All government financial transactions will be done in the open --Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari with Kaduna and Kebbi State Governors, Nasir El-Rufai and Atiku Bagudu; and acting EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Magu, at the
Passing Out Parade of EFCC Detective Inspector Course 5 in Kaduna State on February 18, 2020.

The President has given an assurance that all government financial transactions will be done in the open.

President Muhammadu Buhari, who spoke at the Passing Out Parade of Detective Inspector Course Five of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), noted the various reform agenda implemented by his administration.

“My resolve is to ensure that the reforms are deepened such that there will be no hiding place for corrupt persons and proceeds of corruption,” he told an audience at the event held on Tuesday in Kaduna State.

The president added, “My aim is to ensure that no government financial transaction is done in secret and all are subjected to public scrutiny.

“The objective of this administration is to institute a level of transparency in governance through mainly information technology platforms.

“Just as advanced democracies and some developing countries, I am determined that within a short period, citizens would be able to follow core government operations online.”

President Buhari was delighted that his administration had reached the advanced stage in fiscal transparency.

He noted that the appropriation bill was uploaded online within hours of its presentation in National Assembly.

The president also revealed that the Budget Office of the Federation has been engaging interest groups in the budget cycle.

According to him, a pilot scheme of 10 Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) has been test running online, which displays their budgets and expenditure movements.

“Our commitment to online disclosure of Beneficial Owners of Companies generally within the framework of the Corporate Affairs Commission and in the extractive industries through Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) is on course.

“I am aware the portals are ready, but owners of companies are unwilling to comply with all disclosure requirements.

“May I use this opportunity to urge all well-meaning Nigerians to fully comply,” President Buhari pleaded.

He explained that the various national reforms and collaborative efforts with international organisations were designed to institutionally strengthen anti-corruption agencies in Nigeria.

Preventing Corruption
The President revealed that his administration has been working within the frameworks of the National Action Plan for Open Government Partnership (OGP) and National Anti-Corruption Strategy, saying they were an adaptation of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption and the Global Forum for Asset Recovery (GFAR).

Several of the reforms, the Nigerian leader noted, have been effective for several years with a great impact on revenue and expenditure management.

He listed them to include the Government Integrated, Financial and Management Information System (GIFMIS), Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), Single Treasury Account, and Bank Verification Number (BVN).

President Buhari said, “Executive Orders, such as Preservation of Suspicious Assets Connected with Corruption (Executive Order 6), Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) Act 2018; and Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 2018 have been operating for a few years and effectively limiting system opportunities for corrupt practices.

“This administration, right from the inception, aligned with the Open Governance Partnership and Global Forum for Asset Recovery, in addition to existing commitments to African Union and Economic Community of West African States’ Conventions Against Corruption, and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).”

“These frameworks focus significantly on systems reforms in order to prevent corruption.

“Nigeria’s active participation in these global anti-corruption platforms means that the country is subjecting itself to periodic review of its progress in implementing the articles of conventions, thus the fight against corruption,” he added.

Nigeria Is Winning
The President said his administration’s war against corruption was also attracting international endorsements.

He stressed that the face of the country abroad was also changing as the international community had begun to see Nigeria making substantial progress in the enthronement of transparency, accountability and good governance.

President Buhari, therefore, commended the EFCC for making the war against corruption effective, having listened to the report presented by the acting chairman of the commission, Mr Ibrahim Magu, at the event.

He described Magu’s report as an attestation that the right policies have been put in place to fight corruption and the fight was becoming much more effective.

“I make bold to say that Nigeria is winning the war against corruption.  I congratulate the EFCC on its good work and I urge that the current level of success be sustained and accelerated,” the President said.

He was also happy that the EFCC was making steady progress by the recruitment, training and deployment of a special force of 665 cadets to its zonal offices within the past two years.

President Buhari also congratulated the cadets “for persevering through the one year of intensive training”.

“As law enforcement officers, I expect that you have attained high endurance level and the intellectual capacity to investigate and facilitate EFCC’s prosecutorial powers.

“I have great confidence in you,” he told the graduands.

In his remarks, Magu revealed that the EFCC was developing its Statement of Strategy for 2020 to 2025, in line with the five pillars of National Anti-Corruption Strategy.

He noted that this was preceded by an earlier strategic plan which was successfully implemented.

The EFCC boss said the commission, with the support of development partners, has built one of the best investigative laboratories in West Africa.

This, according to him, has aided investigators and prosecutors in achieving accuracy and deployment of incontrovertible evidence in courts.

Magu also identified communication as key to the overall success of the organisation’s activities.
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