The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has recovered 553.77 million Naira from corrupt politicians in South East Nigeria.

A large chunk of the money recovered - 442.5 million Naira - was gotten from top members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which lost in the 2015 presidential election.

The figure was given on Tuesday by the Zonal Head of Operations of the commission, Mr Johnson Babalola, at a press conference in Enugu.

It was held to inform the public of the activities of the commission in the past 7 months.

He said that the recovered funds were part of the public funds the PDP illegally appropriated to itself to prosecute the 2015 general elections in the zone.

The commission recovered 300 million Naira, 82.5 million Naira and 60 million Naira from chieftains of the party in Ebonyi, Abia and Enugu States respectively.

“We have recovered 300 million Naira out of 400 million Naira in Ebonyi. In Abia, we recovered 82.5 million Naira out of 450 million Naira while we got 60 million Naira in Enugu out of 450 million Naira," he stated, giving a breakdown of the amount recovered.

The zonal head also explained that executive members of the PDP in Abia were under investigation for their alleged complicity in the 2015 campaign fund fraud.

“Recovering stolen funds from politically exposed persons is not easy. The people we are dealing with take painstaking efforts to perfect the fraud.

“Some of the money had left the shores of this country and we have written the foreign countries from here,” he told reporters.

Babalola insisted that the stolen funds must be returned to the Federal Government coffers.

“We have discovered some of the bogus projects used by the corrupt politicians to corner the stolen funds and very soon we shall come out with our findings.

“However, we are facing some challenges in Anambra and Imo but the commission is working on them,” he further explained.

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The commission has also concluded plans to prosecute all staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Imo, Anambra and Enugu found culpable as soon as the courts resumed from vacation.

“Within the period, we received a total of 503 petitions from Nigerians out of which 333 were approved for investigation while others not under our the purview of the EFCC were referred to sister agencies.

“We charged 88 of such cases to court and have so far obtained five convictions,” he said.

According to Babalola, the judiciary has been of immense help in line with its constitutional mandate in spite of the antics of the suspects.

“Some of them have sued us for fundamental rights violations and enforcement but the judiciary has been cooperating with us.

“We have not been found to have impugned on the rights of others,” he added.

Several recoveries have been made in the fight against corruption, with some recoveries aided by whistle blowers' information.

Meanwhile, Nigeria's economy is not smiling and more Nigerians are leaving the country, taking the dangerous road journey to Europe. 

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