HomeNewsCOVID-19: Every Nigerian must take Responsibility, says Sanwo-Olu

COVID-19: Every Nigerian must take Responsibility, says Sanwo-Olu

The suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu, may be facing fresh cases of alleged re-looting of funds recovered by the commission as well as bribery.

It was reported that Magu is currently being interrogated by a presidential probe panel headed by retired Justice Ayo Salami over allegations of mismanagement and lack of transparency in managing recovered assets by the EFCC.

A final Report of the Presidential Investigation Committee on the EFCC Federal Government Recovered Assets and Finances from May, 2015, to May 2020, obtained had seriously indicted and implicated Magu on various allegations leveled against him.

The investigative committee terms of reference were to:

  1. investigate, verify and review the recommendations of the Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets as it relates to the EFCC, with a view to ascertaining the complicity or otherwise of the Ag. Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, in the mismanagement of the assets recovered by the Commission;
  2. Identify Avenues through which the recovered assets are dissipated and seized, recovered, forfeited (Interim and Final) assets are valued, managed, disposed and/or mismanaged with a view to ascertain compliance or otherwise with extant laws, regulations, processes and procedures.
  3. Review the existing procedures on the Management of the seized, recovered and Forfeited assets (interim and final) and proffer Standard Operational Procedures for the management of seized, recovered and forfeited assets.
  4. Determine whether assets recovered during his tenure, whether locally in Nigeria or abroad, are being kept safely in a manner as to preserve their original value and determine:-

Whether all the assets could be properly accounted for by the Ag. Chairman.
To confirm if any of the assets has been diverted to the benefit of the Ag. Chairman, his family, relation, friends or favoured staff.
To recover any such diverted assets and return back to the EFCC or appropriate government agency.
The committee was also to investigate and report on corruption and money laundering allegations involving Magu and Bureau De Change operators, as well as some of his associates; as per the intelligence reports and petitions.

It was to audit the Assets and Finances of the EFCC as a legal entity from 2015-2020, with a view to establish compliance or otherwise with procurement procedures of the EFCC in line with the provisions of the Procurement Act.

However, new facts have emerged on how interest rates accruing from N550 billion recovered by the EFCC in the period under review were allegedly re-looted.

Magu is now expected to disclose the whereabouts of the missing interest funds running into millions of naira.

It was also observed that the Final Report of Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets (PCARA) that covered the period of May 29, 2015, to Nov. 22, 2018, had also confirmed the concerns of the public about contradictory recovery figures emanating from Magu.

“It is quite disturbing that conflicting figures are being circulated in the public space by EFCC as the amount of recovered funds.

“For Foreign currency recoveries, EFCC reported a total naira equivalent of N46,038,882,509.87, while the naira equivalent of the foreign currency lodgments were N37,533,764,195.66, representing a shortfall of N8,505,118,314.21.

“These inconsistencies cast a serious doubt on the accuracy of figures submitted by the EFCC. It is the committee’s view that the EFCC cannot be said to have fully accounted for cash recoveries made by it.

“While EFCC reported total Naira recoveries of N504,154,184,744.04, the actual bank lodgments were N543,511,792,863.47. These discrepancies mean that EFCC’s actual lodgment exceeded its reported recoveries by N39,357,608,119.43.

“It must be pointed out that the discrepancy of more than thirty nine billion naira does not include interest accrued in this account since it was opened.

“It therefore cast serious doubt on the credibility of the figures and means that substantial amount of money has not been accurately accounted for.

“Failure to report on the interest on actual lodgments clearly establishes that interest element of over N550 billion has been re-looted relating to the period under review.

“This is an apparent case of manipulation of data in a very brazen and unprofessional manner and this has greatly eroded the public confidence in the anti-corruption efforts,’’ the report stated in part.

It was also reported that the PCARA revealed how the investigative reports on EFCC’s activities by the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) exposed acts of corruption and money laundering against some EFCC officials, including Magu.

“The NFIU reports established that the Acting Chairman has been using different sources to siphon money from the EFCC, and in some cases collecting bribes from suspects.

“The report has shown that a particular Bureau de Change, owned by Ahmed Ibrahim Shanono linked to the Acting Chairman based in Kaduna has more than 158 accounts and has been receiving huge sums of funds.

