THE zonal head, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibadan zonal office, Mr Akanninyene Ezinma, has disclosed that the zonal office of the anti-corruption agency has recovered the sum of N57,316,607.15 kobo, and currently investigating 123 people from over 200 petitions received so far in the last nine months that the zonal office was established.
Ezinma disclosed this while briefing newsmen on Thursday morning, on the activities of the commission since it began operations in February, at the Iyaganku office of the commission.
Addressing newsmen, Ezinwa who was flanked by the head of Public Affairs of the commission, Ayo Oyewole, deputy zonal head, Kazeem Oseni and Head of Administration and the Public Relations, Mrs Oyekemi Kayode-Afe, informed that the zonal office had given the activities of the commission a leap in the South-West Zone of the country.
According to him, “the Ibadan zonal office was was established in January 2016 as an impetus to the anti-corruption vision of the Federal Government and the resolve of the acting Executive Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, to extend the anti-graft war to the grassroots and, especially to bring the commission closer to the people.
“We hit the ground running as we commenced operations immediately.
“Between February and September, we received over 200 petitions out of which 123 are under investigations. Eighty suspects were arrested during the course of investigation. Out of these cases, eight are already before the courts at various stages of trial.
“We have also, within the same period seized six vehicles from suspected fraudsters and recovered N57, 316,607.15k,” Ezinma stated.
He added further that the “figures indicate a steady progression in our activities and a commitment to the commission’s mandate. Ibadan zone is not limited to official corruption cases. We are at the advanced stages in the investigation of some Advance Free Fraud cases and other forms of infractions.”
Ezinma revealed that the greatest challenge facing the agency is “paucity of information”, thus, called on “members of the public to make information available to us. We need to protect the interest of Nigerians and the future of our children, and the only way to do so is to have information on corrupt people.”
He also debunked the public’s perception that the commission arrested the alleged suspects before investigations.
“We do investigation before we invite or arrest suspects. As a matter of fact, we follow the stages in investigating matters of corrupt practices. First, we receive complaints or information from the public, then we generate additional facts to buttress what we already have. Then, we make arrest to give the suspects the opportunity to state their own side of the story before we proceed on trial before the court of law,” he noted.
“No suspect is detained more than 48 hours without a court order. Members of the public may not be privy to our internal working that may lead to speculation or misinformation. But the public should also be aware that in most cases, the suspects fight back in some circumstances,” Ezinma noted.