to “rid the nation of the brazen corruption witnessed in recent years”.

Speaking about the new EFCC office, the President expressed satisfaction that beyond the physical structure, the edifice was a symbol of the Nation’s resolve to fight corruption.

He also noted that the anti-corruption fight begins with a change of mind and attitude from every individual.

He said: “What I see here is not only a structure of concrete and metal, I see in this edifice, the resolve of Nigerians to fight corruption.

But structures are not the whole story. We must CHANGE our ways of handling public trust. Corruption not only kills governments but destroys societies. It is the major reason why we are struggling with basic developmental issues that other comparable nations have long overcome.

“War of corruption is not an easy one to fight, because it affects so many different branches of our lives, so much that some people do not even consider breaking trust is anymore a crime. It has become the norm. That is why we must fight this attitude and encourage Nigerians to CHANGE their attitudes and perspectives”.

He also reiterated that the goal of his Administration is not to witch-hunt anyone but to ensure the protection of public trust, and that the anti-corruption war is at its centre.

President Buhari therefore appealed to Nigerians to support regulatory agencies like the EFCC to achieve its goal of ridding the nation of corruption.

He also expressed gratitude to some nations which he said have indicated interest in helping to end the menace.

According to him, all recovered funds will be used in building the nations infrastructure.

“I am glad to note that quite a number of nations are signifying interest to help us tighten their laws and enter into agreements with Nigeria to repatriate not only stolen funds but to make the culprits face due process of law.

“We are committed to working with our foreign friends to stop the inflow of stolen funds from Nigeria into their countries and recovering what is there already. These assets, when repatriated will be put to building our infrastructure,” Buhari said.

8th Annual General Anti-Graft Meeting Commences In Abuja

 

The 8th edition of the Annual General Meeting and Conference for Heads of Anti-Corruption Agencies in Commonwealth Africa has commenced in Abuja.

Among those present are the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo; Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, among others.

Details to follow…

Asset Recovery Has Been Monumental Under Buhari’s Administration – Sagay

Asset Recovery Has Been Monumental Under Buhari's Administration – Sagay
File photo: Itsey Sagay

 

The Chairman of Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption (PACAC), Professor Itse Sagay, has described the recovery of assets by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration as “ a major match forward”

He said this while evaluating the anti-corruption war of the Federal Government in an interview on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.

READ ALSO: Elites Are ‘Violent’ Against Anti-Corruption War, Says Sagay

“The recovery of assets has been monumental during this government’s tenure” Professor Sagay declared. “It is unprecedented and whether Nigerians who have short memories like to acknowledge this or not, it is a fact.”

According to the senior advocate, part of the recovered loots are being used to fund the present budget for the social intervention programmes of the government.

He added that the looting of the nation’s resources allegedly by public servants has down considerably and is being reduced drastically.

Sagay who said, “the beginning of wisdom now is the avoidance of looting,” was worried that the progress recorded in the area of asset recovery is not being noticed.

Instead, he said Nigerians were waiting to see those convicted of corruption being jailed, noting that it was the narrow aspect and not the most important part of the anti-corruption war.

The PACAC chairman said, “We may be too impatient about conviction, the administration of the Criminal Justice Act which sealed a lot of loopholes which created these long endless cases only came in force in 2015.

“We are just going to start seeing the effect of the impact of the act in the coming months. So, I expect that there’d be more and more convictions.”

Professor Sagay further commented on the recent list of alleged looters published by the government, saying it was in accordance with a court order and that more names might be unveiled soon.

He was also confident that the judges handling corruption cases cannot be influenced by the views of other people since they have the knowledge to make their opinion on the facts of the case before them.

JAMB Sets Up Anti-Corruption Unit To Tackle Funds Mismanagement

 

The Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Registration Board (JAMB) Professor Ishaq Oloyede, has set up an anti-corruption unit within the examination body.

The newly-formed unit called the Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit (ACTU), Oloyede, said is a product of his anti-corruption reforms aimed at accountability and transparency in the management of government finances.

He revealed this during the induction of members of the anti-Corruption unit (ACTU) which was conducted by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

The JAMB boss in a statement by the ICPC said the unit was established based on the numerous corruption matters been handled, a situation he said was beginning to have adverse effect on his other responsibilities.

Professor Oloyede also assured the ACTU members of unfettered support promising that he would not hesitate to spend his personal money to facilitate their work if the need arises.

The statement which was signed by the spokesperson for ICPC, Rasheedat Okoduwa stated further that Oloyede explained the processes that led to returning of N7.8 billion to government coffers as revenue in 2017 by the examination body saying that government never expected such huge amount from the agency.

“A top government officer threatened JAMB to return nothing less than N500 million to the government. Even the officer that was with me in that meeting advised that I should say the agency will be able to return about N600 million. But at the end of the day, we returned N7.8 billion,” he said.

The acting Chairman of ICPC, Abdullahi Bako at the induction lauded the on-going anti-corruption reforms in JAMB.

Bako who was represented by Justin Kuatsea of the Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation Department (CMED) noted that the achievements of JAMB in the anti-corruption fight was worthy of emulation by other government agencies.

The Chairman of ACTU in JAMB, Munirat Lawal in her response said the unit would deliver on its mandate by helping to reduce the incidence of corruption in the agency.

She added that the unit had already begun work by sensitizing staff against corruption and helping to close down some illegal centers for conduct of the Computer Based Test (CBT).

JAMB Registrar, Professor Ishaq Oloyede