18 — Vanguard, MONDAY, APRIL 9, 2018 THE discrepancies that have emerged over the exact figures of funds and worth of assets recovered so far by the anti-graft agencies, especially the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, are becoming worrisome. The EFCC under its Acting Chairman, Mr Ibrahim Magu, is in the habit of reporting its fund recoveries in the media. For instance, in November 2017, Magu peddled the sum of N739 billion (over two billion US Dollars) as the amount recovered in the first two years of his stewardship. In February this year, it claimed that it recovered over N500 billion in 2017 alone. But in a letter issued on February 9, 2018, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, said records available to the Office of the Accountant- General of the Federation, OAGF, had only N91.4 billion as amounts recovered since 2015. In that letter, EFCC should not hold on to recovered funds Adeosun requested the EFCC to clarify where the cash recoveries were deposited, with documentary evidence. We not only support that the truth behind these discrepant figures be ascertained, we recommend that the EFCC and all other anti-graft agencies should no longer keep custody of funds and property recovered. They should be handed over to the appropriate authorities which are constitutionally mandated to hold the nation’s assets or directly to the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, for eventual onward transmission to the Federation Account when all legal issues surrounding them have been discharged. It is totally unacceptable that the Federal Ministry of Finance, FMoF, is in the dark about amounts recovered from those who allegedly pillaged the nation’s treasury. It is also baffling that two departments of the same government should have different figures as recovered amounts. It could be an indication that something funny might be going on in between. We should always be guided by our past experiences. There is no reason for the EFCC to continue to hold on to recovered funds when the Commission has not yet clarified the truth or falsehood of an allegation that its immediate past Chairman, Mr Ibrahim Lamorde, “diverted” N2.05 trillion recovered funds. A security expert, Mr George Uboh, who had blown this whistle on the former EFCC boss, had even dragged the matter before the Senate in August 2015 but somehow, the issue has mysteriously fizzled out. Commonsense and propriety demand that recovered funds should be handled with utmost care and transparency such that members of the public to whom the funds belong would easily track what is being recovered and how it is being spent. It is this lack of transparency and accountability that is brewing allegations of recovered funds being “re-looted” by public officials. If we are to make progress in arresting endemic corruption in Nigeria, the anti-graft war must be totally depoliticised and re-jigged. By Sufuyan Ojeifo I PERSONALLY consider the timing of the apology rendered by the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, through its national chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, for the party’s past mistakes while in power, to be wrong. It was a case of a right action coming at the wrong time. The apology should have strategically come at the point of inauguration of a new government, after it must have successfully defeated President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 presidential election. By that time, the nation must have been ready for the party's new offerings. That would have been the best time to advert the attention of Nigerians to those things that might be considered as mistakes during its 16-year rule from 1999 to 2015 and seize the momentum of the celebrations to promise that never again will it repeat such mistakes now that it has been given a second chance to govern the nation. The apology of March 26, 2018 at a public national discourse on Contemporary Governance in Nigeria was an imprudent own goal that has caused it a collateral damage. Reason is that it provided an opportunity for an almost comatose All Progressives Congress , APC , which had lost its momentum in running the opposition’s gauntlet in recent times, to suddenly find its voice. The APC tried to strike a rhythmical chord, even if tentative, in the haze of its internal contradictions, confusions and crises. Its offering in the circumstance was that Nigerians should not accept PDP’s apology. The APC was trying to appropriate the triumphal edge in a battle in which it has been roundly pummeled. The PDP publicists, under the command of the veteran journalist-turned-politician, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, have doubled down the party’s publicity machinery in the campaign to deconstruct and pooh-pooh the APC-controlled Federal Government and President Muhammadu Buhari’s OPINION PDP and APC’s own goals in treasury looting game incongruous political and governance philosophies. They have tackled every misstep and policy inconsistency of the APC government such that the governing party had been largely beaten back in the battle for control of the people’s minds. The apology by the PDP was a breather that the APC capitalised on to forcefully rebound. And, in rebounding, its usual mantra of “looted public funds by the PDP” was deployed prestissimo for some damaging effects. The APC’s only option was to make a big issue of alleged looting of public treasury that purportedly took place under the PDP-led Federal Government, superintended by former President, Goodluck Jonathan. But instead of turning out as the governing party’s joker, the option of deploying the issue of corruption has blown up in its face as counterproductive. The reason is that corruption in public office and criminal looting of the treasury are characteristic of successive administrations. The APC administration, in that circumstance, has been unable to escape essential indictment because of the presence in its fold of allegedly corrupt former public office holders who were hitherto in the PDP. The APC thus scored an own goal by trying to assail the nation and the world with a catalogue of criminal diversions of public funds allegedly perpetrated by the PDP in the prosecution of the 2015 presidential election. By that strategic blunder, the Buhari administration confirmed the extant prejudice that it has all this while been accused of in the anti-graft war. Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, in a bid to dismantle PDP’s claim to having been reformed, rebranded and repositioned for 2019 and its generation next agenda, released a one-sided, obviously partial list of Nigerians who allegedly looted the public treasury. The first list of six persons comprised PDP leaders. The second list of 24 more persons comprised PDP leaders, former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), former ministers, former military chiefs and businessmen who executed one business or the other in the Jonathan administration, even though many of them still have their cases pending in court. Lai Mohammed, who is a lawyer, shunned the legal restraint of the matters being subjudice by declaring them as looters of public funds. He faces two risks: one is contempt It is in its place as the governing party to tackle the problems inherited and not to resort to incessant complaints about the magnitude of the rot that the PDP government left behind (contempt outside the court) while the other is civil suit of libel that those whose names had been published when they had not been indicted by any court of law can file against the Federal Government with Lai Mohammed as co-defendant. The published list did not include names of indicted looters of public treasury in the APC neither did it include the names of former PDP leaders who plundered public treasury at different times since 1999 till date but who are now sheltered in the APC. Their identities are well known to the Nigerian public. Nigerians must have been terribly scandalised by the sheer double standards exhibited by the APC government in the attempt to point a finger of guilt at the PDP as being a party of looters whereas the remaining four fingers point back at it. There is no own goal in a game of football as exemplified by this treasury-looting game that could be more lugubrious than this. The faux pas has caused the Buhari administration a collateral damage. Its socalled integrity has been damaged. The administration has unraveled as tentative and lacking strategic capital to attract and sustain the confidence of a distraught population. Rather than the cacophonous spat that the PDP’s apology has precipitated, what we should have seen happening really is a season of somberness for the APC to look back and assess its successes and failures ahead of the 2019 general elections. It should have, without the prompting of Nigerians, embarked on an audit of its campaign promises in a bid to account to the Nigerian voters who invested their mandate in its administration. Since the APC came in the saddle amid the perceived failures of the PDP to provide leadership, it is in its place as the governing party to tackle the problems inherited and not to resort to incessant complaints about the magnitude of the rot that the PDP government left behind. Buhari was elected to perform and not to complain. This is the tragedy of the Buhari administration. It has unraveled as incompetent and ineffective to adopt the essential summation of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. Its latest frenzy to make political capital out of the incongruous list of corrupt politicians, which tended to portray indicted politicians in its ranks and party as saints and perhaps untouchables, is against the run of morality, fairness and good conscience. The APC and the Buhari administration are therefore complicit in providing cover to a special breed of public treasury looters whose sins are overlooked in furtherance of some political considerations. This is an own goal by them and Nigerians are laughing at them in derision. Truth! •Mr. Ojeifo, a journalist, wrote from Abuja.
Vanguard, MONDAY, APRIL 9, 2018 — 19 CBN to intensify liquidity mop-up as inter-bank battles N1.2trn excess liquidity By Babajide Komolafe THE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is expected to intensify its liquidity mop-up operations this week to address the build up in excess liquidity in the interbank money market which rose to N1.2 trillion last week. Financial Vanguard investigations revealed that the volume of excess liquidity in the interbank money market rose by 161 percent to N1.2 trillion last week from N459.7 billion the previous week. The upsurge was triggered by inflow of N528.9 billion from matured treasury bills as well as inflow of N647 billion statutory allocation distributed to the three tiers of government by the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC). As a result, average interbank cost of funds fell by 353 basis points (bpts) to 3.8 percent. Data from FMDQ showed that cost of funds on Collateralised (Open Buy Back, OBB) lending fell by 353 bpts to 3.67 percent last week, from 7.2 percent the previous week. Similarly interest rate on Overnight lending fell by 400bpts to 4.0 percent from 8.1 percent the previous week. Reflecting the impact of the upsurge in market liquidity, treasury bills (TB) Continues on Page 20 MONDAY, APRIL 9, 2018 CORPORATE PERFORMANCE UPDATE: Earnings of 96 firms hit N7.6trn, profit up 40% •Investors lose N650bn in post-results By Peter Egwuatu & Nkiruka Nnorom THE full year 2017 (FY'17) corporate results of 96 major companies quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE have shown a significant impact of the recovery of the economy which started mid last year, with their gross earnings surging by over 22.3 percent to hit N7.6 trillion from 6.2 trillion in 2016. Financial Vanguard's inquest into the reports turned in to the NSE for 2017, indicates general upbeat in gross earnings and Profit Before Tax, PBT, with companies drawn from various sectors of the Exchange posting combined profit of N1.8 trillion, representing a huge 40 percent rise against N1.2 trillion reported in the corresponding period of 2016. The results, both the earnings and pre-tax profit of the companies, outperformed the country's average inflation figures which stood at 16.5 percent during the period under review. However, despite the impressive performance of corporates in 2017, the stock market reaction since March 2018 when the FY'17 results started trickling in, has been on the negative as the market recorded bearish trend with market capitalization dropping to N14.753 trillion at the end of trading last week Friday, from N15.403 trillion at the beginning of March. This shows that investors have lost over N650 billion within this period. Market operators and stakeholders have opined that most investors had already priced-in the full FY '17 results of companies in the stock prices during the market rally that occurred between December 2017 and January 2018. They explained that what is happening in the market now is basically an extended period of profit taking as investors are no longer interested in dividend payout, which to some are not justifiable with the earnings recorded by the companies. They further stated that the lack of clarity in the fiscal and monetary policy Continues on page 20 PoS transactions rise 39% to N297bn in 2mths PAGE.22 NSE: Bargain hunting to prevail ahead of QI‘18 earnings release PAGE 27 Investors Forum UBA Plc: Strong fundamentals may spike investors sentiments PAGE 26