PDP crisis: Your days are numbered, Fayose slams Ayu
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has finalized plans to pursue certain departing governors and other public officials following May 29.
Yesterday, in an exclusive interview with Daily Trust, EFCC Chairman Abdulrasheed Bawa disclosed at the commission’s headquarters that more arrests would be made immediately after May 29.
Bawa, who hosted the management staff of Media Group, publishers of Daily Trust newspaper titles, Trust TV and Trust Radio, did not disclose the names or number of public officials who would be prosecuted for violations of the law.
According to Daily Trust, governors are among the public officials who enjoy immunity and cannot be arrested or tried while in office.
In addition to targeting those who will be removed at the end of this administration, Bawa disclosed that at least two ministries are currently under the commission’s surveillance for fraudulent activities related to procurement processes.
According to him, one of the ministries committed fraud totaling N4 billion on approximately 20 contracts.
Bawa stated, “We are currently investigating two ministries for double payments. In one of the ministries, double payments amounted to approximately 20 contracts worth over N4bn.
“These contracts were executed in 2018, and then an audacious group of individuals came up with the same narrative.
“They removed the documents from the file, forged them, and then, in a conspiracy involving a number of public servants, increased vouchers and pay.” How could this occur if our procurement processes are digitalized?”
We will not be frightened.
Bawa also stated that the commission would not be intimidated by the actions of certain civil society organizations that have called for his dismissal.
“It is on record that I am the first sitting EFCC chairman to testify in court, not once, not twice, and not three times. We now have a group of paid individuals, and we know who is paying them, who are forming a variety of gangs.
“We adhere to legal procedure and the rule of law. The court rendered a verdict, we filed an appeal, and there is a stay of execution; what do you anticipate? We move on!
“How many cases did we lose?” We suffered 41 losses and obtained 3,785 gains. What exists? What are we discussing? Who is the loser? Who does not lose? Nobody is the loser and nobody is the winner. But it is like that!
“It occurred in 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019, and 2023. It will occur again in 2023.” We are students of the past.
“People are simply attempting to persuade the incoming government to replace the chairman, perhaps because the chairman is doing the right things. It is only a matter of corruption retaliating. Nothing further!
“However, what they do not know is that, over the past few months, we have attempted more than ever to institutionalize the operational activities of the EFCC.
“Whether it’s Bawa or not, the EFCC will continue to do the good work they don’t want, as well as the planned prosecutions.
“And God willing, in the months of May and June, we will make a large number of arrests and initiate a large number of prosecutions.
“And for those who are not leaving in May, we will wait for them whenever they depart to ensure that justice is served.”
Purchasing policy for automation is underway
The EFCC chairman stated that the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) and the World Bank are spearheading the digitization of the procurement process. Specifically, he stated that the automation of the process would prevent a series of fraudulent activities committed by civil servants in collusion with other public officeholders.
“The World Bank collaborates with the Bureau of Public Procurement on a program known as EGP. Its primary objective is to digitalize the procurement processes of federal government entities.
“As part of a pilot program, they proposed beginning with nine MDAs. These nine MDAs account for approximately 70% of the government’s total capital budget expenditures.
“When we heard about it, we researched it, and we concluded that the EFCC must support, encourage, and ensure its own implementation to the fullest extent.
“This is due to the fact that no government funds can be spent, especially when it comes to capital expenditures, without first going through the procurement procedures.
If we are able to digitize the processes, we will be able to eliminate procurement fraud before award, during award, and after award due to the digitization of all documents.
“These are some of the achievements that this government will leave for Nigerians behind the scenes before May 29. We’re ecstatic that we did, and God willing, it will be a tremendous asset in our fight against public sector corruption in Nigeria.”
In 8 years, 9,060 convictions were recorded.
Bawa stated that after he assumed leadership of the EFCC, economic criminals were convicted at a rate never before seen.
Since he took over, the anti-corruption agency has only lost 41 cases, while 3,785 convictions have been obtained.
He stated, “To begin with, when you discuss the tangible things we’ve accomplished that Nigerians want to see, let’s return to that.
“The EFCC recorded only 103 convictions in 2015. In 2016, we recorded 195 deaths; in 2017, that number decreased to 189. The EFCC recorded 312 in 2018. The EFCC had 1,280 convictions in 2019.
“Due to COVID-19, we recorded 976 convictions in 2020.” You are aware that I took over on March 5, 2021. But in 2021, an unprecedented 2,220 convictions were recorded.
“We recorded 3,785 convictions last year. Only 41 cases were dismissed and found not guilty. The math indicates that we have a 98% success rate in the courts.
“Any student who writes an exam, in cases that have been resolved, we scored 98%. That’s an A+. You cannot bring this many cases to court and then disregard court orders and procedures.
“And some individuals do not comply. During the trial periods of these cases, every action taken was in accordance with court orders.”
How government spending recouped loot
As directed by President Muhammadu Buhari, he stated that a portion of the recovered proceeds of crime were being invested in the nation’s vital infrastructure.
He mentioned the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, the Second-Niger Bridge, and the Abuja-Kano Expressway as infrastructures for which the recoveries are being spent.
“With the passage of the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA), all stakeholder organizations are required to establish accounts for confiscated and forfeited property.
“As you may recall, the president signed the bill into law on May 12, 2022, and we are the first agency to open those accounts.
“Before the passage of POCA, all federal funds were deposited into the Consolidated Revenue Funds, but now they are deposited into POCA.
“We deposited N110 billion into this account, $29 million into the dollar account, over 6 million Euros into the Euro account, and approximately 1.7 million pounds into the pound account.
“The president ordered that these funds be used to complete the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, the Second Niger Bridge, and the Abuja-Kano expressway,” he explained.
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