Fidelity bank banner Bayelsa State banner
EFCC walking the talk against corruption, By Prince Nwaeze Onu

By News Express on 19/05/2017

Share on facebook Yahoo mail icon Gmail icon Share on Google+

Views: 843

•Nwaeze Onu.
•Nwaeze Onu.

Never in the history of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has the job of fighting corruption been more pivotal than now. The EFCC and its work has, in the past couple of years, assumed such a central position in the scheme of things in Nigeria that one may be forgiven if he mistakes it for a parallel government.  Nigerians have been riveted with revelations of monumental sleaze by politicians, civil servants and military leaders. Many are now asking where the EFCC was while all the looting was taking place. Couldn’t they have done more to prevent it?

Under the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Establishment Act 2004, the commission is empowered to prevent, investigate, prosecute and penalise economic and financial crimes. It also has the responsibility of enforcing the provisions of other laws and regulations relating to economic and financial crimes. It will appear, however, that the commission has neglected the preventive aspect of its mandate and been more focused on the investigative and prosecutorial aspects. EFCC agents tend to get involved only after a crime has been committed. It is a truism, however, that prevention of a disease is better than its cure. Could the neglect of its duty to prevent the commission of economic and financial crimes be as a result of inadequate resources? Is EFCC adequately staffed, equipped and funded to carry out the onerous duties placed on it by the law? Does the staff have the requisite skills and training to fight graft in an increasingly complex global economic and financial system?

It would appear that the anti-graft agency, since inception, has been grossly underfunded. To its credit, however, it has continued to achieve commendable results, in spite of this. In the words of Femi Falana (SAN): “With a few investigators and prosecutors working under a hostile environment, the EFCC has almost performed miracles.” For instance, the commission achieved an increased rate of convictions over the years and made huge recoveries of stolen funds and the proceeds thereof. It was 87 convictions in 2012 and 117 in 2013. A year later, it was 126.78 in 2015 and 200 in 2016. The body is projected to record its greatest assets’ recoveries in 2016 and 2017. It has also won commendations and recognition by international bodies and crime-fighting agencies in other countries.

Over the years, annual budgetary allocation to the agency has declined in comparison to its increasing and more complex responsibilities. Inadequate funding has, in turn, adversely affected the agency’s infrastructural development, size and quality of staff and, invariably, limited the scope of its activities. Fighting graft in a notoriously corrupt society is always going to be a herculean task. Doing so in a country of over 180 million people, with over 60 per cent living below poverty line, is even more arduous. Ironically, it is the corrupt political class that crafts the anti-corruption laws and policies. It is, therefore, not entirely difficult to understand their seeming reluctance to adequately fund the EFCC. A government’s commitment to fighting corruption is measured by the amount of resources it allocates to the agency for this purpose. In 2014, the EFCC asked for N21 billion, but was given only N10.2 billion for capital expenditure, overhead and personnel. Same was the case in 2015 with a N10.4 billion allocation. 2016 witnessed a dramatic increase with a budgetary allocation of N18.8 billion, signalling the present government’s anti-corruption stance. This increase, as significant as it may seem, in real terms still falls short. Corruption is an endemic force and is debilitating in any society. All over the world, it takes great resources to fight the scourge. The USA and United Kingdom spare no resources in checking corruption. The United Kingdom, for instance, spent over 20 million pounds sterling to prosecute former governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori, for money laundering. China is another country that is waging a high-profile war against corruption and budgets huge resources every year for this purpose. And the scale and spread of corruption in those countries is nothing in comparison to what obtains in Nigeria.

In addition to the EFCC Establishment Act 2004, the EFCC is also charged with the responsibility of enforcing the provisions of other laws and regulations relating to economic and financial crimes, namely: The Money Laundering Act 1995; The Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2004; The Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 1995; The Failed Banks (Recovery of Debts) and Financial Malpractices in Banks Act 1994 and, The Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act 1991. Seeing that its remit is this wide, it beggars belief that the agency is given so little resources to accomplish its mandate. It is futile sending a farmer out to the fields without the tools needed for the work. At a budget defence hearing at the Senate in 2016, Senator Hamma Misau, remarked: “We cannot claim to fight corruption without properly equipping the EFCC.” This is so true.

For 2017, EFCC’s proposal to spend N18.7 billion was reduced to N17 billion by the Budget Office, as contained in the 2017 Appropriation Bill already passed by the National Assembly. In the light of the agency’s determination to complete the ongoing construction of its head office in Abuja this year, one would have expected the National Assembly to match or better the N18.8 billion allocated to the EFCC in 2016. In the event that this is not the case, the Presidency will do well to accommodate the needs of the EFCC in a supplementary budget proposal. As Ibrahim Magu, the chairman of the commission has pointed out, failure to increase funding to the agency will greatly hamper its work. The chairman has particularly called on the Senate Committee on Anti-corruption and Financial Crimes to increase its personnel allocation from N7 billion to N9.7 billion to accommodate a proposed recruitment of 750 cadets in 2017 and the 530 already recruited in 2016. It is only to be expected that with the volume and complexity of responsibility thrust on the agency, there is a need for it to boost its staff strength with the addition of more specialist personnel. An addition of 750 personnel to the current 2,173 will leave the EFCC with a staff strength of less than 3,000, which is largely inadequate. Some current staff need to be retrained to work at putting in place mechanisms for preventing institutional or systemic corruption, and in investigating and prosecuting particular crimes like money laundering, which is still a new and emerging concept in crime-fighting. There is need for the EFCC to broaden its ICT infrastructure, upgrade its forensic laboratory and generally increase the surveillance tools and operational vehicles. The agency will also need to apply more funds in specific areas of its operations, especially as has been suggested by Falana.

