The acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, says the funds allegedly looted by a former Minister of Petroleum, surpasses that of late military head of state.
While speaking during a courtesy visit of the principal officers of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to The PUNCH Place, in Lagos, on Thursday, the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, said only about 15% of funds allegedly misappropriated by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, had been recovered.
The anti-graft body’s boss who said the EFCC was working with the United Kingdom on her case, noted that efforts were being made to extradite her back to Nigeria, and vowed never to give up until all the money stolen from the country was recovered.
He told Punch, “We are working on the process of Diezani’s extradition. But we have to allow them (the UK government) because we are collaborating. There is the National Crime Agency and the Crown Prosecution Service in London, and our colleagues, the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in America. We had cause to meet in London. I was there myself for about a week. We are working not only on the Diezani case; but the Diezani case has become a test case.
“It is even more notorious than the so-called Abacha loot because we have not seen anything yet. I’m sure what we have seen is not more than may be 15 per cent. I think it is going to be a long time. That is why sometimes I think we should appeal to the looters to return the loot. Come and tell the government, ‘This is what I have stolen.’ Since you have voluntarily complied with the instruction to bring back the loot, then the government will take a decision. I think it is the best way to go about it, otherwise, the monies would be wasted.
“Diezani has a lot of people who are well connected, like (Jide) Omokore who are international businessmen. They have private aircraft and you can’t see any of them in Nigeria. They went and kept them in Ghana, some of them. But we are working with almost all law enforcement agencies in the world. They are all willing to work with us because what I told them is, ‘As long as you have any (claim) of criminality in Nigeria, call us.’
“We will go after the criminals because we don’t wait for protocol. Delay is dangerous; when you delay you will not see it. So, we are ready to cooperate with everybody and people have shown willingness. Last time I went to the international convention, they said Nigeria should show it experience. So, the whole world at the United Nations level wants to hear our asset recovery experience.”
The anti-corruption boss, noted that the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission had been informed of the needs of the anti-corruption agency, saying there would soon be an upgrade of facilities, adding that the agency was also giving attention to the welfare of its workers to avoid undue influence or temptation in the course of their assignments.