The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has disclosed that it would be carrying out fraud risk assessment on Federal Government agencies as part of efforts to fight corruption in the country.
It explained that the measure would detect the agencies that were vulnerable to fraud and eliminate all possible loopholes across the outfits in line with the government’s commitment to tackle corruption in all ramifications.
The EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa, stated that the agency had built its capacity to understand fraud risk assessment, which it had already started implementing across the board.
Addressing journalists in New York after the just concluded three-day UN General Assembly Special Session on Corruption focusing on “Challenges, Measures to Prevent and Combat Corruption and Strengthen International Cooperation’’, the anti-graft agency boss noted that the idea was for the EFCC to advise the government on vulnerability of the agencies to fraud and corruption.
According to him, we have already engaged the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, they are willing to partner with us towards carrying fraud risk assessment on all the parastatals under the ministry.
He said that the EFCC had an understanding between fighting corruption and fighting corrupt people and would do its best to achieve its mandate of combating corruption in the county.
“Fighting corruption is about looking at the system, looking at the loopholes, and advising the government on what to do regarding that. EFCC is working towards intelligence-driven investigation and that is why one of the things I did is to establish a full-fledged department of intelligence.
“In addition, when we talk about catalogue of stealing and receiving stolen goods as enshrined in the Criminal Code; if you steal and you are convicted, it is seven years imprisonment and if you receive stolen goods, it is 14 years imprisonment.
“Our study of that is the fact that without those who are receiving stolen goods, stealing will be prevented; that is why they have high punishment for those receiving stolen goods,’’ Bawa said.
The EFCC boss said that the commission was working tirelessly to focus on gatekeepers in money laundering.
According to him, gatekeepers are non-designated financial institutions as provided for in the Money Laundry Prosecution Act and include tax consultants, car dealers, real estate managers, lawyers, and accountants, among others.
“We are working toward re-boosting and improving the activities of the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering.“
In addition, he said that EFCC had been working with the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment to create awareness and take transaction reports to prevent and combat corruption.
The EFCC boss said that the take home point from the UN special session was for countries to strengthen cooperation and sharing of intelligence information to help combat corruption.
According to him, member states have signed into UN Convention against Corruption, which Nigeria signed in December 2003. He added that it was ratified in December 2004 and has been adopted as a political declaration.
“The member states acknowledged first and foremost that there is no country in the world that is immune to corruption. Unlike before, member states have worked toward strengthening international cooperation; what is of interest to us is the idea of sharing information and intelligence as well as return of stolen assets wherever they are.
“We have another understanding or belief that member states, particularly countries where these assets are hidden, have all joined in to this particular declaration.’’
The EFCC boss said that work had been on top gear and negotiations were continuing to repatriate some funds stolen from Nigeria.