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BUHARI RECEIVES AYO SALAMI’S PANEL REPORT ON MAGU PROBE, SAYS CORRUPTION IS ALMOST EVERYWHERE

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday received the report of the Judicial Commission of Enquiry on the Investigation of Ibrahim Magu, the suspended Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The President said though corruption is everywhere, his desire is to make Nigeria a country that has no tolerance for it and one where the menace of corruption is “vigorously battled”.

“I want Nigeria to be counted among those countries that do not tolerate but fight corruption”, the President said receiving the report from the panel headed by Justice Ayo Salami (Rtd), at the State House, Abuja.

Buhari called on Nigerians to own the fight against corruption at different levels so as to protect the country’s political and economic systems and its collective existence from the threat of corruption. He said the fight against corruption must be fought without fear or favour as he expressed gratitude to members of the panel for their commitment and dedication. He said, “The sad reality confronting us as a people is that there is corruption almost everywhere; at many levels of government, and nearly every stratum of our society. Mindful of the threat that corruption poses to us as a nation, this administration has specifically focused on the fight against corruption.

“As a government, and in furtherance of our anti-corruption programme, we have since inception engaged in many reforms in removing corruption including but not limited to the enforcement of Treasury Single Account (TSA), strict implementation of the Bank Verification Number Policy and signing unto the Open Government Partnership. A lot of efforts have gone into building and development of our anti-corruption institutions.”

“…However, the stark reality of widespread corruption becomes poignant when allegations of corruption touches on the leadership of an institution set up by law to coordinate and enforce all economic and financial crimes. It is an abomination that strikes at the root, and undermines the Government’s anti-corruption programme.”

He said it was in response to the serious allegations against the EFCC that the panel was put up on 3rd July, 2020. The President also said he recognised that a lot more effort still needs to be made to achieve success in the war against corruption and that he said his government is prepared for as no one is “too big to tackle”.

Justice Salami said the suspended Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, and 113 witnesses appeared and testified before the Commission. He also said 46 petitions and memoranda were presented by individuals and organisations with complaints against Magu, the EFCC or both.

The retired Justice said the panel also embarked on a nationwide physical verification of recovered forfeited assets, comprising real estates, automobiles, vessels and non-cash assets and commended the President for the initiative to dispose all forfeited assets because of their poor condition.

He recommended that consideration should be given to candidates from other law enforcement or security agencies in appointing a new chairman for the EFCC noting that the four chairmen of the commission since inception have been from the police.

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