- Accuses international partners of protecting ex-minister
Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan
The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, wednesday vowed that a former Minister of Petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke, would be extradited back to the country this year to face corruption charges.
He also accused some international partners, especially in the United Kingdom, of giving what he described as undue protection to the former minister.
Magu, during a visit to the Ibadan Zonal Office of the commission, said the agency was already changing its tactics and strategy of engaging foreign partners to ensure the extradition of the former minister.
Magu, while fielding questions from journalists, expressed sadness at the slow pace of investigation by the foreign partners, especially those involved in the former minister’s case, stating that they should have released her to come and face charges at home having found enough evidence against her in Nigeria.
While harping on the commission’s effort on the return of the former minister, he said: “They will bring her back to the country this year. We must get her. They have no reason to keep her there. Why should you keep her without taking her to court? And this is the fifth year and why should you be investigating a matter for five years and it is a matter that is straightforward – a financial crime investigation; it is not a murder case that should linger, but financial crimes.
“The case is straightforward. If you don’t have any evidence or sufficient evidence to establish any offence, bring her back, we have more than enough evidence to take her to court, so we are working and we will continue to work.”
Asked if he suspects sabotage from the international partners, Magu said: “Yes, definitely. I don’t know why they are protecting her. Let them release her and let her come back to Nigeria.
“They are giving her protection, for whatever reason and they are yet to disclose whatever offence she has committed, they are only relying on the evidence that we have recovered. So, they are not serious people but they are our partners and we work together. They are helping us and we help them too, it’s a two-way relationship, just like we are collaborating with you people (media). You abuse us sometimes and at other times you speak well of us.
“Yes, we are and we have already started another strategy because you would have never heard me talking like this against them openly before you (journalists), so, it’s a new strategy and I don’t have to disclose the rest of the strategies.”
He noted that the whistle-blower policy is still active and yielding results, urging Nigerians, both within and outside the country, to collaborate with the agency by providing information to aid the nabbing of corrupt individuals in the country.
He added that the agency is more than ready for the re-run elections in some parts of the country by fighting vote buying, urging the people not to go to the voting areas with huge amount of money so as not to fall victim of being arrested for vote buying.
“I want to thank all of you (media) for being partners and for helping us by collaborating with us in doing what we are doing; we are a very essential partner. In fact, you people are the anti-corruption crusaders because your choice of profession is a desire for you to insist on doing the right thing for people; to fight against injustice to fellow human beings. That is an important aspect that has helped us to this level. We are here and we are doing very well.
“And we are doing everything possible. This year, we are going to upgrade everything we are doing. Re-run elections and all outstanding elections are to be concluded; we are part of it and we are going to fight against vote-buying. Everybody is on our radar; so, I want you to join us on that day so that we can expose the vote buyers and collect their money.
“And if you are going there, make sure you don’t carry more than, may be, N25,000, otherwise, they will arrest everybody that carries unusual amount of money on their body. So, we are going on with the fight against vote-buying during next Saturdays elections in the affected states across the nation,” he stated.