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The Senate yesterday said top officials of the Central Bank of Nigerian (CBN) are billionaires, and asked the anti-graft agency, the EFCC, to go after them. The senators also said the EFCC should investigate top Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) officials as well as top federal bureaucrats.
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They made the call when acting EFCC chairman, Mr Ibrahim Magu, and officials of the commission appeared before the Senate committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes to defend their budget. A member of the committee, Senator Isa Hamma Misau (APC, Bauchi) said the $9.8million recovered at the residence of the former Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr. Andrew Yakubu was just a tip of the iceberg.
“We are challenging you to go after the CBN, look into their activities. People are buying dollars, they are hiding it and if you look at the amount of dollars hidden in the country, it is more than what they have in the US. “We will tell you where they’ve hidden the money. Go to Asokoro and Maitama… Check Directors, they are billionaires. I can mention more than 30 of them that are billionaires. I’m blowing the whistle on CBN and NNPC, “he said.
Our correspondent reports that the EFCC boss nodded his head and clapped his hands. Committee Chairman, Senator Chukuwuka Utazi queried the commission for getting N1.8billion in the service wide vote in 2016 through the Presidency without recourse to the National Assembly.
“This is totally wrong. You put the budget upside-down. It is an abuse of the service wide vote. We will communicate to the Presidency on this. Mr. Chairman how do you see this? He asked Magu. Responding, Magu said, “Yes you are right. Things should be done in accordance to the law”.
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The committee also queried multiple provisions for furniture in the budget of the commission. In the budget, N600million was provided under line item, “furnishing of headquarters office” and another N64.7million was provided for furniture and fittings. On recovery, Utazi said the details of the recoveries made by the Commission was not in the annual report submitted to the Committee .
“In your annual report, we don’t have details of recoveries, look at the ICPC report, “he said. Anger by Utazi statement, Magu asked the committee to stop comparing EFCC with ICPC. “Please, don’t compare us with ICPC”. But Utazi insisted, saying “We insist on that. It has to be done. We are giving you one week to give us all the details”.
He urged Magu to intensify efforts at freeing the commission of Staff on secondment. “Do everything possible to free EFCC of staff on secondment. We want core staff of the commission to take over,” he said.
Earlier in his address, Magu appealed to the lawmakers to increase the personnel cost of the commission from N7.1billion to N9.6billion to accommodate the proposed recruitment of 750 cadets this year and the 530 cadets recruited in 2016. He assured the committee that, “we have heard you. We will go back to the drawing board”.
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