The acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu has said that there was a plot to reduce the anti-graft agencies powers.
He spoke at anti-corruption town hall meeting in Abuja, where he also said all that was needed to fight corruption was “a combination of guts, integrity and determination.”
He said, “For me, this is a moment to share experiences from my four-year tour of duty at the helm of the EFCC, leading the commission’s charge against all forms of corruption in Nigeria.
“It is true that corruption is the greatest problem holding back our country from fulfilling its potentials. It is entrenched in all sectors. But, in the last four years, the EFCC, backed by the political will of President Muhammadu Buhari, has, through a combination of enforcement and preventive measures, proving that this monster can be tamed.
“All that is needed is a combination of guts, integrity and determination.”
“Fighting corruption comes with its peculiar challenges. The corrupt are not going to fold their hands while you retrieve what they had stolen. They would fight back. This has come in the form of:
“Sponsored media attacks and even violent attacks against operatives of the commission; my farmhouse in Nasarawa State was attacked;
“Sponsorship of unwarranted amendment of EFCC laws, to reduce its powers and undermine the effectiveness of the agency; and undermining and distracting the leadership of the commission,” he said.
However, in a statement also on Thursday, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) said that there was no plan to reduce the asset recovery powers of the EFCC.
In the statement released by his special assistant on media and public relations, Dr Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, Malami maintained that the EFCC and other anti-graft agencies would continue to enjoy their powers to seize assets from corrupt suspects.
The development is coming after Malami, in a directive contained in a Federal Republic of Nigeria Official Gazette Vol. 106, No 163, said that all non-conviction based forfeiture shall be conducted by his office.
He added that where a non-conviction based forfeiture procedure arose, the law enforcement agency and anti-corruption agencies should transfer the matter to the office of the AGF.
Media reports had interpreted the directive in the gazette entitled ‘Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulation 2019’ and dated October 29, 2019, to mean move to strip the EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences (ICPC) of their powers to seize assets.
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