Presented by Mallam Nuhu Ribadu,
Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of Nigeria.
To The US Congressional House Committee on International Development, Washington DC, May 18, 2006
The history of corruption in Nigeria is strongly rooted in the over 29 years of military rule, out of 46 years of her statehood since 1960. Successive Military regimes subdued the Rule of law, facilitated the wanton looting of the public treasury, decapitated public institutions and free speech and instituted a secret and opaque culture in the running of government business. The result was total insecurity, poor economic management, abuse of human rights, ethnic conflicts and capital flight.
Democracy was restored in Nigeria only in May 1999, with the election of the Civilian Government of President Olusegun Obasanjo.
One cardinal Programme of the Obasanjo administration is the fight against corruption and waste in the public service. This, he has demonstrated by the establishment of two major anti-graft institutions, the Independent Corrupt Practices (And Other Related Offences) Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2000 and 2003 respectively. It is important to note that the fight against corruption is situated within the larger economic reform programme of the Government, the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS), a home-grown medium-term poverty eradication strategy. NEEDS is an economic and structural reform programme designed to bring improved macro-economic stability, better public expenditure management, reduced corruption, increased transparency and improvement in key sectors, including the financial sector.
THE ANTI-CORRUPTION STRATEGY
The Government’s target is zero tolerance for corruption. This, it has pursued through –
-Promulgation of laws against graft – Independent Corrupt Practices And (Other Related Offences) Commission (ICPC) Act, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Act, Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2004
-Strengthening of anti-corruption and other economic crimes Institutions for
effective law enforcement -Prosecution and conviction of high ranking administration officials -Judicial and justice sector reforms -Tracing, seizing and confiscation of all proceeds of crime -Public reorientation through targeted advocacy -Institution of the Due Process Mechanism in public sector procurements -Privatisation of failing public institutions and creating an enabling
environment for effective private-public partnerships -Monthly publication of distributable revenue from the Federation Account to the different tiers of government -Institution of transparencies in the oil and gas sector through the work of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI)
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
The EFCC which is today the arrow-head in the fight against corruption in Nigeria was established in 2003 as part of a national reform programme to address corruption and money laundering and in answer to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) concerns about Nigeria’s Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) laws. EFCC is an inter-agency Commission comprising a 22-member Board drawn from all Nigerian Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) and Regulators. The Commission is empowered to investigate, prevent and prosecute offenders who engage in
“Money laundering, embezzlement, bribery, looting and any form of corrupt practices, illegal arms deal, smuggling, human trafficking, and child labor, illegal oil bunkering, illegal mining, tax evasion, foreign exchange malpractices including counterfeiting of currency, theft of intellectual property and piracy, open market abuse, dumping of toxic wastes, and prohibited goods”
(Section 46, EFCC Establishment Act, 2004)
The Commission is also responsible for identifying, tracing, freezing, confiscating, or seizing proceeds derived from terrorist activities. EFCC is also host to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), vested with the responsibility of collecting suspicious transactions reports (STRs) from financial and designated non-financial institutions, analyzing and disseminating them to all relevant Government agencies and other FIUs all over the world.
In addition to any other law relating to economic and financial crimes, including the criminal and penal codes, EFCC is empowered to enforce all the pre1999 anti-corruption and anti-money laundering laws. Punishment prescribed in the EFCC Establishment Act range from combination of payment of fine, forfeiture of assets and up to five years imprisonment depending on the nature and gravity of the offence. Conviction for terrorist financing and terrorist activities attracts life imprisonment.
POSITIVE RESULTS SO FAR
Since the establishment of EFCC in 2003, it has been involved in the investigation of cases ranging from high profile corruption cases, advanced fee fraud, money laundering, tax evasion, contract scams, identity theft, illegal oil bunkering, bribery, looting, and foreign exchange malpractices.
• Cleansing of the Banking Sub-sector
EFCC has contributed to the sanitization of the banking sector through investigation and prosecution of Chief Executives and other officials for Money Laundering and other frauds. Bank failures which were rampant in the past have now become a thing of the past.
• Reorganization of Critical Agencies of Government
EFCC has led the drive to clean up and reorganize key agencies and institutions of government in Nigeria. The Commission’s work has led to the change of leadership of the most critical agencies such as the Nigeria Police, the Customs and the National Drug Law enforcement Agency (NDLEA). The new leadership are driving necessary reforms of these vital agencies that were hitherto steeped in corruption.
