EFCC recovers N251bn in 16 months ― Magu

...as assets of politicians, public officials to be made public henceforth …impounds N10bn suspected criminal funds

The chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu on Thursday said that the Commission had recovered a sum of N251 billion cash and multi-million dollar worth of jewelries between January 2018 and first quarter of this year.

The EFCC boss stated this in Abuja yesterday when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes on 2019 budget defence.

According to him, “the break down include: N11.5 bn final forfeiture (cash and accounts); N133.8 bn non-forfeiture recoveries; N8.92 billion direct deposits; N38.64 bn tax recoveries; N4.30 bn fuel subsidy recoveries and N42 bn banks (third party).

“This is in addition to recoveries of assets as jewelries (gold), various sums in other currencies and cash for major government agencies including NNPC, FIRS and AMCON.”

“In the first quarter 2019 financial year, the Commission made recoveries which included: Cash – N140.7 million; Direct Depot sits – N2.02billion; Tax recoveries – N7.20 billion; Subsidy recoveries – N3.06 billion and $292 million,” Magu explained.

On 2019 budget, Magu disclosed that the commission required a total sum of N22.071 billion in 2019 against the sum of N26.396 billion approved in 2018.”

He however observed that the capital expenditure of N15.196 billion was reduced to N3.978 billion in the executive summary submitted by the Executive to the Legislature.

According to him, “the sum of N2.02 billion is for payment of outstanding liabilities to Julius Berger arising from certificate Nos. 28, 29 and 30; N1.5 billion cost over runs on new head office complex; N.299 billion for liabilities for consultancy (New head office); N.47 billion for purchase of security equipment (ammunitions) and N1.1 billion for furnishing of the new head office, among others.

Magu also disclosed plans to increase salaries and allowances of 970 additional staff approved for recruitment, who were to be fully enrolled on the personnel cost platform in 2019.

This, according to him, ” comprises 332 Assistant Detective Superintendents, 293 Assistant Detective Inspectors currently undergoing training at NDA Kaduna and support staff that recently joined the services of the Commission”.

This came just at it was disclosed yesterday before the Committee that the assets of all public officials and senior political office holders will soon be open for public consumption

The Director of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU, Alhaji Modibo Hainah-Tukuh disclosed this when he appeared before the Committee.

He stated that this was par of the conditions for lifting the suspension of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) by the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units,.

While briefing the committee on the activities of the NFIU, the director said the suspension, which was lifted in September 2018 was based on certain conditions that must be met by the country.

He pointed out the Egmont Group would want the NFIU to work closely with other agencies of government in fighting terrorism, financial crimes and other related offences.

According to him, “with the lifting of the suspension, it is likely that all assets of all leaders, public officials and political office holders will be displayed. They want to see us work with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC)

“They want us to work closely with the presidency, Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). They want to see the assets of all public officials displayed publicly.

“We believe that NEITI and CAC are doing a good job, but it will be good that the beneficiary owner data base will be domiciled with the CCB, and we will subscribe; because CCB has assets declarations of all public officers.”

The Director further hinted that after the suspension was lifted, they faced the task of EU listing, which was targeted at blacklisting Nigeria and stop all her transactions overseas involving European countries and that they were able to block the blacklisting but the EU listing subjected Nigeria to enhanced due diligence in all transactions concerning all EU countries on suspicious transactions through their own agencies within their jurisdiction.

Hamman-Tukur disclosed that the concerns raised by the EU include terrorism, kidnapping and corruption.

He explained that the “NFIU being a new body and in line with its mandate and to ensure information and data backup and enhance the confidentiality of the information in the NFIU, which has over time been one of the major concerns of the FATF and EGMONT Group of FIU’s.”

He disclosed that the NFIU had a total budget of N1.185 billion in 2018 made up of N385.310 million as personnel cost, N600 million as overhead while N200 million was for capital cost.

According to him, “the capital release to date stands at N174.946 million out of the budgeted amount of N200.1 million, adding that utilization percentage stands at about 12 percent while the balance stands at N154.936 million.

On the 2019 budget, he disclosed that a total of N8.244 billion has been proposed, which was made up of N1.154 billion for overhead cost, N4.124 billion as capital cost while N2.865 billion was for personnel cost.

He explained that despite the fact the government has financial constraints due to dwindling revenue; the NFIU needed to carry out its role of monitoring financial institutions for compliance as empowered by the NFIU act of 2018.

Speaking, the Chairman of the Committee, Hon Rotimi Oladele reiterated the committee’s support for the sustenance of the war against corruption in whatever form by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration and transformation of EFCC into world-class anti-graft institution.

The Chairman assured that the issue of inadequate funding or non release of funds would become a thing of the past as the Parliament would do everything humanly possible to address this squarely.

In addition, he commended the synergy between the Executive and Legislature towards the completion of the 10 storey office building constructed for the commission, which he observed was abandoned by the Goodluck Jonathan administration.

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