The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has appealed to the World Bank Group for the sum of $42.12 million to enable it use for the completion of its permanent site in Abuja. Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Magu, disclosed that the approval of the money would go a long way in enabling the agency achieve more successes.
Mr Magu said at the moment, the EFCC carries out its operations in rented offices scattered around town, exposing the commission to risk of confidentiality and coded surveillance by outsiders. The EFCC boss, while receiving the Director of Governance Global Practice at the World Bank, Mr Ed Olowo-Okere, in his office in Abuja on Thursday, acknowledged the great assistance the commission had been receiving from the World Bank and other development partners saying, “The assistance has in no small measure contributed to the successes recorded by the EFCC so far.”
“When we started the EFCC, there was no money. We borrowed money from Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) for effective take-off of our operations.
“When the international community saw the sincerity in us, how we were able to arrest and put in cell those high profile criminals that nobody dared to touch before, they got convinced by our commitment towards prosecuting the anti-corruption war,” he said further.
Mr Magu noted that, “We got a lot of attention from development partners particularly the World Bank, who gave us a lot of money that was used to construct the EFCC Academy. Britain and America too are also of tremendous support.” He expressed concern over the delay usually experienced in dispensing corruption cases and the conspiracy (in some cases) between the criminals and judicial workers/law enforcement agents to make violators of law escape justice, citing the case of a former governor of Adamawa State who was set free with the connivance of a prison warder and court registrar after being convicted by court.
Expressing the passion the EFCC has for the war against corruption, Mr Magu said, “EFCC needs training in money laundering as it is still a new concept which most judges and prosecutors still need to better understand”. The anti-graft czar also informed the delegation of the low budgetary allocation to EFCC expressing his desire to have the construction work on the Commission’s permanent site completed this year for effective performance. Mr Magu, while commending President Muhammadu Buhari for making corruption fight a cardinal focus of his administration said, “the proposal of $42.12 million made to the World Bank, if gotten will go a long way in the completion of our permanent site as most of our offices are rented and scattered around town, exposing us to risk of confidentiality and coded surveillance by outsiders.”
Other needs listed by the EFCC boss included, ICT infrastructure, upgrading of the forensic laboratory, surveillance tools and operational vehicles. In his remarks, Mr Olowo-Okere said the global financial institution would provide support to the anti-graft agency in the area of infrastructure and capacity building to further strengthen the anti-graft war in Nigeria. Acknowledging the tremendous work of the EFCC and the feat it had attained in the last 14 years of its establishment, he said the World Bank would ensure it supports the agency in any area possible to further enhance its operations.