• Prosecution and Conviction of Corrupt Top Public Officers
The Commission has successfully prosecuted and secured convictions against top government functionaries, including the former chief law enforcement officer of the nation, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP). Investigation by EFCC has caused the removal from office and prosecution of a Senate President, a Governor, Ministers, National Assemblymen, Bank Chief Executives, etc.
• Record Convictions for ‘419’, Money Laundering and Terrorism
So far, 56 convictions have been recorded on corruption, money laundering, oil pipeline vandalism and related offences. Assets well over $5 billion have been frozen and seized from corrupt officials, their agents and cronies.
• Recovery and Return of Proceeds of Crime
The fight against advance fee fraud (419) and identity theft has been aggressively pursued, leading to the prosecution and conviction of kingpins including the celebrated $242 million case involving a Brazilian Bank. Much of the sum has been recovered and returned to the Bank in Brazil. The EFCC also recovered and returned the sum of $4 million to a victim of 419 in Hong Kong and has seized and returned over $ 500,000 to sundry US citizens. It is in the process of returning $1.6 million (already blocked) to a victim in Florida.
• Setting up of the FIU and Taking Action against Terrorist Financing
The fight against money laundering, terrorism and terrorist financing has heightened with the establishment of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) by the EFCC. This has helped in the detection of Suspicious Transactions in financial institutions. The EFCC is coordinating the implementation of the National Strategy Plan Against Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing. This has no doubt impressed the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) of the G8 whose Review Team only recently concluded an on-site visitation to the country with a view to assessing her level of compliance in order to have her delisted from its list of Non-Cooperating Countries and Terroritories (NCCTs). Nigeria is fully in compliance with the UN Convention Against Corruption and UN Resolutions on terrorism and terrorist financing particularly Resolution 1247. The EFCC on March 3, 2006, froze the assets and properties of Ahmed Idris Nasreddin and his associated companies, NASCO Group Nig Ltd. The value of the assets frozen is worth over N100 million ($787,402). Two (2) convictions on terror have been recorded and the 5 convicts are presently serving 10 years and 3 years imprisonment respectively. EFCC also maintains a database on Terrorist Groups, individuals, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), etc, and is constantly profiling them.
EFCC has extended the fight against Money Laundering to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Sub-region by facilitating the operationalization of the FATF-style regional anti-money laundering outfit, the Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in Africa (GIABA).
• Setting up Machinery for Monitoring Activities in the Oil Industry and Prevention of Illegal Bunkering
EFCC is vigorously addressing the nagging problem of illegal oil bunkering and pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta Region. Over 10 convictions on pipeline vandalism have been recorded, 25 trailers (instrumentalities of crime) seized and confiscated and accounts of beneficiaries blocked.
• Partnership with Microsoft against Internet Scam and Identity Theft
EFCC has deployed technology to combat cyber crimes and is presently working in partnership with Microsoft to find appropriate software to definitively address the problem.
• Capacity Building for Law Enforcement and Judicial Officials
Capacity building is key in the fight against graft. EFCC has responded by establishing a state- of-the-art Training and Research Institute in Karu, Abuja, for the training of its officials and those of other stakeholders. EFCC has also assisted through donor agencies with the training of judges handling cases of corruption, money laundering and other financial crimes. This has helped to reduce the trial cycle-time.
RELATIONSHIP WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITIES (LEAs)
EFCC has excellent working relationship with major Law Enforcement Agencies all over the world. These include the INTERPOL, the UK Metropolitan Police, FBI, Canadian Mounted Police, the Scorpions of South Africa, etc. The relationship with the FBI has been particularly special. This has manifested in the following:
ƒ Joint Controlled delivery operations and investigations with officers of the US Postal Inspections Service
ƒ Joint Investigations and collaboration with the Resident Regional Agent of the United States Secret Service, Pretoria, South Africa, especially in cases of document and currency counterfeiting
ƒ Working relationship with the United States Drug Law Enforcement Agency ƒ Joint Investigation with the Regional Security Office on general fraud and Visa/passport fraud ƒ Joint Investigation with the FBI Legal Attaché and the FBI Internet crime Complaint Centre ƒ Extradition proceedings commenced in respect of a Suspect (Nigerian-American) wanted in the United States for child abuse ƒ Collaboration and information sharing with the Attorney’s Office, Brooklyn, New York
ƒ Several training courses organized by the US officials on Cyber-crime, Money Laundering, Public Corruption, Counterfeiting, Identity Theft, etc.
