EFCC gets 140 convictions in six months

A former court registrar got 10 years for an $8.4 million scam and a secondary school leaver bagged 37 years for defrauding an American of $40million.

These and many others, including former Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) chief Raymond Omatseye who got five years for a N1.5billion contract scam, are some of the 140 convictions the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it has secured in six months.

But EFCC Chairman Mr. Ibrahim Magu said Nigerians should expect a very rigorous war against corruption.

He also said the anti-graft agency was not persecuting some arrested members of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) because they are in the opposition.

In his view, should Nigerians have the details of some of the dirty deals which some former leaders of the ruling party did, they will shed tears.

Magu, in an address at the launch of “Clean Hands Against Corruption Campaign” at the Eagle Square in Abuja, said the EFCC had kept faith with Nigerians.

Although Magu did not give the details, The Nation obtained a document containing some of those convicted in the last six months.

They include  a former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Raymond Temisan Omatseye (five years for a N1.5n contract scam); a Lagos Court Registrar, Mrs. Rosulu Idowu Oluronke (10 years for $8.4m); a  former  chairman, Ogori/Magongo Local Government Area,  Kogi State, Gabriel Daudu(154 years for N1.4billion fraud); ex-Adamawa Commissioner for Local Government Affairs John Elias Babani( 10 years for N51.5m fraud); George Uboh(3 years for selling vehicles belonging to the defunct Police Equipment Fund);

The EFCC also secured court order to extradite a former Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company(NSPM), Ehi Okonyomon to Britain to face charges of corruption and money laundering on the N750m polymer bribery scandal.

  It also got an order to extradite a Nigerian fugitive, Franca Asemota, to Britain for alleged trafficking of minors.

Magu said:  “Over the last 13 years, EFCC has been reshaping the face of law enforcement in Nigeria. Not that we have not had our fair share of challenges. However, over the past one year of the life of this administration, the commission has been revamped and has continued to set the pace in investigation, prosecution and prevention.

“The past glory of the EFCC is now being restored as testified to by Nigerians and members of the international community.

“This is because we have kept faith with our mandate and the expectations of Nigerians. In just six months of this year, we have secured over 140 convictions, including some involving elusive ‘high-profile’ criminals.

“We have recovered billions of dollars’ worth of stolen funds and blocked numerous avenues for money laundering.”

But Magu did not disclose the amount because of plans by President Muhammadu Buhari to speak on the matter on May 29.

The EFCC has been accused of being discriminatory in its treatment of fraud cases. Magu denied this.

He said: “We do not prosecute innocent people; there is no issue of persecution at all. If you see the impunity on what has been done in the past few years, you will shed tears.”

He urged Nigerians to hold the EFCC accountable for its actions.

He said: “Due pressure must be mounted not only on the commission to carry out diligent investigation and prosecution and to inform the people of its activities.

“Nigerians need to also take more seriously their watchdog role over their lawmakers to make them more alive to their responsibility to pass laws that are adequate and functional and the Judiciary to meet the yearnings of Nigerians for justice.

“On our part, we will continue to do all within the bounds of law to fulfill our mandate, with God’s guidance and the support of the people.

“We are convinced that the work we are doing at EFCC  is nothing if it does not lead to real and sustainable change permeating all strata of the society.”

Nigerians, said Magu, should expect a more rigorous anti-graft war.

He said: “I have said it before but let me emphasise that where hapless Nigerians are defrauded, EFCC will swiftly come to their aid; where powerless Nigerians are short-changed, EFCC will intervene; where there is impunity, EFCC will step in and level the field.

“Nigerians will continue to see on my watch, a very rigorous war against corruption because I am convinced that there is no better time than now to fight and win the war.

“I am happy to note all the people and institutions that have agreed to partner with us to defeat the corruption monster.

“Let me warn that it may be rough and ugly, as corruption has and will always fight back, but victory is certain for the people. Nigeria can and will surely be better.”

A former Minister of Education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, who also spoke at the occasion, said: “If any Nigerian is serious at all about the necessity for the greatness of the nation, then, he or she must take the fight against corruption seriously. This is because the consequence of not taking the fight against corruption seriously is that the nation will forever be mortgaged.

 The Chairman, House Committee on  Financial Crimes and Anti-corruption, Kayode Oladele, said it was important to start the fight against corruption from the grassroots.

A representative of the Nigerian Bar Association(NBA), Mr. John Olushola Bayeshea (SAN), said if care was not taken, corruption may kill Nigeria.

Culled from: http://thenationonlineng.net/efcc-gets-140-convictions-six-months/

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