.Says NFIU autonomous since January
Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu, on Monday, confirmed the recovery of over N473 billion, $98.258 million and £294,851.82 corruption proceeds in 2017.
Magu, who disclosed this when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes, declared that other funds recovered by the commission include €7, 247, 363, Dirham 443, 400 and 70,500 South African Rand within the period under review.
The EFCC boss made the disclosure during the 2017/2018 budget defence of his agency, held at the instance of the House committee.
He further expressed delight over the financial and operations autonomy granted the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) since January this year, with the approval of the Budget Office of the Federation and Accountant-General of the Federation.
The anti-corruption czar added that the agency also achieved the final forfeiture of N32billion and $5 million recovered from the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke and final forfeiture of N449 million at Legico Plaza in Victoria Island, Lagos and final forfeiture of over $43 million discovered in Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos.
Others major achievements, Magu stated, include the recovery of N329 billion from petroleum marketers by the Commission’s Kano office; withholding tax recovery of over N27.7 billion from banks; €6.6 million recovered by the Nigerian Ports Authority; recoveries of about N1.1 billion on behalf of AMCON and the recovery of subsidy fraud funds of over N4 billion.
While speaking on the ongoing plans to ensure the independence of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), Magu said that “in the course of the outgoing financial year, the NFIU was granted self accounting status by both the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation and the Budget Office. Effective date of implementation is January 1, 2018.”
Expressing concern over the delay in the release of funds for the discharge of the commission’s activities, Magu lamented that the “delayed and irregular release of the overhead component of the commission’s recurrent vote in 2017, affected the commission’s investigation and prosecution activities especially in the zones.”
According to him, out of N17,202,253,360 appropriated in 2017, only N11,737,492,342.07 (68 per cent) has so far been released out of which N9,759,277,008.53 has been utilised while from the sum of N7,127,316,354 appropriated for personnel cost, N6,533,373,324 was released; out of the N3,000,713,298 appropriated for overhead only N1,667,007,163.70 has been released while out of the N7,074,223,708 appropriated for capital expenditure, only N3,537,111,853.87 had been released to the commission so far.
Responding to questions on the whistle blowing policy, Magu disclosed that the incentives promised by Federal Government is being paid timely, including the Ikoyigate whistle blower; while more Nigerians are being encouraged to join in the campaign across the country.
He noted that the commissioning of the newly constructed headquarters of EFCC will take place in April, 2018.