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Looting: Senate asks EFCC to go after CBN, government agencies

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The Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption on Monday decried the spate of looting and stealing of government monies by both serving and past officials.

It charged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to go after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to look for culprits and make them face the music.

They also urged the anti-graft agency to spread its dragnet to serving and retired Directors, as well as sitting and ex-Permanent Secretaries, stressing that the nation could not cope with their antics of looting anymore.

It gave the charge to the Commission when its Chairman, Ibrahim Magu and other EFCC officials appeared for Budget defence before the Committee on Anti-Corruption headed by Senator Chukwuka Utazi.

“There is monumental stealing of public monies by government officials and this has been partly responsible for the current recession bedeviling the country”, he said.

A member of the Committee, Senator Isa Misau expressed shock on how former Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mr Andrew Yakubu could own up to stock-piling some foreign currencies- $9.7 million, £74, 000 and some huge amount of Naira in a private residence.

“The level of stealing of government funds with impunity has reached an alarming level in Nigeria such that the amount of US Dollars in circulation in Nigeria is much more than what the US Central Bank could boast off”, Misau submitted.

“It is quite unfortunate that in Nigeria today, the US Dollars and other foreign currencies being stashed in secret places are not being used for trading and business transactions to promote the economy”, he added.

He said those stashing funds were exploiting loopholes in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to make quick gains and the economy was at the receiving end.

Misau said: “many of such buildings litter the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, most especially, Maitama, Asokoro, Utako and other places, most of them unoccupied since the past 5 years.”

He further called for amendment of EFCC Act to ensure that not only properties were confiscated, but the culprits were jailed for years.

“It is painful that EFCC would just arrest some of these people and after a week in custody release them on bail and at the end, nothing is heard about their cases. This is not what we want in Nigeria”, he added.‎

Meanwhile, the Committee Chairman, praised the EFCC’s efforts on the fight against corruption, charging the officials to always do the needful in the fight to save Nigeria from the pang of corruption.

EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu assured the Senate that the agency was poised to do what it was legally empowered to, noting that there was nothing personal in the anti-corruption battle so far.

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