… Wants institutional strengthening of anti-graft agencies
From DENNIS MERNYI, Abuja
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has disclosed that it has prosecuted over 44 persons involved in the fuel subsidy fraud since the probe by the National Assembly early in the year. EFCC chairman Ibrahim Larmode who revealed this in Abuja Monday at the celebration of the International Anti-Corruption day said the marketers stole over N323 billion belonging to government. Lamorde also announced that the commission has so far since the beginning of the year intercepted over $9 million being laundered money at various points out of the country by some greedy Nigerians.
Also, he said over N14 billion representing a good percentage of the country’s budget has been laundered abroad by some corrupt Nigerians. The EFCC boss however, called on government to rather strengthen the anti-corruption agencies in the country by providing adequate funding and more powers to be able to fight corruption in the country.
Lamenting the challenges faced by the anti- graft agencies in prosecuting alleged corrupt persons, Lamorde blamed the judiciary for deliberate delay in the quick dispension of corruption cases particularly those against some rich Nigerians who have stolen from government treasury.
“In as much as we do not want to blame the judiciary over the delay in prosecuting some corruption cases against some prominent Nigerians, I think the system needs to be reformed. “It is dangerous that a governor charged over corruption will go to court and obtain an order restraining trial.
An armed robber can do same if the trend continues. He said, “It is also amazing that a case of corruption brought against a governor in 2006 would last in the court till 2012 before the Supreme Court would order for a retrial”. According to him, the judiciary should discharge cases before them immediately instead of keeping them as long as between 6 to 7 years.
In an opening address, Chairman of the Inter Agency Task Team (IATT) and Chairman Board of Nigerian Extractive Industry and Transparency Initiative) NEITI, Ledum Mitee expressed dismay over the continuous rage of corruption in the country with the array of legislation and anti- corruption institutions like the ICPC, EFCC NEITI and the office of the Auditor General. According to him, “giving the impressive landscape for addressing the corruption malaise, why has corruption remained a hydra-headed monster in Nigeria with no insight to end it.”
Admitting that the government and people of Nigeria lack the proper approach to combat corruption, Mitee noted that “obviously, our performance in fighting corruption has been very poor. However, we cannot continue on this part. We must steer the ship aright”, he stated.