By Mark A. Upaa
On Wednesday, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission affirmed that in the 38 years, Spanning 1970-2008, about $28 billion has been squirreled out of the Nigerian economy illigally. The commission stated that this figure was arrived at after reviewing the various investigations, arrests, prosecution and assets recovery records at the commisions disposal. Confirming the unprecedented levels of the misappropriation of public funds perpetuated in Nigeria as truly staggering.
The Acting Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, represented by its Acting Spokesperson, Tony Orilade, expressed all these views at a recent conference organised by Online Publishers Association of Nigeria with the theme: “Free press and objective reporting during the 2019 elections.” The EFCC said corruption in Nigeria was being perpetrated by individuals and groups both in the private and public sectors.
He confirmed that the list of perpetrators spanned the full range of Nigerian society including, former state governors, ministers, high ranking military officers, chief executives of parastatals and top bureaucrats in state and federal agencies as culprits involved in the public sector theft. Magu said, “The alarming rate of corruption committed by these unpatriotic elements can be partly seen in the number of convictions secured by the EFCC from Nigerian courts since I assumed duty as the head of the commission in 2015.
“The figure stands at 103 in 2015, 195 in 2016, 189 in 2017 and 312 for the period of January to December 2018. The total figure for the period of 2015 to 2018 is a mind-blowing 799 convictions. In the process of such convictions, the EFCC recovered N794.5bn, $261m, £1.1m, €8.1m and CFA86, 500.
“One of the most graphic ways through which the absence of democratic accountability manifests itself in Nigeria today is through the prevalence of rampant corruption at all levels of governance. For example, Transparency International reported that Nigeria was the most corrupt country in the world for years: 1996, 1997, 2000 and second in the line for remaining years up to 2003.
“In 2015, a high-level panel on illicit financial flows from Africa constituted by the African Union, under the chairmanship of a former President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, it was revealed that Nigeria ranked first among ten African countries by cumulative illicit financial flows between 1970 and 2008. The total outflow from Nigeria for the period was $217.7bn constituting about 30.5 per cent of Africa’s total share in the dark economy.”