Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has revealed that the anti-graft agency has secured 703 convictions in the three years that he has been in charge of administering the affairs of the agency.
Mr Magu made this known at a press conference on Monday as part of activities to mark his third year in office.
The anti-graft czar took over the affairs of the commission, on November 11, 2018 shortly after his appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“In the past three years, we have set recovery records to the envy of virtually all law enforcement agencies in Africa,” he said, stressing that it was on record that “about 90 per cent of all recoveries in Nigeria” were secured by the EFCC.
Giving a breakdown of the convictions, mr Magu hinted that so far from January to November 2018, the agency under his watch had secured 217 convictions, which included those of two former state governors, Jolly Nyame of Taraba and Joshua Dariye of Plateau, as well as Joseph Nwobike, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
“One hundred and three convictions were secured in 2015, 194 convictions in 2016, 189 in 2017 and 217 from January 2018 till date,” he stressed.
He further noted that the agency has intensified efforts in the areas of recovering stolen wealth from the corrupt. According to him, the EFCC has so far, recovered more than N794 billion, over $261 million, £1,115,930.47, €8,168,871.13, and 86,500 CFA.
“Hundreds of properties such as filling stations, petroleum products, land, jewellery, automobiles, real estate, vessels, hospitals, company shares and heavy machinery and broadcast equipment have been seized from corrupt elements between 2015 and 2018,” he added.
Stressing that the EFCC under his watch remained committed to the mantra of President Buhari to “kill corruption”, he noted that conscientious investigations into the activities of corrupt persons, has led to the seizure of 407 mansions, between 2015 to 2018.
“Out of these, 126 have been forfeited finally and 281 are under interim forfeiture,” he added.
He said: “Nine filling stations were seized and placed under interim forfeiture.
“Land seized sums up to 98, of which 56 are under interim forfeiture, while 42 have been forfeited finally to the Federal Government.
“Two hundred and fifty-nine automobiles have been seized, 35 are under interim forfeiture, while 224 have been forfeited finally.”
Among other properties forfeited finally by the order of the Court, according to Mr Magu, include, St. Solomon Health Care Centre located at No. 24, Adeniyi Jones Street, Ikeja, Lagos; Base Transceiver Station, BTS equipment in 36 sites across five eastern states; and 1,500 metric tonnes of AGO and 3,035 metric tonnes of LPFO forfeited finally in 2016.
The engagement with the Press, also afforded Magu the opportunity to highlight other achievements in the course of his stewardship, including the successful completion of the EFCC’s new Head Office Complex, which had been under construction since 2011, the massive recruitment of officers across all cadres of the Commission, the expansion of the EFCC’s operational base, creation of new operations units to cater for new forms of financial crimes, the dramatic turnaround of the Forensic Directorate to meet international standards, and an improved relationship with international law enforcement agencies.
“Ensuring the completion of the new Head Office Complex of the Commission was one of my goals,” he said, expressing satisfaction that this was achieved and commissioned by President Buhari on May 15, 2018.
He said: “It was not only Nigeria or Africa that took notice, in faraway Sri Lanka, during the meeting of Heads of Anti-Corruption Agencies, the new EFCC head office was described as the world’s best building, housing an anti-graft agency.”
Mr Magu, who was appointed chairman of the Heads of Anti-Corruption Agencies in Commonwealth Africa, successfully hosted the 8th Regional Conference of the Body in May.
The parley with the Press, which afforded Magu to present a scorecard of his achievements, expressed gratitude to President Buhari for “the auspicious opportunity to serve”.
It has however not been rosy, as he described his task of championing the anti-corruption crusade as “one of the most difficult jobs in the world, because corruption always fights back viciously on many fronts”.
He highlighted some of the challenges to include the several attacks on officers of the Commission, the strangling to death of a police officer on guard duty at his farmhouse, and “unprecedented vilification” against him.
He said: “We have endured unprecedented vilification for the simple reason that we answered the national call to service.
“In spite of the obstacles, we have consistently made progress in the areas of convictions, and particularly the recovery of assets stolen from our commonwealth.”
While paying tribute to “the patriotic and hardworking officers and men of the EFCC who are daily making the required sacrifices to ensure that we kill corruption before it kills us,” Magu stressed that, “the war has only just begun against the corrupt and in this war of our lives, there will be no retreat, no surrender.”