The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has faulted the report credited to the United States government claiming that there is massive corruption under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Noting that the report was “far from the truth”, the commission noted that Nigeria had made “remarkable achievements” in the fight against administration.
A statement issued on the report by ThisDay, published on Sunday, noted that the US claim is “unfounded” as the present administration’s war against corruption “is on course”.
EFCC said it had secured 943 convictions between 2015 and 2018, adding that as at March 19, 2019, it had recorded additional 142 convictions.
See EFCC’s Statement in Full:
The attention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has been drawn to a misleading report of the United States Department of Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour over Nigeria’s anti-graft war, published in ThisDay Newspaper of March 17, 2019 entitled: “Nigeria: Massive, Pervasive Corruption At All Levels of Govt – US Report”.
The report, among other things, said that “there is a climate of impunity in the President Muhammadu Buhari government that allows officials to engage in corrupt practices with a sense of exemption from punishment”. The Bureau, in its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018, said Nigeria had made little progress in efforts to limit corruption in its public service. This report is not only outdated and false but misleading.
The report is unfounded on the grounds of Nigeria’s remarkable achievements in the last four years as the war against corruption is on course.
The EFCC’s commitment to the fight against corruption in the last four years is not in doubt to any discerning and genuinely concerned observer. This commitment is benchmarked by the unprecedented record of convictions, non-conviction based forfeiture and stolen assets recovery.
We are surprised that the US report could ignore or downplay our convictions in such a brazen manner when it claimed that the EFCC secured only 13 convictions in 2016. That is false and far from the truth.
For the avoidance of doubt, the EFCC has secured 943 convictions since 2015 till date. The agency recorded 103 convictions in 2015, secured 195 convictions in 2016, got 189 convictions in 2017. It is important to state that the EFCC secured 314 convictions in 2018 including two former state governors who were sentenced to 14 years imprisonment without option of fine. It is instructive to note that the two former governors serving their jail terms in prison are members of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC). The Commission has so far recorded 142 convictions as at March 19 this year. These are verifiable facts.
We wish to state unequivocally that these convictions being celebrated included high profile persons among who were top ranking military personnel and other politically exposed persons.
It is instructive to state that no other agency in Africa has this record of convictions and recovery of stolen assets which were achieved in spite of great encumbrances faced by the Commission in the discharge of its assignment as it has come to be known that when you fight corruption, corruption fights back.
Assets Recovery and Forfeitures
As a quick reminder, the Supreme Court of Nigeria had on Friday, March 8, 2019 in a unanimous judgement, dismissed the appeal of a former First Lady and wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience, against the interim forfeiture order of a Federal High Court, Lagos, for $8, 400, 000 (Eight Million Four Hundred Dollars) traced to her by the EFCC and believed to be proceeds of illegal activities.
Subsequently, on March 14, 2019, the Supreme Court dismissed another application by Mrs. Jonathan, seeking to upturn the interim forfeiture order by a Federal High Court, Lagos placed on the sum of N2.4 billion linked to her.