EFCC: Magu denies anti-graft war is targeted at the opposition members, recovers N106.5b in eight months

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has recovered N106.5billion between January and last month, its Acting Chairman Ibrahim Magu said on Wednesday.

It also recovered $1,635,925.81 (about N591,419,898.83), £629,193.65 (about N294,717,451.63) and €25,575 (about N10,743,798.05) within the period.

Magu, who met with editors at the commission’s Ikoyi, Lagos office, denied that the anti-graft war is targeted at the opposition members.

He said despite “distractions and irritations by the corrupt,” the commission has secured 158 convictions this year, including two former governors who were jailed for 14 years each.

“At this rate, I am confident that we will surpass the record of 189 convictions achieved in 2017,” Magu said.

The commission has been accused of going after only those in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) while ignoring corruption allegations against members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

But, Magu insisted that EFCC is apolitical and only goes after those who break the law.

To him, those accusing the commission of political persecution were shedding crocodile tears.

Magu said: “It will be naïve for anyone to expect the fight against corruption to be smooth; you should expect resistance, which is expressed in various guises.

“With the general election fast approaching, the resistance has assumed even frightening dimensions with political motives imputed to most of our activities.”

Magu said it had become fashionable for anyone being investigated for corruption to scream political persecution, with corrupt state officials pleading immunity not ascribed to them by the Constitution.

According to him, some governors have extended the frontiers of their constitutional immunity by claiming that anti-corruption agencies cannot investigate them.

“Sadly, some of our friends in the media help amplify these narratives and thereby divert attention from the real issues. The times we are in call for vigilance, especially by the media as the watchdog of society.

“As I have stated in various fora, the EFCC is apolitical and will not knock on your door if you have not violated the law,” Magu said.

He added that the media owes Nigerians a duty no to allow the corrupt to deploy their ill-gotten riches to corner the machinery of government.

“The media should not lend their platforms to helping the cause of the corrupt that are shedding crocodile tears.

“We must do what is right for our country, which is ensuring that those who steal our common patrimony are brought to justice,” Magu said.

The corruption fighter said the commission would not rest on its oars despite successes recorded under his leadership in prosecution of persons for corruption and in asset recovery.

“We believe there is still a lot to be done, which is the reason we are actively seeking the support of all stakeholders, including the media.

“We do not pretend to have a monopoly of knowledge on how to win the war against corruption. The anti-corruption campaign requires a concerted effort.

“I enjoin members of the public, including the media, to be part of this effort by reporting cases of corruption to the EFCC,” Magu said.

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