BUKOLA Saraki, President of the Senate, has said that the controversy surrounding the recovery of N13.3 billion ($43.3 million) from an apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has been poorly managed by the anti-graft agency and the parties involved.
He also said the EFCC has a responsibility to tell Nigerians who the money belongs to, as it had become embarrassing that up till now there was no clarity on the ownership of the money.
Saraki’s remarks on the cash discovery were made last night on Arise News Night, a current affairs programme on Arise News Network, just as it was gathered that the EFCC has obtained a warrant from a court to search all the apartments in Osborne Towers where the cash was discovered.
The Senate President said what was presently going on was not good for the image of the country, and the National Assembly, as a last resort, might step in if the parties involved are unable to resolve it and tell Nigerians what is going on.
“I believe this is something simple that the organisation (EFCC) should manage, even before the speculation started coming out. The circus has to come to end as to whether it belongs to individuals, companies, agencies or a state government.
“We, however, believe they will sort it out and eventually tell Nigerians who owns the money. Nigerians deserve to know. The circus must stop,” he said.
He said Nigerians should not see the anti-corruption campaign of the present administration as the fight of President Muhammadu Buhari, but should be seen as a Nigerian fight, as it can only be won when viewed as an institutional issue rather than a personal one.
“I believe progress will be made faster if the process is transparent. Those are ways to strengthen institutions. When the process is transparent up to the investigative stage, people will not believe that it is because of this person that so, so, person is being prosecuted.
“Corrupt people are very patient, but with a transparent process, the fight against corruption will be won.
“On our part, we are doing all it takes to strengthen institutions. We have four bills before us, one is with the Constitution Amendment Committee, one has been taken back by the executive,” he said.
When asked if it was a failure of law enforcement that the EFCC did not monitor the Ikoyi apartment, Saraki said: “I would rather not comment and prejudge them because they might come before us.
“But clearly, Nigerians must know, to save us this embarrassment. I believe they should come out and tell us who owns the money. I believe an agency like this should monitor and clear this mess.”