The Looting Of London/Paris Club Loan Refund, By Femi Falana

The Looting Of London/Paris Club Loan Refund, By Femi Falana
  • PublishedMarch 27, 2017

In spite of the official pressure and blackmail mounted by a clique of power mongers on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission it is commendable that that the anti-graft agency was able to conduct a detailed investigation into the looting of the N522 billion London/Paris Loan Refund paid to the 36 states and local 774 governments in the country.

The alleged criminal diversion of the sum of N19 billion out of the loan refund through the account of the Nigeria Governors Forum is the height of impunity as there is no statutory nexus between the friendly club of state governors and the Federation Account. Happily, the accounts warehousing the said sum of N19 billion in some banks have since been frozen by the EFCC.

Once again, out of the stolen fund, the sum of N3.5 billion is alleged to have been traced to the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and his close associates. In a dodgy and watery defense of his alleged involvement in a malfeasance that is akin to a crime against humanity, Dr. Saraki has described his indictment as “mudslinging” by the EFCC. However, since the investigation of the monumental fraud had been concluded before the recent rejection of Mr. Magu as EFCC chairman by the Senate the resort to vulgar abuse by the Senate president is diversionary and escapist. In any case, whether it is mudslinging or not Dr. Saraki has not denied the fact that the N3.5 billion traced to him forms part of the N19 billion located in 15 frozen bank accounts.

In a country where workers are owed arrears of salaries and pensioners are not paid their gratuity and pension it is immoral and criminal to corner bailout funds and loan refund earmarked by the federal government for payment of outstanding entitlements of serving and retired employees. Therefore, given the gravity of the criminal offense arising from the looting of the London/Paris loan refund the EFCC should recover the stolen money and ensure that all the indicted suspects are charged to court without any further delay. This is the time to call off the bluff of a few public officers who have sworn to frustrate the war against corruption being waged by the Mohammadu Buhari administration.

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