OTHER ANTI-CORRPUTION INITIATIVES OF THE NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT
The work of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Initiative (NEITI) has opened up the oil and gas sector through its landmark independent audit conducted by Hart Group. The audit had a three-pronged component – Physical, Financial and Process. The result of the audit revealed discrepancies in physical hydrocarbon balances and declared volumes for royalty purposes, physical hydrocarbon balances and the declared volumes for Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT) purposes, deductions claimed by Companies for PPT purposes against the expenditures in their audited accounts and differences between the amounts reported by the Companies as paid and the amounts reported by the CBN as received. Other revelations of the audit Report include:
Defective metering infrastructure
Wide differences used by oil Companies for royalty and PPT
inconsistent with the PPT Act and the Companies Income Tax.
A whole range of recommendations have been outlined to address the above deficiencies. By the time-table set by the National Stakeholders’ Working Group (NSWG) of the NEITI, all reconciliations of the discrepancies are to be completed by June 14, 2006. The work of this body for the first time is enabling Nigerians know how revenue from oil and gas is determined ands how much has accrued to the nation.
The Due Process mechanism has in 3 years saved the nation over $3 billion which would have been lost through inflated contracts. The Process has also introduced local and international competitive bidding for government contracts.
Formalization of the process through a law is now awaiting passage by the National Assembly.
Nigeria is listed as one of the 21 most improved nations in 2005. More importantly, the 2005 World Economic Forum and World Bank Governance Surveys by Dr. Danny Kaufman indicated significant improvements on Corruption, Public Procurement, Public Finances, Taxation, etc.
The Rule of law has been substantially restored and Nigerians are once more, regaining their confidence in the justice system. The restoration of the Rule of law and the fight against graft has manifested in the improved rating by Transparency International (TI) and Direct Foreign Investment (DFI) inflows into the country. This is also manifest in the high support received from the international donor community including the World Bank, the European Union and the Commonwealth Secretariat. The European Union through the UNODC is today, implementing perhaps, the biggest donor project in Nigeria involving $32 million. This project aims to improve EFCC capacity in investigating and prosecuting corruption and other economic crimes. In addition, it will help equip the NFIU with the best available technology on AML/CFT.
CHALLENGES OF FIGHTING CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA
There exist serious challenges to the continued successful prosecution of the war on corruption in Nigeria. These include:
¾ Relatively slow Judicial system
The technological complexities in fighting economic crimes in the
Lack of capacity and investigation tools such as analyses tools,
financial transactions software, etc
The availability of safe havens for corrupt Nigerian officials to
keep their loot abroad
Reversing the bad perception of the country
Lack of cooperation from some countries
REQUEST TO THE US AUTHORITIES
I. The US and members of the G8 must be in the forefront of building a global coalition against corruption. Make transparency and accountability and the fight against corruption the primary basis for relating with any government
II. The US must speak out against countries that provide safe havens for proceeds of corruption from Nigeria and other developing countries. It ought to be a condition that your government will have no relationship with countries where grand corruption is prevalent and, those whose financial institutions provide safe havens for proceeds of crime
III. The government of the United States should support and empower local agencies on the ground, through capacity building and technical assistance
IV. I will also implore you to make it a matter of policy to deny entrance to your country of all those persons who have been indicted of graft in Africa. The honour which they do not deserve at home should not be accorded them abroad
V. The US Authorities should also consider the deployment of additional FBI Agents at the US Embassy in Nigeria and strengthen collaborative initiatives between agencies fighting corruption in Nigeria and all law enforcement agencies and the Justice Department in the US. This will expedite requests for assistance made to US Authorities on economic crimes. The huge population of Nigeria (150 million) and the relatively high rate of white collar crimes in Nigeria justify this request.
While we seek more support for the monumental changes happening in Nigeria, we are happy that certain critical international agencies and governments are acknowledging the effort at tackling corruption and money laundering and recognizing that things are changing for the better, as evidenced in the following encouraging comments:
“Nigeria is a prime example of what can happen when leaders finally say no “Enough!” to rampant corruption. I therefore salute Nigerian President Obasanjo’s “Zero Tolerance” initiative that has triggered high level resignations, arrests, and indictments”.
-Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
“Finally, thank you very much for your assurances that the £3m which we recently transferred is all being used to support the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The ongoing work of the Commission and its head are very important to the way in which Nigeria is perceived internationally. I much admire your decision to establish the EFCC and give it your personal backing”.
