The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said that it seized N15.5 billion from suspects in various airports across the nation between January and December. This is contained in a statement signed by the acting Head of Media of the commission, Mr Wilson Uwujaren in Abuja. It stated that the figures were given by the EFCC Chairman, Mr Ibrahim Lamorde, at the 2012 International Anti-Corruption Day.
The theme of the day is: “ACT….Help Detect Corruption Risks Today,” which was organised in Abuja by the Inter–Agency Task Team, an anti-corruption NGO. The statement quoted Lamorde as saying that the amount represented physical cash, which should have been taken out of the country illegally through the nation’s airports. He said that out of the amount, N14 billion was about to be taken out of Nigeria but was intercepted.
Lamorde also said that the operation of the Special Task Team comprising of Customs officers and the commission’s operatives also helped in the arrest of illegal cash couriers with more than 9 million dollars. He, however, linked illegal cash transfers and corruption to greed, callousness and meanness of the people involved. According to him, corruption is one of the reasons Nigeria has not been able to make progress, socially, politically and economically and that all must come together to fight the menace.
The EFCC chairman also called for a review of anti-corruption legislation and proper funding of the anti-graft agencies. Lamorde said that the current criminal procedure laws were responsible for the slow pace of trial of corruption cases and not the judiciary. According to him, the commission has so far filed about 353 cases in various courts and has secured about 53 convictions between January and December.
The chairman, however, reiterated the need for a special courts to handle corruption cases. “It is not fair on the anti-corruption agencies to say they are delaying cases; if you think there is no case to answer, please discharge the person. But where the person has a case to answer, the case will be concluded in good time,” he said.
The statement also added that the chairman of NGO, Mr Ledum Mitee, said that corruption had remained with us because of weak anti-corruption institutions in terms of capacity and funding. Others are failure of leadership at all levels to genuinely “talk the talk and walk the walk” and the need for a more concerted effort in ensuring synergy in the operations of anti-corruption agencies. According to him, the performance in the fight against corruption has been very poor and that there is the need to steer the ship aright.