President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday, lamented that corruption was present almost everywhere and at many levels of government.
Buhari said he set up the panel to probe Ibrahim Magu, suspended Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, because of serious allegations against the anti-graft agency.
Speaking while receiving the report of the panel headed by retired Justic Ayo Salami, Buhari said his administration will cut off any stream that supports the growth of corruption.
“As a government, and in furtherance of our anti-corruption programme, we have since inception engaged in many reforms in removing corruption including but not limited to the enforcement of Treasury Single Account, strict implementation of the Bank Verification Number policy and signing unto the Open Government Partnership. A lot of efforts have gone into building and development of our anti-corruption institutions.
“We have so far kept faith with our promise and shall remain committed until Nigeria triumphs over the evil of corruption, attain a prosperous economic status, and surmounts her security challenges.
“However, the stark reality of widespread corruption becomes poignant when allegations of corruption touch on the leadership of an institution set up by law to coordinate and enforce all economic and financial crimes. It is an abomination that strikes at the root and undermines the government’s anti-corruption programme.
“It was in response to the serious allegations against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission that I set up a panel headed by Justice Isa Ayo Salami, retired President of the Court of Appeal, via an Instrument dated 3rd July 2020 pursuant to the Tribunals of Inquiry Act (Cap T21, LFN, 2004),” a statement by Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Femi Adesina, read.
Justice Salami disclosed that the commission also embarked on a nationwide physical verification of recovered forfeited assets, comprising real estates, automobiles, vessels and non-cash assets.
He commended the President for the initiative to dispose all forfeited assets “because of the poor condition of the assets we saw during our physical verification nationwide.”
Noting that the four chairmen of EFCC since inception were from the police, the retired Justice of the Court of Appeal also recommended that in appointing a new chairman, consideration should be given to candidates from other law enforcement or security agencies and a core staff of the EFCC as provided in the EFCC establishment Act of 2004.