Presidency confronts Transparency International over poor marks for anti-graft crusade

Posted by Ismaila Chafe | 24 February 2018 | 951 times

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•Presidential Senior Media Aide, Malam Garba Shehu

The Presidency has described as “very misleading and unfair” the Transparency International’s assessment of the Federal government’s efforts in the ongoing anti-corruption crusade.

Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, made this position known in a statement issued in Abuja on Friday.

According to Shehu, the government is still wondering the criteria or facts used by the anti-corruption watchdog to arrive at its very misleading and unfair conclusions in its assessment of the government’s efforts in the anti-corruption campaign.

He said: “The Presidency notes that, while it welcomes constructive criticisms from the anti-corruption watchdog, Transparency International (TI), the organisation has a responsibility to reflect the larger picture of the concrete and verifiable achievements of the Buhari administration since it came into office in May 2015.”

The presidential aide observed that it was once unthinkable to touch or prosecute the “big men” for corruption in Nigeria but President Buhari had ended impunity for corruption.

“Political will is the first major component of fighting corruption in any country and President Buhari has made a huge difference by demonstrating not only the political will but also the extraordinary courage to go after high profile looters, including former military service chiefs and judges.”

He noted that the Buhari administration had made accountability the bedrock of governance and “corruption is no longer fashionable because it attracts consequences.

“Blocking leakages for corruption through the rigid enforcement of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) had made life tougher for corrupt officials.”

He regretted that these efforts were not acknowledged by the corruption watchdog.

According to him, the efforts of the federal government’s anti-graft agencies in the recovery of stolen funds, in both local and international currencies, deserved commendation by the TI.

Shehu revealed that the figures published by the EFCC, the anti-corruption agency, had indicated that N738.9 billion was recovered in just two years of the Buhari administration.

He added that, “this impressive and unprecedented record is worthy of mention and acknowledgement by anybody genuinely looking at the larger picture of the country’s progress in the war against corruption.

“During the 7th session of the Conference of State Parties to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption in Vienna, Austria, the Chairman of the Agency Ibrahim Magu noted that the figure represents 2.9 billion dollars.”

He further noted that in addition to the recoveries of looted funds, the EFCC had recorded more than 140 successful prosecutions.

Shehu stated that the Federal government had also signed international agreements to recover the proceeds of corruption and to block the laundering of stolen assets abroad by public officials.

According to the presidential aide, anybody who knows where Nigeria was coming from would not believe that corruption is worse under the Buhari administration.

“We wonder where they got their facts from. At a time, they are alleging increase in the incidence of corruption under this government, the whole of Africa is applauding by choosing President Buhari as the continental champion to lead the fight against it.

“Nothing can be more eloquent than this.

“In the end, this whole episode may turn out to be just a political distraction, given the strong views some of TI’s patrons have expressed against the Buhari administration.

“This notwithstanding, facts are facts, and those facts won’t cease to be facts even if you don’t care to pay attention to them,” he said. (NAN)


Source: News Express

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