The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it has arrested hundreds of suspected fraudsters and recovered various sums in different currencies in the last six months.
EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, explained that the commission has been upfront as the central agency coordinating the fight against economic crime in Nigeria, saying several successes have been recorded since he took over the leadership of the anti-graft agency.
“From the time I took over as the Executive Chairman, on the 5th of March 2021, we have recovered over N6 billion, over $161 million, over £13,000, €1,730, 200 Canadian dollars, CFA 373,000, ¥8,430 and 30 real estates.
“We have arrested over 1500 internet fraudsters, many of whom are being prosecuted,” he was quoted as saying in a post shared on the EFCC’s Facebook page on Friday.
Bawa – attributing to available records – revealed that the EFCC has well over 3,408 convictions as of August 2021, while over N6 trillion has been expended so far on the war against terrorism since 2008.
He added that about N5.4 trillion was lost to tax evasion by multinational corporations operating in the country from 2011 to 2021, stressing that this was aside from the theft of resources in the nation’s oil and gas sector.
The EFCC chief believes all hope is not lost as Nigeria, under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, has demonstrated commitment and political will in dealing with the issue of economic crimes through a number of legislative and institutional reforms.
Bawa made the remarks on Friday while presenting a paper entitled, “Combating of Crime, Corruption, and implication for Development and Security,” at the 38th Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime, according to the post by the EFCC.
His Deputy Chief of Staff, Sambo Mayana, represented him at the event organised by the Centre for International Documentation on Organised and Economic Crime (CIDOEC), Jesus College, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.
In his presentation, the EFCC boss called on leaders across the world to rise to the challenge of fighting corruption to enhance global economic development and security.
He lamented that economic and financial crimes, including corruption, which manifest in various forms in different nations, were at the core of global development and security challenges.
Citing a report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development OECD, Bawa said, “Resources that could support a country’s development are lost through criminal acts like corruption, tax evasion, money laundering, and others.
“The ‘spoiler’ effects on countries’ development processes are diverse and particularly severe for fragile states; economic crime, including illicit financial flows, diverts much-needed resources needed to rebuild countries’ public services, from security and justice to basic social services such as health and education.”
He stated that the absence of substantial improvement in the living condition of the people in Africa and the rest of the developing countries, in spite of their natural resources endowment, can be blamed on pervasive economic crimes taking place in such countries.
“The incidence of illegal mining, smuggling of goods, tax evasion, illegal oil bunkering, illegal arms deals, just to mention but a few does not allow the government to receive the full accruals from the (Africa) continent’s vast resources that are needed for development.
“The revenue generated are embezzled by government officials and their collaborators in the private sector; this does not allow for economic growth and by extension a hindrance to development,” said the EFCC chief.