The Presidency yesterday put a question mark over the criteria used by the Transparency International, the anti-corruption watchdog, to rank Nigeria the 148th least corrupt in the world.
Aso Rock Villa dismissed as “very misleading and unfair” the conclusion reached by the TI in its assessment of the Federal Government’s anti-corruption crusade.
Reacting to the TI annual report on corruption released on Wednesday,the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President,Mallam Garba Shehu,while government welcomes constructive criticisms from the anti-corruption watchdog, the organisation has a responsibility to reflect the larger picture of the concrete and verifiable achievements of the Buhari administration since it came into office in May 2015.
“Political will is the first major component of fighting corruption in any country and President Buhari has made a huge difference by demonstrating not only the political will, but also the extraordinary courage to go after high profile looters, including former military service chiefs and judges,” Shehu said in a statement in Abuja.
He added: “It was once unthinkable to touch or prosecute the ‘big men’ for corruption in Nigeria, but President Buhari has ended impunity for corruption.
“Today, the Buhari administration has made accountability the bedrock of governance and corruption is no longer fashionable because it attracts consequences.
“Blocking leakages for corruption through the rigid enforcement of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) had made life tougher for corrupt officials. He regretted that these efforts were not acknowledged by the corruption Watchdog.
“Figures published by the EFCC, the anti-corruption agency, reveal that N738.9 billion was recovered in just two years of the Buhari administration and this impressive and unprecedented record is worthy of mention and acknowledgement by anybody genuinely looking at the larger picture of the country’s progress in the war against corruption.
“During the 7th session of the Conference of State Parties to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption in Vienna, Austria, the chairman of the agency, Ibrahim Magu, noted that the figure represents $2.9 billion dollars.
“Besides these impressive recoveries of looted funds, the EFCC has recorded more than 140 successful prosecutions.
“The Federal Government has also signed international agreements to recover the proceeds of corruption and to block the laundering of stolen assets abroad by public officials.
“Anybody who knows where Nigeria was coming from would not believe that corruption is worse under the Buhari administration.”
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