Mr Michael Wetkas, the Zonal Coordinator, Economic, and Financial Crimes Commission in charge of Bauchi, Taraba and Gombe states, has disclosed how the zone stopped an immediate past governor in the zone from embezzling N11.5bn 11 hours to handover.
He made the disclosure during a walk to commemorate African Anti- Corruption Day in Gombe State, with the theme, ‘Towards a common African position on asset recovery’.
Wetkas said, “You know as well as I do know that one of the biggest problems we have in Nigeria is corruption. It has been the bane of our underdevelopment, cause of unemployment, decay of our infrastructure and above all, national insecurity.
“You may have your doubts but the facts are there. Africa as a continent loses N50bn annually. Nigeria as a country from independence to 2012, had lost over $400bn.
“To prevent and combat corruption, President Muhammadu Buhari, in line with his fight against corruption, started a campaign since his first term in office on repatriation of funds stolen from Nigeria. There is a conscious effort by stakeholders to adopt a white paper. We want to raise the consciousness and urge every citizen to be part of the anti-corruption campaign, When you see something, say something, it is your duty to say something. Law enforcement is not witchcraft.”
Wetkas, who used the opportunity to deliver diverted relief materials back to Internally Displaced Persons’ camp in Gombe State, added, “You see those relief materials there, they are the products of someone that saw something and he chose to say something.
“As a zone, from January to date, we have secured 55 convictions, over N90m worth of recoveries, 11 interim forfeited property, two already forfeited to the Federal Government. For some of us, that are aware of the criminal justice system, it is not a mere feat. We received intelligence that one of the outgoing governors within our zone, eleven hours to the end of his tenure, had perfected plans to spend N11.5bn.
“The intelligence was received in the night; early in the morning, we got the account frozen and we are yet to unfreeze it, until we are sure government funds are safe. “It is not our responsibility to stop the government from spending but once there is such information, we ensure it doesn’t happen.
“As a zone, we will like to warn that the Anchor Borrower scheme has become a conduit of corruption, employment scam, counterfeiting of currency, land racketeering; it has become means of extorting money from innocent farmers.”
Also, a lecturer in the Department of Economics, Federal University of Kashere, Dr Anas Kubalu, called for a special court to try corruption cases.
He said, “The anti-corruption campaign is a joint one, but for it to be most effective, I will suggest a special court that will try corruption cases.”