The acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, on Wednesday defended the Commission’s 2020 budget of N30.921billion before the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes.
DAILY NIGERIAN reports that the EFCC’s 2020 budget proposal represents a 49.26 per cent increase over the N20.715billion approved for the Commission in the current year.
The Commission’s 2020 capital expenditure budget is pegged at N2.321 billion, down from the current year’s N3.008billion.
Mr Magu, however, noted that the figure “is a far cry from the Commission’s needs assessment and strategic plan.
He, therefore, appealed to the lawmakers for an upward review of the capital vote to enable the Commission execute critical projects.
These projects, according to him, include the development of the permanent site of its training academy at Kwandare, near Lafia, Nasarawa State; procurement of equipment for EFCC Radio.
Others are the completion of rehabilitation works at the Commission’s Lagos Zonal Office at Awolowo Road, Ikoyi; construction of permanent offices in Uyo, Benin, Makurdi and Ilorin zones, where the Commission is currently occupying rented properties.
Speaking on the strides of the Commission in the 2019 fiscal year, Mr Magu disclosed that his agency recorded 882 convictions between January and October, which outstripped the 312 recorded in 2018.
In terms of financial recoveries, Mr Magu disclosed that between January and September 2019, the Commission made recoveries in the following sums: N64,721,161,510.01, $14,030,512.32, £4,644,493.00, and €53,325.00.
He also revealed that the EFCC’s collaboration with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, resulted in the seizure of nearly $2.4 million, and the disruption and recovery of approximately $14 million in fraudulent wire transfers.
According to him, the joint operation, tagged: “Operation Rewired,” which was a coordinated effort to disrupt Business Email Compromise, BEC, schemes, is designed to intercept and hijack wire transfers from businesses and individuals.
Aside “Operation Rewired”, he revealed that Italian Police and EFCC, working together, smashed a trans-national criminal group operating in all the five continents in an extensive investigation that resulted in the arrest of 62 individuals.
Responding, the House Committee commended the EFCC for its successes in tackling the scourge of cybercrime, plaguing the nation’s youth.
Members of the Committee equally applauded the patriotic role of the EFCC in exposing the processes leading to the $9.6billion arbitral award to Process and Industrial Developments Limited, P&ID, by a UK commercial court, as fraudulent.
A member of the Committee, Ademorin Kuye observed that the Commission has contributed immensely in redeeming the image of the country in the global community.
While commending the record-setting convictions profile of the Commission this year, Mr Kuye observed the need for life insurance cover for EFCC staffs, especially given the risks associated with their job.