The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Transparency International Nigeria, has called on the Presidential Panel set up to investigate the suspended Acting Chair of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, to carry out a thorough and fair investigation.
The panel, which is headed by the former president of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami (rtd), is investigating allegations made by the Attorney- General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, against Ibrahim Magu. The group in a statement made available to New Telegraph, said while it is unclear what the real issues are, CISLAC is concerned about the conflicting signals it sends to Nigerians.
CISLAC said: “Being that Ibrahim Magu heads a very sensitive position of a sensitive government agency tasked with the investigation of financial crimes, such as advance fee fraud and money laundering, it is thus pertinent that the case be handled with all diligence and transparency in order to ensure that the gains in the fight against corruption are not lost in the battle for supremacy and political advantage “This development has heightened the need for reforms in anti-corruption agencies (ACAs), which is long overdue.
“In the aspect of asset recovery, CISLAC has been consistent in calling for a reform of the system, which is prone to mismanagement, embezzlement and political misuse. There is no clear framework on who takes custodian of recovered assets and how they are utilized.
“The government has claimed recoveries of assets worth billions of dollars without accounting who manages these assets, how these assets are utilised and what prevents the re-looting of looted assets. “The control of lucrative asset recovery ‘business’ of asset freezes, confiscations and repatriations has caused inter-agency rivalry among ACAs saddled with the responsibility of fighting corruption. “We, therefore, urge the enactment of the Proceeds of Crime Bill and the Mutual Legal Assistance Bill, which would go a long way in strengthening the anti-corruption fight in Nigeria, take the war against corruption to the doorstep of treasury looters and ensure that repatriated assets are utilized for the benefits of Nigerians.
“It would also clarify the roles of ACAs and put an end to inter-agency rivalry and bring more transparency in the utilization of recovered assets. The repeated failure to enact the legal framework, which would once and for all clarify mandates in recoveries of assets, is an ample evidence of political interference in the fight against corruption, where Nigerian politicians seek personal advantages at the expense of the Nigerian public. Furthermore, it is important that the National Assembly and the Executive work towards amending the EFCC Act.
The board of the EFCC has been dormant and non-inclusive of non-state actors. “We ask for the arm of government responsible for the oversight of the EFCC, and other ACAs, to ensure that the board is active and that nonstate actors are included in the board in the amendment of the Act to ensure accountability in the fight against corruption, which is consciously lacking,” the group noted.