As part of its anti-corruption campaign, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it is about to start an investigation into the petroleum sector and the role of former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke. Also being investigated is former Minister of Finance of the past administration, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
The Acting chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, speaking yesterday at the 2016 budget defense session with the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes headed by Hon. Oladele Kayode, revealed the probe of Allison-Madueke and Okonjo-Iweala.
In his presentation before the lawmakers on Monday, Magu tactically avoided giving direct answers to questions on whether Alison-Madueke would come under the searchlight of the agency.
Responding to queries by Hon. Razak Atunwa on whether the EFCC was investigating the former ministers, the EFCC boss merely responded to such questions by saying;
Yes, the commission will soon move into the petroleum sector.
Magu also urged the committee to consider an additional N500 million to its N1.38billion overhead appropriation to facilitate support the efforts of the agency’s investigations into more sectors of the economy.
In his address, Magu said the reduction of the budget estimate to N1.38 billion from N2.99 billion by the ministry, would affect the mandate of the EFCC.
It will adversely affect it ability to prosecute the war against corruption. Areas that would be highly affected are: investigative activities (local travels and transport), manpower development (professional training), maintenance of logistics (plant and generator fuelling, motor vehicle maintenance), etc.
He sought support for a proposed recruitment of an additional 750 staff into different cadres of the agency this year in its bid to build its core members of staff and reduce the number of its operatives on secondment from other organisations.
Ironically, the budget ministry cut the EFCC’s personnel cost for this year by 6.5 per cent.
The Chairman of the committee, Mr. Kayode Oladele, however promised the EFCC that the House would look into its complaints.
As we all know, the current economic downturn has drastically reduced projected earnings for the 2016 fiscal year.
Despite the paucity of funds, the funding of the EFCC remains a priority for the government.
The committee shall support the vision of elevating the EFCC to sustain the current anti-corruption crusade.
Meanwhile, the EFCC has stated that it will also be investigating an unnamed oil magnate whose possible extradition from Switzerland may be on the cards.
Swiss officials have since confirmed that they have received a request from the United Kingdom (UK) for mutual legal assistance on the matter.