â€¢ Says anti-graft agency has replied Adeosun
Iyobosa Uwugiaren in Abuja
The acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, said on Tuesday that the anti-graft agency had received strong commendation from the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) for helping it to recover N28billion from banks and other sources.
EFCC chairman also said he had responded to request for information by the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, who lately asked him to clarify where the cash recoveries from May 2015 to January 2018 had been deposited and provide associated evidence, saying the ministry might not have proper understanding of how EFCC does its jobs.
Chatting with some senior editors in Abuja yesterday, the EFCCâ€™s boss said the Executive Chairman of FIRS, Babatunde Fowler and other senior management staff members of the agency, were at the headquarters of the anti-graft agency in Abuja yesterday to thank the agency for the recoveries.
Magu said although the recoveries were not handed over to the EFCC as usual, its efforts in looking at the books of the affected banks forced them to refund the huge amount of money to FIRS.
He added that similar efforts had also led to recoveries of over N328.9 billion from some oil marketers by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The recovery was said to have been made by the Kano office of the commission between July 2016 and July 2017, following a petition against the management of NNPC and its subsidiary, Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC).
The petition had alleged that N40billion had been diverted by the major oil marketers in connivance with the leadership of the NNPC and PPMC.
The EFCC, in a swift reaction, referred the petition to a special task force, which swung into action by conducting a discrete investigation, and later findings by the operatives of the EFCC revealed that the oil marketers were actually indebted to the federal government to the tune of N91.5billion between 2010 and 2016.
Further investigation into the allegation was also said to have revealed that the oil marketers had continued to obtain petroleum products from the government without proper payment, in violation of the NNPC/PPMC credit facility regulations. A probe of which further led to the discovery of N258.9bn, while the total amount of debt stood at N349.8bn following the latter discovery.
Magu added that similar efforts by EFCC had also paid off for the Nigeria Customs Services; Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) and others, saying the anti-corruption commission usually does not have access to the funds, but go to the appropriate agencies.
EFCC chairman also said he had responded to the request for information by Adeosun.
In a letter dated with reference number: FM/HMF/EFCC/S-EFCC-REC/2018/1 dated February 9, 2018 and entitled: â€˜Summary of EFCC Recoveries from May 2015 to January 2018,â€™ the Minister of Finance said the clarification became necessary based on the information available to the Office of Accountant-General of the Federation.
â€œThis is to notify you of the records of cash asset recoveries in the custody of the EFCC from May 2015 till date based on information available to the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (attached),â€™â€™ she stated.
â€œIt has however come to the attention of the Ministry of Finance, that the use of recovery figures in media reports by the EFCC do not reconcile with the records of the ministry.
â€œYou are therefore kindly requested to clarify where these cash recoveries have been deposited and provide accompanying evidence. Please, accept the assurances of my best regards.â€™â€™
But responding to questions on whether he had responded to the ministerâ€™s letter, Magu said: â€œYes, we have responded to the letter; we explained everything in details. We are not saying we have these moniesâ€”in different currencies; but our efforts led to the recoveries by many federal government agencies. The money usually goes to the different agencies; we do not have access to them.â€™â€™
He said the letter by the minister might have been based on lack of knowledge on how EFCC works.
Magu challenged the media to partner the anti-corruption agency, in line with their mandate of holding government accountable, to save Nigeria from the looters of public treasury.