The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu has said there is no one who would “come out clean” after honouring the invitation of the anti-graft agency.
Speaking on Question Time, a programme on Channels Television, Magu said the commission carries out thorough findings before inviting suspects.
He denied the allegation that the EFCC had turned into a tool for political witch-hunt, saying the commission is only after “thieves.”
“We don’t chase innocent people; we investigate people before we arrest them. We follow the money, we trace when you received the money, and we also investigate how you utilised the money.
“That’s why anybody who is invited here will not come out clean, because we do our homework before we invite you. We may investigate for a year or six months and the person would not know,” he said.
Magu, according to The Cable, said the agency does not select those it prosecutes, adding that once there is any evidence against suspects, the EFCC goes after them.
“There is no sacred cow, we will go after anybody who has stolen the resources of the people. We have no reservations.
“We fight corruption both within and outside. We don’t go after innocent people for political reasons, we are going after the thieves of state resources,” Magu added.
He described London as the “headquarters of money laundering,” alleging that Britain’s capital had created a haven for stolen money.
“London is the capital of money laundering; it is where all the stolen money is hidden. It has given a haven to all the corrupt persons and stolen money from all states of the world.
“In fact, it is the headquarters of money laundering. Most of the stolen money are hidden either by properties or in banks or as physical cash,” he stated.
David Cameron, British Prime Minister, had referred to Nigeria as a ‘fantastically corrupt country’ in a conversation with the Queen.
Meanwhile, at the launch of ‘Clean Hands’ Campaign in Abuja yesterday, Magu said the reinvigorated anti-corruption drive had yielded tremendous results as it had secured the convictions of 140 suspects within six months.
He charged Nigerians to imbibe the culture of ‘ living with clean hands’ as a way of stamping out corruption from the society.
Magu stated that the job of the EFCC entails confronting looters of the nation’s commonwealth, taking on impunity and restoring hope to the hopeless, adding that the Commission had been reshaping the face of law enforcement in Nigeria in the past 13 years.
Speaking on the theme: ‘‘We Must Win The War on Corruption and Impunity, the anti-graft czar stated that the commission had kept faith with its mandate and the expectations of Nigerians with several convictions.
“In just six months of this year, we have secured over 140 convictions, including some elusive ‘high profile’ criminals. We have recovered billions of dollars of stolen funds and blocked numerous avenues of money laundering,’’ he said.
Magu stated that the commission had also given its prevention mandate a new lease of life, adding the people were now fully informed of its activities on all communication channels.
According to him, the new strategies being employed by EFCC had enabled Nigerians to take direct ownership of the war on corruption.
He said: ‘‘Citizens are now more disposed to preemptively act against corruption; and where the act has been committed, they are willing to work with EFCC to fish out the criminals.
‘‘However, in order to ensure that justice is fully served to the victim, the perpetrator and the society, it is important for us all to continue to hold everyone in the justice delivery chain accountable.”
The EFCC boss also urged Nigerians to continue to mount ‘‘due pressure’’ on the commission to carry out diligent investigation and prosecution and to inform the people of its activities.
He, however, charged Nigerians to also take more seriously, their watchdog role over the members of the National Assembly so as to make them more alive to their responsibilities to pass laws that are adequate and functional.
‘In the same vein, the Co-founder of the Transparency International and Co-convener of the Bring Back Our Girls Campaign (BBOG), Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, urged every Nigerian to be involved in the fight against corruption.
Ezekwesili, who commended the vigour and commitment of Magu in the fight against corruption, said: ‘‘If any Nigerian is serious at all about the necessity for the greatness of the nation, then, he or she must take the fight against corruption seriously. This is because the consequence of not taking the fight against corruption seriously is that the nation will forever be mortgaged.”
Also speaking, the Chairman, House Committee on Financial Crimes and Anti-Corruption, Hon. Kayode Oladele, said it was important to start the fight against corruption from the grassroots.
According to Oladele; ‘‘from time immemorial, we always know that one of the things that the EFCC does is to investigate and prosecute people who are found wanting for breach of public trust and corruption.
“But we have found out that the people who lead us did not fall from heaven. They are part and parcel of the society. Therefore, if we want to ensure that we stamp out corruption, then, we have to start from the grassroots.’’