The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu has confirmed that the anti-graft agency is investigating Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, erstwhile Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Finance, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, erstwhile Minister of Petroleum Resources and her close associate and businessman, Mr. Kola Aluko, who allegedly helped in siphoning stolen state funds accrued from crude oil.
Magu, who confirmed this Monday before the House Committee on Financial Crimes chaired by Hon. Kayode Oladele, said the commission needed to build its capacity towards recovering looted funds, especially in the petroleum sector.
Alison-Madueke, who was arrested by the National Crime Agency (NCA) in the United Kingdom last year, along with four others, is presently being investigated in London over alleged corruption, bribery and money laundering following the seizure of £27,000 from her, under Section 295 of Proceeds of Crime Act 2012.
The commission is extending its radar to the oil sector, with the view to recovering the looted funds from some political appointees and public servants, the EFCC boss said.
While presenting the commission’s 2016 budget proposal, he however argued that the sum of N1, 389,429,463 recommended by the Ministry of Budget and Planning for 2016, as against N2, 999,245,761 requested by the commission, representing a shortfall of N1, 609,816,298 or 116 percent from its overhead expenditure, may jeopardise the recovery plan.
He said: “In view of the current increase in the commission’s activities to achieve its anti-corruption mandate, the ministry’s proposal will adversely affect her ability to prosecute the war against corruption, including investigative activities (local travels and transport) as well as manpower development.”
He also informed the committee that the “commission was exempted from the said restriction (international travels and tours), vide State House letter Ref: PRES/81/SGF/4/587/36/HCSF/273/87/MF/-2/678 dated 21st May, 2015 because of the need to fully cover all the aspects of operative/investigative needs.”
While confirming the information, a member of the House committee, Hon. Razak Atunwa, who inquired about the probe into the petroleum sector, said: “I said EFCC has recovered a lot of money for Nigeria and he (Magu) mentioned that, in that regard, more sectors of the economy is likely to come under Investigative activity.
“I said it includes petroleum sector? He said yes. And I said would it include investigating the following people: Diezani Allison-Madueke, Okonjo-Iweala and Kola Aluko, and he said yes. Those people are already under their investigative radar.”
Speaking earlier, Kayode Oladele, chairman of the committee, assured the commission’s management of unflinching support for the war against corruption by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration and in transforming the EFCC to a world-class anti-graft institution.