Chairman of EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Monday said that it has began the implementation of a €34.5 million (N7,004,872,849.20) project funded by the European Union to assist Nigeria’s anti-corruption agencies step up their fight against official corruption in the country.
UNODC’s Country Representative, Ms. Mariam Sissoko, who stated at an event to mark this year’s international anti-corruption day in Abuja, said the project was initiated to enhance policy, coordination, institutional and operational capacity of anti-corruption agencies in combating corruption in the country.
Coming shortly after the Transparency International (TI) placed Nigeria as the 35th most corrupt country in the world in its annual ranking, Sissoko explained that the UN was equally providing support for the conduct of risk assessments to identify vulnerable areas that are prone to corruption amongst Nigeria’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
She said: “As custodians of the United Nations convention against corruption, UNODC stands ready to support this process and also support the efforts of the Inter Agency Task Team (IATT) in implementing the national strategy to combat corruption which it has formulated once this strategy is approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).”
The event, which was organised by IATT had representations from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Office of the Auditor General of the Federation, Technical Unit on Governance and Anti-corruption Reforms (TUGAR) and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) amongst others in attendance.
In his remarks, the Chairman of EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, said the commission so far had charged 40 persons indicted in the corrupt management of petrol subsidy to court, adding that the EFCC would still charge others as investigations progressed.
Lamorde, who condemned the slow processes adopted by Nigerian judicial system in prosecuting indicted offenders of the law, also noted that the judiciary had abrogated so much protective rights to alleged offenders of the law.
He said: “The court processes are slow and it is the fault of the judiciary. They now give more right to people who are found to have stolen so much from the country and I really don’t understand why a former governor who stole so much while in office would be granted a court judgement that he should not be investigated, charged and tried.
“I must confess that this is a dangerous precedent that we are creating here because it is not done anywhere in the world except in Nigeria. The judicial process is very frustrating and we just have to do something about it all otherwise we will continue to complain of cases been dragged for as long as six to 10 years.”