There appears to be no backing down by President Muhammadu Buhari on his resolve to make anti-corruption and accountability the fulcrum of his administration as he issued fresh orders to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to account for funds that were stolen but recovered by the Commission.
In fact, the President also instructed the EFCC not to be distracted by negative comments from some quarters on its operations, especially as they affect some of those who have been named in the now infamous $2.1b arms scandal.
This is coming at a time when the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP – which has had a few of its leaders arrested and detained in Buhari’s anti-corruption crusade – and the All Progressives Congress, APC, which is the ruling party, are trading words on the propriety or otherwise of the approach of the EFCC executing the anti-graft war.
Sources in the presidential villa informed that the recent visits of the Chairman, EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Magu, to the seat of power, where he was said to have had audience with Buhari, may be a pointer to the seeming micro-management of the anti-corruption drive.
Although the source did not make full disclosures about what transpired at the private meeting between the President and Magu, it was made to understand that far from the allegation of tele- guiding the EFCC, “Mr. President wanted a very clear picture regarding accountability and the exact amount of funds already recovered from some of those who were said to be making refunds to the coffers of the Federal Government of Nigeria”.
It was learnt that Buhari’s express orders to the EFCC boss was to the effect that the funds already recovered must be accounted for.
Whereas this was not an indictment on the current leadership of the EFCC, It said it gathered that some of the issues that were already subjects of controversy even before Magu took over as the Commission’s boss needed to be sorted out.
Specifically, the activities of the EFCC regarding recovery of looted funds under Ibrahim Lamorde, the immediate past EFCC boss, were brought into sharp focus.
Buhari has vowed that all stolen funds would be recovered.
The present wave of arrests and interrogation is not unconnected with this drive.
Indeed, sources made it clear that since the EFCC, under Lamorde, made some recoveries and seizures from some looters (which included properties), there was need to account for “everything that went down”.
In fact, whereas Lamorde is out of the country, there are suggestions that he may “be made to come back to the country to properly account for recoveries and sale of properties that may have happened under his tenure”.