No fewer than 3,328 offenders prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), for different crimes were convicted by different courts within 11 months.
Also, the agency within the period under review persuaded the court to grant its request to forfeit the sum of N755million recovered from a former Accountant- General of the Federation, three luxury properties from Colonel Bello Fadile (retd), former aide to former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, to the central government.
The Chairman, EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa, disclosed this statistics yesterday in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, while declaring open a one-day Training Workshop on Financial Crimes Reporting for Journalists, in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria.
He disclosed that the Commission has secured 3,328 convictions so far in the course of the year.
“We also secured interim forfeiture of 40 assets in Nigeria, United States of America, London and Dubai belonging to former deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu. Two weeks earlier, another court issued a final forfeiture order of two properties within Abuja belonging to Diezani Alison- Madueke, former minister of petroleum resources.
“These are just a few of the assets recovered for the Federal Government of Nigeria alone. From January to November 18, 2022, EFCC has recorded 3328 convictions”.
Bawa who spoke through the Port Harcourt Zonal Commander of the EFCC, Assistant Commander Nwanneka Nwokike, stated that the workshop was organized to enhance the capacity of journalists in the discharge of their duties and deepen the relationship between the Commission and the media.
“We are not resting on our oars. We believe there is still work to be done, which is why we are actively seeking the support of all stakeholders, including the media. I enjoin members of the public, including the media, to be part of this effort by reporting cases of corruption to the EFCC”.
“The duty of reporting financial crimes requires urgency as we approach the 2023 general election, when our nation shall be electing a new set of leaders. The political recruitment process is vital to the anti-corruption cause as picking leaders with integrity deficit could imperil the campaign and erode the gains of the past few years.”
Speaking on the topic “Challenges of Prosecuting Economic and Financial Crimes in Nigeria”, ACE S. M. H. Ibekwute, says the EFCC faces several challenges when it comes to prosecuting economic and financial crimes in the nation. Some of the hitches, Ibekwute said, include, witness fatigue in the course of prosecution, transfer/retirements of judges/prosecutors, financial constraints, among others.
He, therefore, enjoined the press to collaborate with the Commission in the fight against corruption, stressing that, “with your commitment and co-operation with the EFCC, the prosecutorial difficulties staring us in the face would be resolved.”
Also on “Best Practices in Financial Crimes Reporting”, ACE Dele Oyewale, meanwhile, charged participants to ramp up their reporting of economic and financial crimes and be more professional. He specifically noted that there are unreported, under-reported and un- followed up crimes and challenged every participant to be more enterprising in their reporting.
“There is rising dynamics and sophistication in criminality across the world. The media must keep pace with these strides. Generally speaking, there are Unreported, Under-Reported and Un- followed up crimes. The media should be ahead of law enforcement agencies in the investigative reporting of crimes”, he said.
In his presentations, Head, Cyber Crime Section, EFCC Headquarters, ACE Nuru Buhari Dalhatu gave vivid descriptions of the typologies of cybercrimes across the world and exposed deep working secrets of hackers. “There is no system hackers cannot tamper with. What is important is for individuals and organisations to be vigilant and keep codes of their systems secret”, he said.
He assured the public that “At the EFCC, we are ahead of cyber criminals because we are trained and equipped to burst their operations all the time. Without good working knowledge of cyber operations, it is not possible to fight criminals in that corridor”.