EFCC gets ultimatum to probe Ganduje

Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State. Photo/ NAN

The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to begin an investigation into bribery allegations against Kano State Governor Umar Ganduje.Videos online purport to show the governor taking bribes on different occasions.

Yesterday, a Kano High Court restrained the state House of Assembly from further investigating the matter pending the determination of the originating summons. It adjourned hearing till November 21, 2018.

The umbrella organisation of all registered political parties said: “The burden of proof that the President Muhammadu Buhari government is covering corrupt members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is heavier now with the Federal Government’s continued silence over the allegations against the governor.”

In a statement by CNPP Secretary General Willy Ezugwu, the organisation said: “We are left to believe that the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari and the EFCC under Mr. Ibrahim Magu only fight corruption in states with opposition leadership. Not a few Nigerians have argued that the APC is a hiding place for corrupt politicians and a cover for looters who want respite from the anti-graft agencies under the current Federal Government.

“We are totally behind the position of the state House of Assembly that the courts cannot stop it from carrying out its legislative duties and urge the lawmakers to conclude the investigation without fear or favour.

It is shocking that instead of taking advantage of the fair hearing offered the governor by the state Assembly, Governor Ganduje chose to approach the court to stop the probe.

“Even when the Assembly offered the governor the liberty to appear before its seven-man investigative panel, the governor chose the dishonourable path by going for a black market order from the Kano State High Court, instead of proving his innocence before the committee.

“We are more worried that the EFCC has turned the other way while the presidency has said that the issue didn’t bother it. We therefore demand an immediate commencement of a full investigation into the allegations by the EFCC within 14 days or (it would) be legally compelled to do so.”

But Magu at a press briefing yesterday evaded a reporter’s enquiry on the videos. Asked what he made of them, he replied: “Next question, please.”

Also queried about the source of the wealth of APC National Leader Bola Tinubu, he said: “If you are really interested, write a petition and see whether I won’t act. It is not for us to listen to people on radio and begin to act. Yes, we have intelligence but the surest way to get action is to go and write a petition and substantiate the contents of the petition and see whether I will not act.”

On why the commission failed to prosecute the former board chairman of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), Ngozi Olejeme, over allegations of fraud, Magu said: “Olojeme escaped to South Africa because she has multiple passports and the EFCC has so much to handle.”

He however condemned alleged delay by the United Kingdom government in prosecuting a former Minister of Finance, Diezani Alison-Madueke. According to him, “We are tired of waiting. If you cannot prosecute her, bring her to Nigeria, so that we prosecute her because there is no prosecution going on there. Though we are involved in the investigation in this country and outside this country we cannot wait endlessly. Three years and above is sufficient enough to prosecute her.”

Magu, who reeled off the achievements of his agency in the last three years, disclosed: “We have recovered over N789 billion, over N206 million from within the country including Abacha loot, €8,168 million, £1,15 million, and Fr86,000 in three years.”

On the number of convictions scored by the agency, he said: “In 2015, we recorded 103 convictions. In 2016, we recorded 194 convictions. In 2017, the convictions were 189. From January 1, 2018 till date, we got 217 convictions.”

He said property recovered by the commission included: filling stations, petroleum products, lands, automobile, mansions, machinery and broadcast equipment.

“Mansions (407) were sized while 136 have been forfeited finally to the Federal Government. Nine filling stations were seized and placed under entry forfeiture; 98 pieces of land were seized, of which 56 are under entry forfeiture, while others have been forfeited finally to Federal Government.

“Also, 259 automobiles have been seized. Ninety-five are under entry forfeiture, while 224 have been forfeited finally. Saint Solomon Healthcare Centre, which is a very big diagnostic hospital located at Number 24 Street, Ikeja, Lagos, has also been forfeited finally.”

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