Senator Victor Lar, Chairman Senate Committee on Drugs, Narcotics, Financial Crimes and Anti-Corruption has commended the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for the number of convictions it secured in 2013. He made the remark Thursday at the 2014 Budget defense of the EFCC. The Commission recorded a total of 117 convictions in 2013. An elated Lar said the record is significant in the face of the erroneous perception by some persons that the Commission was not doing much. “The 117 convictions is a very good record. We hope that the Commission will put in more efforts” he said.
Lar expressed the National Assembly’s resolve to work with the Commission to make it more effective. To this end, he restated the Committee’s willingness to amend the Commission’s enabling law to enable the agency keep a percentage of its recoveries. “We are ready to work with your Commission to amend the laws. Probably to insert a provision so that a percentage of money recovered can be ploughed back into the operations of the Commission. These things are not done by board resolution, they are legislative activities. Maybe will need to repeat that We are ready to work with the Commission to see how we can amend and improve the enabling act to enhance your capabilities to deliver on your mandate.” he posited.
The Senate Committee chairman also commended the Commission for its decorous and civil media strategy as against the past when people were tried and convicted in the media. “Fortunately the incidence of media trial is going down…” he noted.
However, Lar challenged the Commission to look into the activities of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC where several billions of dollars are alleged to be missing.
Ibrahim Lamorde, chairman of the Commission who presented a budget of estimate of N21billion for 2014 as against the N10.2billion approved by the Budget office, reaffirmed the independence of the EFCC, citing the prosecution of sons of prominent leaders of the ruling political party as evidence. “We are prosecuting the sons of Bamanga Tukur, the immediate past chairman of PDP and the son of Ahmadu Ali, also a former chairman of PDP in the subsidy case,” he said. Lamorde assured the Senate Committee members that the Commission will look into the NNPC issue at the appropriate time, adding that it was important for the senate to be allowed to conclude its investigation.
The EFCC boss assured the Committee members that the Commission will not rest on its laurels as it is set to secure more convictions in 2014. “By the rate will are going, we are looking at securing 150 convictions in 2014, already we have secured 30 Convictions in the months of January and February 2014”.
The EFCC proposals for 2014 include the sum of 11,237,882,372.28 as capital expenditure against 1,399,320,000.00 proposed by the Budget Office, leaving a difference of 9,838,562,372.28. In all, the Commission proposed a total of N21, 058.864, 600.20 while the Budget Office approved 10,245,369,170.00, leaving a shortfall of N10, 813,495,430.20
Media & Publicity (efcc)
27th February, 2014