“The link to Magu was also established by the payment of N28 million to FALANA who is a close associate and ally of the Acting Chairman,’’ the PCARA report further revealed.

It was reported that the Salami probe panel is expected to continue sitting on Monday while Magu’s lawyer, Mr Oluwatosin Ojaomo, had on Friday applied for an administrative bail for his client, who is facing corruption and other charges before the panel.
[9:25 PM, 7/11/2020] taiwo mama UPSHOT: COVID-19: Every Nigerian must take Responsibility, says Sanwo-Olu

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Saturday charged all Nigerians to take responsibility as the nation joins the global community in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking as a Guest Speaker at the Virtual edition of the Lagos Leadership Conference, themed: “Leading in Extraordinary Times”, which was broadcast via Plus TV Africa, Governor Sanwo-Olu said the firm realisation that Lagos is the Nigerian epicentre of the pandemic, and that the whole of country is looking up to the State for leadership and for accomplishment, has been a driving force for his administration’s response to pandemic.

He said: “COVID-19 pandemic is global and all of us have a role to play. Everybody has a role to play. It is only when everybody plays that role that we can put this pandemic behind us very quickly. As a government, we will continue to lead that conversation.

“We should continue to have various levels of engagement and various levels of communication. Everybody must be seen taking responsibility at this stage. We are fully out there and what is just remaining for us is just to keep this momentum and we believe that we will come out of it stronger and better.

“I will ask each and every one of us to take full responsibility, especially for our loved ones and ourselves. When we are going out, let us ensure we continue to obey the protocols. Let us wear our facemasks. Let us ensure we keep social distance8 or physical distancing and continue to listen to our health practitioners and the advice they give us.

“If you have any symptoms, do not wait until when it becomes very severe; get yourself a test, get yourself into one of our isolation centers and we can assure you that, you will be treated well and you will get well at the end of the day,”

Governor Sanwo-Olu also assured Lagos residents that the State Government will ensure that all secondary and primary health facilities in the state become a topnotch and available for citizens of the state, adding that his administration will ensure that the lessons of COVID-19 are not lost.

He said: “As a government, we will stop at nothing to ensure that; one, we scale up our infrastructural capability. We are doing that and we will continue to do that, even post-COVID to ensure that all our secondary and primary health facilities become a topnotch and available for our citizens to have access.

“We will ensure that the lesson and the learning beyond COVID-19 are not lost on us as a leader and as a government. We will use the experiences and the issues that have come out of it to better prepare and plan for our citizens and be able to carry out people better going forward.”

Highlighting some of the steps taken by his administration to address the pandemic, Governor Sanwo-Olu disclosed that the state government took proactive, agile and informed decision-making, as well as priotising the consistent and transparent communication in managing COVID-19 in Lagos State.

His words: “Without our hardworking, talented and committed people, the situation would be a lot worse. And by our People I mean our frontline health workers, support staff, law enforcement agencies, and the civil and public service. At the top of the chain is a ‘War Room’ cabinet – a small team which I lead which liaises with several parts of Government. It is able to speedily process information, and make high-quality decisions. Very importantly also, this War Room cabinet is able to review its decision-making and amend it where necessary. Let me add that a big part of managing people is motivating them, and I have made this a priority. For example, we increased Hazard Allowance by 400 per cent, and introduced a special COVID-19 Allowance, Accommodation and Welfare for frontline workers.

“As a leader, your organisation is only as successful as the quality of the decisions you are making or approving for it. we realised early the need to ensure that our decision-making was strongly informed by data modelling. And that is what we have continued doing, as we seek to strike a difficult but necessary balance between protecting lives and sustaining livelihoods; balancing health and economics.

“ I have taken it as a personal responsibility to champion the Mask Up Lagos campaign. I have been a very visible adopter of online meetings. We switched to Virtual Cabinet Meetings here in Lagos even before the UK did. Even when you watch our regular press briefing, one thing that stands out is the amount of effort that has gone into physical distancing, because optics are very important too. I want people to do not just as I’m saying but also as I’m doing.

“It is very important to empower team members along their lines of expertise and allow them to take ownership of the activities required of them. Humility on the part of a leader is very critical.”

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