A Senate committee has challenged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to investigate officials from the Ministry of Finance, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Lawmakers threw the gauntlet Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman of the EFCC, on Monday, when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Anti-corruption and financial crimes for the 2017 budget defense.
Isa Misau, a member of the committee, urged the EFCC to pay attention to unoccupied houses in Abuja, saying a lot of transactions are made on them with “ill-gotten money”.
Misau said the $9.8million and other sums recovered at the residence of Andrew Yakubu, former group managing director of NNPC, was one case out of many.
“Today, I am giving it as a challenge to the EFCC to go and see what the NNPC or CBN or the finance ministry is doing,” he said.
“This is an era of whistle-blowing. I am blowing my whistle: go and check CBN. That is the reason why, today, we have (this) recession. Today, dollar, at the parallel market, is N520. And there are allegations against the CBN; the way they give these dollars.
“This committee is challenging the EFCC to go and look at these records: what is our revenue in dollars? Who are the people collecting these dollars?
“Go and see unoccupied buildings in Asokoro, Maitama and Wuse 2 (all in Abuja). For over five years, nobody will be there (in the buildings). And EFCC is not looking at these houses. A lot of transactions are taking place with ill-gotten money to the tune of N2bn or N3bn, and somebody will bring the money in cash to buy a house.
“Without digging into these landed properties and knowing their owners, you may end up being only after somebody who just left office, and arresting and detaining them for one week, and they will get bailed. And the business continues.”
Misau also complained about the short detention period of suspected looters, noting that the senate was ready to work with the EFCC to establish a law that will empower it to detain such persons for up to a year.
He urged the anti-graft agency to go after federal bureaucrats and directors of government agencies, saying most of them were billionaires.
“We want a situation whereby you will get the cooperation of judges. I see no reason why somebody will take (steal) billions and after two days with the EFCC, they will be granted bail,” Misau said.
“If we need another law that once it has to do with government money, we can keep such person with EFCC for one year; if there are certain laws you want, where you can detain somebody for one year, we are ready.
“Go and check the houses in Maitama, Wuse 2 and Asokoro. How did they (the owners) get the money? Check the directors, who are still serving; they are all billionaires. I can mention more than 30 directors; they are still serving and they are billionaires.”