The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has vehemently condemned in strong terms, the 2019 Corruption Perception Index, CPI recently released by Transparency International, TI, which ranked Nigeria 146 out of 180 countries analysed.
The Commission further faulted the poor rating as baseless and described as appalling, the ‘bogus and ambiguous’ criteria used by TI to arrive at what the agency described as a ‘jaundiced and illogical rating’.
According to the EFCC, the rating is a far cry from the evident strides and achievements so far accomplished by the anti-graft agency in the fight against corruption, particularly under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The claim and inference by TI that Nigeria ranks the fourth most corrupt country in West Africa is totally unacceptable, as it is evidently not supported by any empirical data, especially when placed side-by-side with the remarkable achievements of the Commission in the past years,” EFCC stated in a communique on Thursday.
The EFCC further stated that it is quite ironic that the report by TI posits does not show real incidences of corruption, yet it claims that the report is a reliable indication of the perception of the Nigerian public and the international community about the state of corruption in the country.
Still reacting to the report, EFCC stated that in 2019 – the year under review by TI, was particularly a remarkable one for the EFCC as the Commission secured unprecedented record of 1,268 convictions, including that of a former state governor and a serving senator who was convicted for defrauding his state to the tune of N7.65billion.
It was a landmark in the fight against corruption never achieved across the West African region, indeed, Africa at large. This is among several high profile cases, which were successfully prosecuted during the year with many of them currently serving various jail terms.
Over the past years, billions of naira, millions of dollars and other foreign currencies were recovered from corrupt persons in the country, including securing the forfeiture of assets of their illegal and fraudulent activities. So far, the EFCC has evidently altered the narrative that there are some persons that are untouchables in the country.
It is on record that three former state governors are currently serving different jail terms in prison for defrauding their states and stealing from the treasury to enrich themselves and their cronies.
The EFCC has also spearheaded the Nigerian angle of prosecuting those involved in the Malabu Oil Fraud, and in partnership with the INTERPOL, was able to secure the repatriation of a former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice implicated in the fraud, who has been on the run. Charges have already been filed against him at a Federal Capital Territory, FCT High Court and he has just been arraigned today.
The Commission has also not given up on its unrelenting efforts to ensure that a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, is made to answer for the various malfeasance perpetrated under her, in spite of the obvious reluctance of the United Kingdom to repatriate her to Nigeria.
The onslaught against perpetrators of internet fraud, infamously known as yahoo-yahoo, has also intensified with several of them now serving jail terms.”
The EFCC claimed that it is obvious that TI seems to have decidedly decided to look the other way, overlooking all these achievements all of which are not hidden.
According to the antigraft-agency, it is unfortunate that the body has never acknowledged the achievements of the EFC, adding that “it is obvious that the body has its own hidden agenda”.
The Commission said it will not be distracted by a body that has been consistent in its ‘biased rating’ of Nigeria and will continue in its mandate of fighting corruption.