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EFCC to Transparency International: Your rating is illogical, baseless

Blames TI of turning blind-eye at secured convictions

NIGERIA’s anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Thursday says the latest Corruption Perception Index (CPI) rating by the Transparency International (TI) is not only baseless but also illogical.

This reaction is coming on the heels of the CPI released by the TI in Abuja, which ranked the nation low – 146 out of 180 nations, compared to the ranking in 2018 when Nigeria was placed at 144, dropping two steps among most corrupt nation globally.

EFCC described  the criteria for the ranking as bogus, noting that it  achieved a significant milestone in its anti-corruption activities, particularly under the current administration.

But Auwal Rafsanjani, the Chief Executive, Civil Society Legislative and Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) which serves as Country Chapter of TI stated that “The pre-election period witnessed mind-blowing scandals, which stayed without consequences.”

He stressed further that, “Politicians stashing millions of dollars in kickbacks or having corruption charges upon them, just need to switch political parties or stay loyal and charges are dropped against them.”

“Take the example of asset recovery, which the government takes as a big success. Our management of confiscated assets is questionable, if not dubious. Government has not created a transparent and accountable mechanism for the management of recovered assets and loots.”

However, Tony Orilade, Acting Head, Media & Publicity of the EFCC, in a statement in Abuja argued that there is no empirical evidence to substantiate claims by the TI.

According to him, report lacked ‘real incidences’ of corruption stressing that the year under review was actually when the EFCC recorded ‘remarkable’ performances – boasting of 1,268 convictions, which also include that of Orji Uzor Kalu, a former governor and serving Senator whose case of N7.65 billion took 12 years before final conviction was secured.

He said these and other high profile cases were prosecuted with several convicts serving different jail terms.

“The Commission faults the poor rating as baseless, and describes as appalling, the bogus and ambiguous criteria used by TI to arrive at what can best be described as a jaundiced and illogical rating,” the statement reads.

“We insist that the rating is a far cry from the evident strides and achievements so far accomplished by the anti-graft agency in the fight against corruption, particularly under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.”

He added that “Over the past years, billions of naira, millions of dollars and other foreign currencies were recovered from corrupt persons in the country, including securing the forfeiture of assets of their illegal and fraudulent activities. So far, the EFCC has evidently altered the narrative that there are some persons that are untouchables in the country.

“It is on record that three former state governors are currently serving different jail terms in prison for defrauding their states and stealing from the treasury to enrich themselves and their cronies.”

The commission further boasted about the on-going prosecution of Mohammed Adoke, former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, who was allegedly involved in the controversial Malabu oil deal.

It mentioned the case against former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, arrests made on internet fraudsters, commonly known as yahoo-yahoo among other fraudsters serving jail terms.

The commission, however, noted that the TI appeared to have deliberately turned blind-eye at its fete, “overlooking all these achievements all of which are not hidden”.

“It is unfortunate that the body has never acknowledged the achievements of the EFCC.”

“It is obvious that the body has its own hidden agenda,” it stated.

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