882 Nigerian fraudsters convicted within 300 days

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The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 disclosed that the agency earned a record of 882 convictions between January and October this year.

Magu made the disclosure as he defended the Commission’s  2020 budget of N30.921billion before the Senate Committee on Anti-corruption and Financial Crimes.

Though the year has not ended, the conviction figure in the meantime, represents over 200 per cent improvement on the  312 convictions recorded last year.

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Speaking further on the notable achievements of the Commission in the current fiscal year, the EFCC boss disclosed that between January and September 2019, the Commission made monetary recoveries on behalf of both the federal government and  third parties in the following sums : N64,721,161,510.01 (Sixty Four Billion, Seven Hundred and Twenty One Million, One Hundred and Sixty One Thousand, Five Hundred and Ten Naira, One Kobo), $14,030,512.32 (Fourteen Million, Thirty Thousand, Five Hundred and Twelve Dollars, Thirty Two Cents), £4,644,493.00 (Four Million, Six Hundred and Forty Four Thousand, Four Hundred and Ninety Three Pounds), €53,325.00 (Fifty Three Thousand, Three Hundred and Twenty Five Euros).

Magu also noted the crucial role the Commission played in assisting the country secure a temporary reprieve in the $9.6billion Process and Industrial Developments Limited (P&ID) arbitral award against Nigeria by a UK commercial court, which he said followed the Commission’s investigation and consequent arraignment of P&ID Limited and P&ID Nigeria Limited on charges of fraud, intent to defraud and dealing in petroleum product without license, to which their representatives pleaded guilty to the charges, leading to a court closure of the companies and the forfeiture of their properties to the federal government.

He further revealed that the EFCC’s collaboration with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI in a joint operation, tagged: “Operation Rewired,” which was a coordinated effort to disrupt Business Email Compromise (BEC) schemes, designed to intercept and hijack wire transfers from businesses and individuals, resulted in the seizure of nearly $2.4 million, and the disruption and recovery of approximately $14 million in fraudulent wire transfers

Impressed by the colossal recoveries, Chairman of the committee, Sulaiman Abdu Kwari said that the federal government should perhaps consider funding the nation’s budget with the Commission’s recoveries.

A member of the committee, Senator Dayo Adeyeye noted that the Commission was fighting corruption with all seriousness, and that Nigerians are pleased with its effort.

He suggested that a portion of the funds recovered by the EFCC be channeled to the commission to augment its running cost  and further sued for an upgrade of the salaries of officers of Commission, noting that the work the Commission does exposes it staff to huge temptations.

“You are recovering money, and yet complaining of lack of money. I suggest you come up with proposal where some share of the money you recover will be channeled to you,” Senator Adeyeye stated. 

Deputy chairman of the committee, Senator Aliyu Wamako decried the N201.13miilion the Commission earmarked for hiring of legal services as low and suggested an increment on the item.

The 2020 budget figure represents a 49.26 per cent increase over the N20.715billion approved for the Commission in the current year

The Commission’s 2020 capital expenditure budget is pegged at N2.321 billion, down from the current year’s N3.008billion. Magu noted that the capital expenditure budget “is a far cry from the Commission’s needs assessment and its strategic plan for 2020 and beyond.”

On capital expenditures, he disclosed that the Commission intended to commence the development of the permanent site of its training academy at Kwandare, near Lafia in an effort to further enhance its  capacity. 

The Commission’s other areas in need of substantial deployment of funds include: the take-off of the proposed EFCC Radio which it already has an operating licence; a complete rehabilitation of the Commission’s Lagos Zonal Office at   Awolowo Road, Ikoyi; construction of permanent offices in Uyo, Benin, Makurdi and Ilorin zones, where the Commission is currently occupying rented properties.

As it is in the current year, next year’s overhead cost is pegged at N3.600billion. Given that only N1.500billion has been released out of the sum in the current year’s budget, Magu drew the attention of the Senate Committee members on the need to improve the Commission’s overhead cost funding in view of EFCC’s head office building maintenance, local travels and tours of its oficers, insurance premium (group life, fire & peril), legal services, motor vehicle fuel cost, publicity and advertisements.

The EFCC boss revealed that out of N20.715billion approved for the Commission in 2019, only a total of N11.098billion has been released, representing 53.57 per cent of total appropriation. 

He further revealed  that while zero naira has been released for the Commission out of the N3.008billion approved for its 2019 capital budget, N9.657billion has been released out of the N14.106billion, approved foritspersonnel cost and N1.95billion out of the N3.600billion approved for overhead, totaling N11.098billion, so far.

                                      Wilson Uwujaren

                                   Head, Media & Publicity

                                      22 October, 2019    

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