Although, suspects in the ongoing anti-corruption crusade have been returning looted funds, this will not be enough to save them.
According to the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, the commission could still prosecute suspects, even after they have returned stolen money to the treasury.
“What matters first and foremost is for everyone involved in the arms deal scam to return the money he or she may have collected. That does not preclude such suspect from facing prosecution,” Magu said in an interview, where he was asked whether the EFCC would enter plea-bargaining with suspects or waive prosecution if stolen funds were returned.
The EFCC chairman said the rat race for wealth among public office holders was one of the major reasons for rampant corruption in the country.
“Political offices in Nigeria are too attractive. This encourages a rat race of sorts. Also, the judiciary, which is the last resort, has allegedly been complicit, making civil servants who have been found guilty of corruption feel confident to poke the law in the face and go scot-free.”
Magu said the ongoing investigations on the $2.1 billion arms deal should outrage Nigerians, as the amount of money originally set aside for the war on Boko Haram, “was diverted for personal use”. He said this was just one of the many cases of looted funds being investigated by the EFCC.
“There should be a national outrage by now. There is something wrong with our values. Corruption has been celebrated over the years,” Magu said.