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We shall recover all stolen public funds, says EFCC boss

By Ali Smart . . .

The Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, has assured that the agency hopes to recover all stolen public funds from those fingered in the phantom $2billion arms deal.

Magu gave the assurance on Wednesday at the commemoration of the International Anti-corruption Day at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, in Abuja.

‘‘Corruption is like a chain whose effect impacts various aspects of the society, undermines democracy and the rule of law, distorts markets, erodes quality of life, leads to human rights violations and fans the embers of terrorism and other threats to human security,” he assured.

Continuing, he said: “I’m sure that many of you would have read in the papers stories about the Commission’s on-going investigation into the arms procurement scandal.

“I can assure you that the Commission is on top of that investigation. We will spare no effort to ensure that we recover every kobo of public funds that have been stolen in the guise of arms procurement.”

The anti-graft czar also promised to embark on radical reforms of the agency.

“The ongoing implementation of its Strategic Plan continues to provide the Commission with the increasing organisational capacities necessary to explore its expanding abilities in corruption prevention and enforcement as well as law enforcement coordination and collaboration.

“I plan to undertake further institutional reforms to increase our capacity to fight corruption in Nigeria. Thankfully, the stance of the current government against corruption has created an enabling environment for us to carry out our mandate.”

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He said the commission had so far investigated 1,881 cases in 2015 alone.

He also thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for creating an enabling environment for the Commission to carry out its mandate to fight corruption.

Earlier, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, said corruption had disastrous impacts on development when funds meant for social amenities were diverted by public office holders for their personal use.

Ban Ki-moon, who was represented at the occasion, added that corruption could exacerbate violence and insecurity.

‘‘It is time to deliver a clear message around the world that rejects corruption and embraces the principles of transparency, accountability and good governance. This will benefit communities and countries; and it will help to usher in a better future for all,’’ he added.

Also, Lilian Ekeanyanwu, representing the Technical Unit on Governance and Anti-Corruption Reforms, TUGAR, urged the anti-corruption community to take advantage of the positive body language emanating from the Presidency.

“We must hit the ground running. We must have a national strategy to bring awareness about the issue of corruption and find methods to curb the malaise, while keeping the populace involved,” she said.

The Deputy Chief Mission of the United States Embassy, Maria E. Brewer, in her remark, stated that corruption could undermine institutions and slow development of any nation.

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