By Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, has met with authorities in the United Kingdom over the extradition of former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison- Madueke, and other Nigerian fugitives in the UK.
Magu apart from seeking Diezani’s extradition is also seeking the repatriation of Nigeria’s stolen fund starched in that country.
“Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, on Thursday, 22 November, 2018 met with the National Crime Agency (NCA), in the United Kingdom to discuss the efforts of the Commission in the recovery of all ill-gotten assets domiciled in foreign jurisdiction by Nigeria’s Politically Exposed Persons, (PEPs). Magu in the meeting explained to the authorities in UK why the commission is seeking the extradition”, a statement by the Acting Head of Media and Publicity, Tony Orilade, said.
The NCA is a national law enforcement agency in the United Kingdom. It was established in 2013 as a non-ministerial government department, replacing the Serious Organised Crime Agency, SOCA, and absorbing the formerly separate Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre as one of its commands.
The statement said apart from the recovery of assets, the EFCC boss in the course of the high-power meeting with officials of the NCA will also present the commission’s position on ways to fast-track the extradition of all PEPs who have found safe heavens in foreign jurisdiction.
It added that the EFCC Chairman had impressed upon the British authorities the essence of extraditing the former minister.
“The EFCC Chairman had explained why the anti-graft agency is bent on extraditing all PEPs. For instance, speaking on the former minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Deziani Alison-Madueke, whose process of extradition from the United Kingdom has commenced, Magu explained that “Having waited for three years, the Nigerian government believes that it is time to initiate the extradition process,” the statement said.
The statement recalled that in 2017, a Federal High Court in Lagos ordered the final forfeiture of N7.6 billion alleged loot recovered by the Commission from Diezani. The order of final forfeiture to the federal government was granted by Justice Abdulazeez Anka.
It noted that apart from Diezani, the commission was also seeking the extradition of several other PEPs who had fled into exile since 2015 when the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari came on board.
Meanwhile, Magu has appealed to Nigerians in the Diaspora to own the fight against corruption. Magu who made the call while speaking at the Black History Month of the School of Business and Management Studies of the Queen Mary University of London, said for the fight against corruption to be effectively won in Africa, the job of fighting the scourge should not be left in the hands of the government or anti- corruption agencies alone.
In a paper titled “Taming Corruption: The way forward for African Development”, he said Africa had been bearing the pains of corruption for so long that developmental efforts of government gets truncated as corrupt individuals divert public funds to private pockets.
“This presentation supports the view that corruption is one of the factors that contributed to the current predicament of the African continent. The World Bank estimates that about $1 trillion are given out as bribe worldwide annually, representing about 3 percent of world GDP.
According to a statement from the commission, Magu in his speech told his audience that there was another dimension of corruption in Africa that was worth mentioning because of its greater destructive potentials.
He said this pertains to large scale corruption perpetrated by the ruling elite, top government bureaucrats, politicians, businessmen, bank executives, captains of industries in the private sector and the rest. Magu claimed that between 1970 and 1996, capital flight from sub-Saharan Africa through corruption totalled $187 billion, an amount that exceeded the external debts of the countries involved.
According to Magu, throughout the African continent, corruption has caused severe wastage and misallocation of resources, delayed growth and socio-economic development through missed investment opportunity, lowered growth and widened inequalities. Likewise, corruption continues to decrease government revenues, undermine private sector development and increase inefficiency in the public sector.