The acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr Ibrahim Magu, has said politicians planning to use the electioneering season to launder money and move funds out of the country should be prepared to meet frustration as all avenues for illicit cash flow had been blocked by the anti-graft agency.
He also disclosed that the anti-graft agency was working on strategies to deter vote-buying, calling on the media to help sensitive the electorate to the evil effect of the menace.
Magu spoke on Tuesday with journalists at the Ikoyi, Lagos office of the EFCC.
He said, “In the area of vote-buying, we are apolitical at the EFCC. However, the concern of the EFCC is about those who seek to use the political space for money laundering. We will enforce the provisions of the anti-money laundering law to the letter, no matter whose ox is gored.”
Asked how the EFCC would convince doubters of its political neutrality when the anti-graft agency appeared to have turned the blind eye to the alleged corrupt practices by some members of the ruling All Progressives Congress, including a governor caught on video allegedly collecting kickbacks from some contractors, Magu said the anti-graft agency was working underground.
He said, “The fact that you do not hear us on the pages of the newspapers does not mean we are not working; we are working and you wouldn’t know.”
He added, “We’re being apolitical, of course. And you’ll see, we’ll arrest somebody just this weekend from the ruling party.”
Reacting specifically to a question on whether the EFCC recently received a petition against the National Chairman of the APC, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, Magu said, “Have you delivered anything on Oshiomhole? We’re working; if you have delivered anything on Oshiomhole, we’re working.
“We received (a) petition (way) back even before he became the Chairman of the APC and we are working on it; that’s before he became the Chairman of the APC, but it’s not something new.”
Magu said corrupt people were spread across different political parties, hinting that if everyone involved in Dasukigate were to be taken up, “you will just leave”.
“You’ll find that almost 75 per cent of the names you see around are on that list,” he said.
He confirmed that efforts were being made by the EFCC to extradite and try a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mr Diezani Allison-Madueke, in Nigeria, as the anti-graft agency could no longer wait for her investigation in the United Kingdom, which seemed to be taking forever to end.
Meanwhile, the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership has hailed the Tuesday order of an Abuja high court, which ordered the EFCC, the Department of State Services and the police to produce Diezani for prosecution within 72 hours.
In a statement on Wednesday by its Executive Chairman, Mr Debo Adeniran, CACOL said, “The EFCC should be ready to make the former minister honour the invitation to return to the country; to be prosecuted.
“It will serve as a way of warning and discouraging others abusing their offices and running to other countries to plead shelter after their corrupt acts or try other means to frustrate their trials.”