* Says war against corruption tough but winnable

The Chairman of the Economic Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, has said the N24 billion used to build the agency’s new headquarters costs five times below the real property value.

Magu stated this wednesday while fielding questions from journalists during the tour of the massive building in Abuja.

He said the EFCC headquarters, which would be inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari next Tuesday, was built with a bargain price of N24 billion instead of the N100 billion estimated valuation.

The anti-corruption agency further dispelled the suggestion that the sum of N24 billion was too much for the value of the property.

Magu explained that they were able to build the skyscraper and other surrounding buildings constructed by Julius Berger at what he considered a conservative rate by direct supervision and handing over the money to the developers without involvement of the middlemen.

He said: “Are you saying that N24 billion is too much for this edifice? Then you must be joking. Do you know what we have here, just because we procure most of the equipment? If you go and ask any other valuer, they will charge you more than N100 billion.

“Go and see the transformers and the clinic alone, other persons could have used more than N24 billion. We gave the whole money directly to the developers and they worked. We warned them that as long as we gave them all the money, they would work. There is no cheating in this at all.

“I am telling you that before you get a property like this, people would ask you for five times the price we used. If you like, you can go round the whole country, but you cannot get a property of this magnitude for N24 billion.”

Speaking further, Magu said even though the fight against corruption is getting tougher, the commission is not in anyway deterred.

According to him, “Corruption is fighting back every minute and every hour,” but with the relocation to a more befitting office, the EFCC will be adopting a winning formula in its anti-corruption drive.

“We have relocated, so we are going to change strategy. We will fight it to the extent that you will be satisfied that we have fought enough.”

The agency boss said despite the difficulties, the agency is already winning the war against corruption, citing the awareness campaign as one of the major successes.

“But let it sink that we are fighting corruption and we are not going to be shy or apologetic about it. This is because corruption is a disaster as it is in this country. This country is ours and whether they like it or not, we will win this fight. We are already it because we have been able to create awareness that corruption is wrong. I don’t think if there is anybody in the country who doesn’t believe that corruption is wrong,” he said.

On the abandoned properties, Magu said the EFCC is working with some stakeholders and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to track all the uncompleted structures across the country.

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