Dogara while speaking with newspaper editors in Abuja, last Saturday, said he was shocked by the monumental looting of the treasury in the past, citing the discovery of billions of looted fund buried in a farm in Abuja.
He explained that operatives of anti-graft agencies had been busy moving the cash out of the farm.
Dogara said he had never heard of such impunity in which people “stole for the sake of stealing,” decrying the latest antics of suspected looters to bury their loot in farmland. But in his words he added, “But, if I am just arrested, charged to court and maybe some money recovered from me and, at the end of the day, nothing happens, a lot of people may not be deterred in the future from engaging in corrupt practices... If you look at the massive looting of the treasury, I never could have imagined the scale of corruption that we are witnessing right now, where people took lot of money running into billions and buried them in farms... As we are speaking now, they are recovering monies from someone’s farm somewhere around Abuja. It is very unfortunate where people stole money just for the sake of stealing.”
In addition he opinned, “If you were the one in charge of fighting corruption, you would have even been shocked by the scale of the problem. I guess part of the problem we have is that the scale of the problem far outweighs the anticipation of the agencies. So, if care is not taken, we may not get things right in the process. They will have to keep their heads level to be able to be in charge of the fight and to do it effectively.”
“If you look at what it has done so far, there is even a discussion as to whether or not they are proceeding in the right direction and whether or not it is not time for us to sit down and do an assessment of how the fight has been, in view of the fact that in the last one year, I do not think there has been any major conviction... It has always been a case of this person has been arrested and detained and some things have been done or he has been charged to court and then the story ends there. If we continue like this, only God knows if we will succeed in fighting corruption... If the end is just to arrest people, charge them to court and thereafter nothing happens; no one is convicted; because conviction, even if you are not jailed, has a way of deterring people... The fact that you are carrying that negative appellation as a former convict has the potential to deter people from corruption in the future.”
“If we are talking about corruption, naturally, it will relate to those that had opportunity to serve in government. You will recall that, especially that the PDP had been in power for a number of years, more than a decade and if you were to weigh members of opposition that are in government now and had opportunity to serve, those that would have tendencies to engage in pilfering of resources, majority will come from PDP, except we are not being realistic." “Though we can’t claim that all the members of APC are saints – you pointed out that APC spent money in the course of the campaign – where did this money come from? Because as it is, we haven’t really had any facts about government officials forwarding money to the cause of the campaign! Majority of the money that was stolen was channeled towards the PDP campaign.
“You know the arms purchase monies, for instance, virtually everything was given for the prosecution of PDP campaign. I do not think a dime went to any member of the APC; we were all in government then. I can’t remember a discussion like that then. I knew when some of the funds were being given to some of our friends as well but, I believe that no one that is of APC stock was given that money. The whole thing was scripted.
“I don’t think the fight has really been one-sided. If you recall, one of the closest aides to the president, I don’t want to name him, if you recall when he was picked up, everyone was shocked that the man could be picked up. He had been one of the most dutiful, yet he wasn’t spared when evidence was adduced that he benefitted from it and he had to refund the money."
“Recently, one of the closest people to the Villa was, as well, picked up. He has been detained and questioned; some recoveries were made from him. If the intention was that the fight should be one-sided, I can guarantee you that if it were to be a case that would have sacred cows, those two amply qualify as sacred cows that should not be touched."
“The Speaker added that if there was anybody in the APC government that perpetrated corruption and had not been dealt with, it could be that there was no evidence before the government, adding that “I know there will be more that will come under serious searchlight of the anti-graft agencies and it doesn’t matter where they are.”