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Published On: Sun, Feb 7th, 2016

We Lack Evidence to Prosecute Deziani Madueke, Others, Buhari Complains

Muhammadu Buhari and Allison-Mmadueke

Muhammadu Buhari and Allison-Mmadueke

LAGOS FEBRUARY 7TH (URHOBOTODAY)-President Muhammadu Buhari has blamed his government’s inability to prosecute those accused of stealing the nation’s wealth, especially in the petroleum sector, to ‘lack of evidence’.
Speaking in London, United Kingdom, in an exclusive interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reporter, Mr. Peter Okwoche, after attending a conference on the ongoing Syrian crisis, Buhari said there was no way he could go ahead to prosecute the ongoing war against corruption successfully without having genuine evidence to support the prosecution of such cases.

In what is considered a veiled reference to the immediate past Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Deizani Alison-Madueke, and others, Buhari said government’s agencies are currently digging for such evidence and documents which they consider very vital for successful prosecution. President Buhari said, “The battle against corruption, particularly in the petroleum has not been successful because of lack of evidence. We are gathering those documents because to prosecute corruption successfully, we need evidence.
That’s not easy, especially in petroleum sector, and that is why we have not achieved much in the sector.” The President said that gathering such evidence takes time and some of those accused of tampering with state funds have carefully concealed their assets, making it difficult for detectives. He, however, expressed optimism that he will win the war against corruption for the benefit of the whole country.
The President, from inception, has threatened to prosecute all those who dipped their hand into the nation’s wealth for private use.
In particular, the APC government, since May 2015, has vowed to probe Alison-Madueke, especially on allegation of over $20 billion allegedly missing from the coffers of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
Former Central Bank Governor, and now Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, had raised the alarm in the past years that money got missing under Alison- Madueke, leading to an inquiry by the National Assembly. An audit report by PricewaterhouseCoopers on the alleged missing $20 billion oil money, was said to have confirmed in the first instance that at least $18.5 billion was indeed missing.
Since May 2015 when the current government came on board, it has made the anti-corruption war its preoccupation, claiming to be in possession of vital evidence about the quantum of money stolen by several politicians running into trillions of Naira.
The recent questioning by of Alison- Madueke in London during her treatment for cancer had heightened fears about her culpability.
Besides the alleged theft of oil money, scores of political and military leaders have been arrested for various acts of corruption including the diversion of the $2.1billion weapons fund.
On outcry that he has been selective in the pursuit of the anti-graft war, Buhari said that Nigerians should furnish him with information about anyone in his government or even his party, the APC, who has been involved in any act of corruption and he will ensure that such person is dealt with. “Nigerians have the hobby of criticising people and making allegations.
But if anyone has any evidence of any allegation against any of my of my cabinet members of party the APC, he should provide such evidence and I will act upon it,” he said.
On whether he has defeated Boko Haram, the President said he has recorded a major victory against it, stating that unlike what happened before he assumed office, when the insurgents took over 14 local governments and hoisted their flags, that has become history.
“I said they have been tactically defeated because we have been able to recover the 14 local governments out of the 774 in the country.
For six years, the past administration could not reclaim those councils from the insurgents, but we did that in less than six months in office. That was a feat,” he said.

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