Fed Govt – Buhari’s Anti-Graft War On Course

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The anti-graft war of President Muhammadu Buhari is on course, the Federal Government reiterated on Tuesday.

It said the President Muhammadu will not resign because of the alleged infractions in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The government described the call for Buhari’s resignation by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as infantile.

According to it, the development in the identified agencies shows that there is no sacred cow in the fight against graft.

“Unlike the PDP, the APC government will not cover up for anyone,” the government said it was illogical to conclude that the anti-corruption war was waning because of the alleged isolated corrupt practices in some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

According to the government, the war against graft is blind to party affiliation, position in government and any other consideration.

Information, Culture and Tourism Minister Lai Mohammed stated the government position at a briefing in Abuja against the backdrop of insinuations that the Buhari administration was losing grip on the war against corruption.

The minister said although the allegation of corrupt practices in NDDC was not new, the Buhari administration put up a faster speed in addressing it.

Mohammed said: “As you are all aware, Nigerians have recently been inundated with allegations of monumental corruption in a number of government agencies, including the NDDC, NSITF and the anti-corruption agency, EFCC.

“Many, especially naysayers, have misinterpreted these developments as a sign that the administration’s fight against corruption is waning.

In fact, the main opposition PDP has latched on to the developments to call for the resignation of Mr. President, a call that is nothing but infantile!

“Let me state here and now that the fight against corruption, a cardinal programme of this Administration, is alive and well.

President Muhammadu Buhari, the African Union’s Anti-Corruption Champion, who also has an impeccable reputation globally, remains the driver of the fight and no one, not the least the PDP under whose watch Nigeria was looted dry, can taint his image or reverse the gains of the fight. Anyone who disagrees that the anti-corruption fight is alive and well is free to dare us.”

Insisting that the disclosures in the past few weeks has justified that the government was not sparing the rod, the minister: “What the revelations of the past few weeks, especially the investigation of the nation’s anti-corruption Czar, have shown is that this administration is not ready to sweep any allegation of corruption under the carpet; that there is no sacred cow in this fight, and that  unlike the PDP – we will not cover up for anyone, including the members of our party and government, who faces corruption allegations.

He said despite the fact that the alleged fraud cases in NDDC were not new; the administration of Buhari was determined to tackle the issue.

He added: “I am not prepared to go into the details of the various corruption allegations – whether at the NDDC, NSITF, EFCC or any other agency – because they are all still under investigation.

However, I wish to state that the allegations of corruption in NDDC, for example, are not new. What is new is the speed and seriousness with which this administration has tackled, and is still tackling, the allegations.

“Had such attention been paid to the running of the NDDC by previous administrations, the commission would probably have avoided its present predicament.

Is it not a sad irony, then, that those under whose watch the alleged freewheeling spending by the Commission started are now the ones accusing those who are cleaning up after them of corruption?”

He gave insights into the achievements of the Buhari’s government on anti-corruption campaign, including the recovery of N800 billion and 1,400 convictions.

Faulting insinuations that the war was not waning, he said: “As I said earlier, this administration’s fight against corruption is as strong as ever, and we have the records to back up this claim.

This Administration has recorded over 1,400 convictions, including high profile ones, and recovered funds in excess of N800 billion, not to talk of forfeiture of ill-gotten properties. This is no mean feat.

“Remember, gentlemen that the fight against corruption is not about looting of recovery or convictions alone. We are also putting in place enduring institutional reforms that will deter acts of corruption.

Here we are talking about the Treasury Single Account (TSA), the whistleblower policy, the expansion of the coverage of the Integrated Payroll Personnel and Information System (IPPIS) as well as the Government Integrated Management Information System and the Open Government Partnership and Transparency Portal on Financial Transactions, among others.

“Let me also mention the ICPC’s Constituency and Executive Projects Tracking Group, aimed at tracking performance of publicly-funded projects, and the commission’s escalation of the use of administrative sanctions in the public service by periodically submitting, for sanction, names of public servants who are being prosecuted. There is also the review of the personnel and capital fund expenditure of MDAs.

“Therefore, those who are celebrating the so-called waning of the Administration’s anti-corruption fight are engaging in wishful thinking, and are not looking at the full ramifications of the fight.

”This administration has fought against corruption by investigating and prosecuting those accused of embezzlement and the misuse of public resources.

“We have empowered teams of prosecutors, assembled detailed databases of evidence, traced the proceeds of crimes and accelerated the recovery of stolen funds….The policies that we are putting in place today are to ensure such criminal and unpatriotic acts do not go without consequences.”

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