Right now, the concern of members of the National Assembly should be how to ensure that the EFCC is adequately funded, and not the arcane issue of who heads the agency. That is, if it is indeed our sincere desire to fight corruption in Nigeria. EFCC needs more hands, with requisite skills, to do battle against an increasing array of complex financial crimes. To tackle institutional and systemic corruption, as existing for example, in the Judiciary, the agency needs to enlist the services of specially-trained personnel capable of enthroning an anti-corruption system. It is foolhardy to arm the EFCC with cutlasses and hoes to do battle with looters and cheats armed with AK47 riffles. It is not enough for the government to pronounce war against corruption as a cardinal programme, it must do more in practical terms, to win the war. The government must necessarily walk the talk against corruption. It is only when the commission is well- and fully-funded for its activities that we can truly chorus their slogan: “EFCC will get you anywhere, anytime.”

Nwaeze Onu is of nationalpathfindernewspaper@gmail.com 

Source News Express

Posted 19/05/2017 12:20:02 PM

 

Share on facebook Yahoo mail icon Gmail icon Share on Google+


 

CLASSIFIED ADS

REVEALED: 3 natural ways to get stronger erections, last 25 minutes on bed, and increase manhood size without using drugs. Also, Natural Prostrate Enlargement Remedy.. Get In HERE...

 

You may also like...
Battle-ready Police, Army, Navy, DSS and NDLEA raid...

Army set to deploy troops to Ogun State...

Ayuba Wabba’s NLC

KANO BOMBING BARBARIC and CONDEMNABLE —Obi

APC tasks Jonathan’s govt. over resignation of South...

Gunmen storm lawmaker’s residence

Governor Ikpeazu congratulates Senator Orji on tribunal victory,...

El-Rufai gives tanker drivers ultimatum to vacate Kaduna...

Forgery Case: Melaye alleges plots to doctor police...

Niger Delta militants cut OPEC output

Osinbajo’s office breaks silence on alleged nepotism

Gunmen attack Edo Deputy Governor in Gov. Oshiomhole’s...

 

Latest News Gunmen abduct, gang-rape 5 activists at gunpoint UPDATE: DSS Operatives storm Senator Abaribe's Abuja home 9 Shiite members in police net over killing of policeman Judge’s withdrawal stalls Innoson’s arraignment 2 siblings docked over alleged kidnap of 3-year-old boy Police lied; we didn’t attack anyone — Islamic Movement of Nigeria 14 docked for cultism, arms possession in Ogun Oyo Govt seals 50 companies over non-payment of tax Court refuses to order forfeiture of funds in accounts without BVN Don’t allow politicians to use you, CJN advises judges Buhari salutes Super Eagles over their victory against Iceland, urges them to defeat Argentina Atiku visits PDP Secretariat, reiterate commitment towards a better Nigeria

 

Most Read Nigerian female sex addict opens up, says ‘I like it with both men and women’ (352,621 views) NUDE PHOTO OF OMOTOLA JALADE-EKEINDE surfaces online (352,195 views) Shameless Genevieve Nnaji exposes breasts in public (280,584 views) Finally named: The full list of friends of Nigerian female sex addict who prowled Facebook (230,355 views) Igbo scholar disgraces Femi Fani-Kayode •Demolishes claims on Igbo/Yoruba history with facts and figures (209,233 views) OLUMBA OLUMBA OBU (the one who called himself God) IS DEAD (209,043 views) Breaking News: POPULAR REVEREND CONVERTS TO ISLAM in Kaduna (Nigeria) (182,025 views) OBJ’s son reported dead in Lagos plane crash •Names of more victims emerge (164,173 views) THE FINAL DISGRACE: Igbo scholar unleashes more facts about Igbo/Yoruba history, finishes off Femi Fani-Kayode with second article (154,035 views) My wasted years in Olumba Olumba Obu’s Evil Brotherhood (148,802 views) Lagos plane crash: Journalist releases victims’ names (144,010 views) Gunmen kill ASP, 2 other police officers in vain bid to kidnap Rivers PDP chieftain (135,797 views)

 

Categories Advertorials (3) African Press Organisation (81) Art & Literature (50) Business & Economy (3,263) Business Verdict (44) Columnists (871) Complaints & Requests (94) Enterprise & Opportunities (207) Entertainment (505) Features (607) Global Business Monitor (284) International (2,047) Interview (155) Live Commentary (28) Love Matters (124) News (36,411) Opinion (1,005) Pidgin (10) Politics (5,304) Religion (772) Sports (1,557) Stock Watch (30) AMA & Al Jazeera Global Update

 

CBN banner

Firstmobile banner

 

 

NEWS EXPRESS TV

Argentina vs Croatia Goals

 

APO Group Partner

 

 

CLASSIFIED ADS

GOCOP Accredited Member

GOCOP Accredited member

 

 

Africa Media Agency and Al Jazeera

Advertisement