By Tope Adedeji
The acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Ibrahim Magu, has said the anti-graft agency is committed to repatriating the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, to Nigeria and face criminal charges leveled against her.
Magu made the vow in Ibadan on Wednesday, while fielding questions from journalists during his working visit to the Commission’s Ibadan zonal office.
The commission had traced a number of criminal activities ranging from abuse of office, bribery, fraud, misuse of public funds and money-laundering to the former minister, who is currently at large to avoid questions on alleged criminal activities dotting her years as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The anti-graft agency, who wondered why her current country of abode has not surrendered her to Nigeria to face justice, said the EFCC would do everything within its power to get her prosecuted this year.
According to him, “We will bring her back to the country this year. We must get her. They (the foreign countries) have no reason to keep her there” This is the fifth year. Why should they be investigating such a straight-forward case for five years. It is a financial crime investigation. It is not a murder case that should linger.
The case is straightforward. If they don’t have sufficient evidences to establish any offence, they should bring her back. We have more than enough evidences to take her to court,” he lamented.
Though, Alison-Madueke was yet to be arraigned in Nigeria, the commission has secured final forfeiture orders against some properties traced to her, including hundreds of assorted jewelry worth over $40 million.
The EFCC boss also told journalists that officers of the commission will take active part in the forthcoming supplementary elections across the country, adding that the focus will be on preventing vote-buying and vote-selling at the polling units.
He had, on arrival, led the media men to inspect the facilities within the premises. He insisted that the commission’s facilities, including the cells, meet the international standard.
While describing the citing of the Ibadan zonal office as unique, Magu said the fact that the office is housed in an old abode of the former Premier of the Western Region, Chief Ladoke Akintola, and also shares fence with a property of his predecessor, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, is a blessing for the Commission.
“This is very symbolic. With this divine coincidence, we believe we are on the right track in the fight against corruption. These are people who fought for the unity of this country. They gave away everything for us to be able to live united today as a country. I am indeed happy about it,” he said.
Magu also informed that the EFCC will be holding a 10-million-man march against corruption across all states of the federation on February 14,
According to him, the march is organised in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and other stakeholders.
He promised a stiffer battle against corruption in 2020, adding that the commission will make efforts to ensure that all looters surrender their loots.