Mr Ibrahim Magu, Acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Tuesday said the ongoing investigation of the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, is not personal.
Magu stressed that contrary to allegations that Saraki was being witch hunted, his investigation was no different from others as the EFCC only “invite people who have committed crime, people who are corrupt”.
He said this while receiving award for Outstanding Leadership in Public Service by Euro Knowledge Group.
The Euro Group Award is a highest recognition for individual achievement and is awarded annually.
The award acknowledges and celebrates exemplary leaders that have made signiﬁcant contribution and positive impact in their speciﬁc industry.
“No, no, it’s not personal. I am not after anybody.
“Please, I don’t want you to personalise this. It is not different from other investigations we are doing,” he said.
When asked to comment on the statement by Saraki that he was being witch-hunted, Magu said “never.
“You invite people who have committed crime, people who are corrupt.
“If you are not corrupt, you are not here.
“We do our homework very well: sometimes we conduct preliminary investigations for up to six months and such persons won’t even know we are investigating them,” Magu said.
He described corruption as “a national disaster and mother of all evils.
“If you remove disaster (corruption), you have a peaceful country.”
He said banditry, Boko Haram nuisance and other crimes were “caused by corruption and sustained by corruption.
“It is being funded by stolen and laundered funds, that’s why it is being sustained.”
The acting chairman, however, said that if corruption was tackled, banditry and kidnappings would be sorted out.
He called on Nigerians and stakeholders to take ownership of the fight against corruption, saying that it was not a job for one individual alone.
Magu expressed gratitude for the award saying it would spur him to do more in the fight against corruption.
Mrs Olayinka Fayomi, Chairman, Foreign Investment Network (FIN), who presented the award on behalf of Euro Knowledge, said the award was in recognition of those who had impacted the economy.
“It is also in recognition of those who have impacted the system from which ever sector they are operating from, and the EFCC is one of them.
“Ever since the period Magu had been acting, there has been a tremendous improvement in the fight against corruption,” she said.
She said that with the award, Magu had become one of the African Change Agents.
Saraki had recently come under pressure from the anti-graft agency.
The EFCC had confirmed reports that it had opened a fresh investigation into Saraki’s stewardship as President of the Senate as well as a probe of his earnings as governor of Kwara from 2003 to 2011.
Tony Orilade, acting spokesman, EFCC, said in a statement that EFCC was obligated by law to enthrone probity and accountability in the governance space and had supremely pursued this duty without ill-will or malice against anyone.
“It is in the interest of the public and for Saraki’s personal good that he is not only above board, but be seen at all times to be so.
“Indeed, all the instances in which the EFCC have had cause to sleuth into his financial activities either as a former governor or President of the Senate were driven by overarching public interest and due process of the law,’’ he said.
In his reaction, Saraki insisted that the action of the EFCC was a witch-hunt.
“Our attention has been drawn to the fact that the EFCC has marked certain property belonging to President of the Senate, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, obviously under the claim that they are subject of investigation.
“The action of the EFCC only reinforced our earlier stated position that their current investigation is mischievous, contrary to the tenets of the rule of law and only aimed at settling scores.
“The EFCC’s move to investigate him is a mere witch-hunt exercise, aimed at settling scores, laced with malicious and partisan motives,” Saraki’s Media Adviser, Mr Yusuph Olaniyonu, said in a statement.