-Mr. Tony Blair to President Olusegun Obasanjo
I want to end by drawing attention to the grievous harm that corruption has done to Nigeria and Africa over the years. Corruption is the reason why there had been a perpetual collapse of infrastructure and institutions; it is the cause of the endemic poverty in Africa; it is the reason for the underdevelopment and the cyclical failure of democracy to take root in Africa. Corruption is worse than terrorism. Public officials who are corrupt should receive worse treatment than that reserved for terrorist. It is high time we refocus and give issues of corruption the attention they rightly deserve. The challenge before us is to set our sights on making corruption, rather than poverty or any other socio-economic malaise, history. For, as soon as we do so, everything else, like a worrisome jigsaw puzzle, will fall in place. Making corruption history is the surest way of making all the problems of Nigeria and Africa history.
Thank you for your time
A'a. Nuhu, we are all waiting for your investigations on the alleged 3rd term money laundering shame. Nuhu! Nuhu!! Nuhu!!! I have called you three times o. That shame was too "transparent" to play "wayo" with. We are waiting for your investigations on this.
You concluded your introduction with.....
"The result was total insecurity, poor economic management, abuse of human rights, ethnic conflicts and capital flight"......
You have made a good attempt at explaining Nigeria's woes. Chinua Achebe did it many years ago though with a focus within. I am not the only one concerned about your ranka-dede relationship with the one who appointed you to this office. For you to do a thorough job your allegiance should be to the counntry and not to him. Even if he tries to fire you, you will come out of it a greater hero. A Kenyan whistle blower who will go down well in the history of that country did it for his country despite threats to his life.
This your article would have earned more credit had you left out the praise song for your employer because it is apparent that he is also part of the problem. These changes were bound to begin in Nigeria no matter who became the leader because Nigeria reached the threshold for it without which only God knows what was going to happen next. See Delta.
The question now is who constitute the military elements that caused these results on Nigeria? Don't we know them? Are they not still part of the society today parading themselves as leaders? Do they not know themselves? And what are we doing about that? Just one instance among a miraid of them, is for instance the ownership an oil block by one of thesame military guys you alluded to who recently tried to sell his block to China?
Who are those that have been abusing human right? Are they not mostly the same group who have been parading themselves as our leaders? What are we doing about them given that they still parade themselves right under our nose regularly? By the way Obasanjo has a big share in this. If you doubt me go to Okigwe and ask the people there. These were innocent people, many of them youths, just for expressing their frustration and non-violently identifying with an outspoken leader of a non-violent group. Do we have any legal recourse in that country? If so we do then where was the due process in those cases and why the extra-judicial killings?
What do you call ethnic conflict and where is the religious one; or are they both interchangeable terms? If so let us call the spade by its proper name. Who has kept that evil tradition of killing innocent souls at will in numbers without anybody being brought to justice till date? Crimes committed in the United States in the forties, fifties and sixties let alone seventies eighties and nineties are still being handled to conclusive legal justice and fairness. People are still paying for the crimes they committed then whether solitarily or as a group here in the United States.
I am one of those who does not use the term ethnic conflict to qualify what has been happening to certain people from the same culprit group since 1945 because ethnic conflict as a term will better fit the type of thing that happened in Rwanda than the one sided cold blooded killing that has remained a tradition in a particular part of Nigeria.
In that regard I will add that terrorism a la Nigeria is equally or as matter of fact more dangerous than the corruption which you are rightly condemning. If that does not stop and if fairness is not applied to the Delta region, you will soon have no country to complain about. The bits and pieces that will result will then have the burden of cleaning up. People will then have no more reason to indulge in corrution as they will be stealing from themselves and would be taken care of by their laws more effectively.
Believe me it will be easier that way. By the way, that is the ideological concept behind the Sharia declaration some states in Nigeria. The only reason they remained part of Nigeria is to continue to reap from the Delta region.
If you doubt me concerning the benefits of Balkanization, go to Croatia. The Croatians and the rest of the group will tell you how that forced unity yeilded nothing but misery for all their peoples. There is nothing wrong in self determination of a people especially if lumping them together is hampering the ideal conditions to achieve. Meanwhile become allegiant to Nigeria and not to any particular individual or parties and lets see what results.
Nigeria: Nigeria rated six of most corrupt countries
May 20, 2006
By Andnetwork .com
Though it might seem that the anti-corruption efforts are yielding fruits, Nigeria still falls in the top ten rank of the most corrupt countries in the world by transparency international(IT).
Nigeria only managed to slightly improve from top three to top six according to the latest ranking released by Transparent International (TI).
According to the report, Chad was considered the most corrupt country, followed by Bangladesh while the least corrupt country was Iceland.
Nigeria was, during the previous ranking, the third most corrupt country, but the latest ranking disclosed that Nigeria had improved marginally, ranking sixth. In Africa, South Africa and Seychelles are the least corrupt countries while Botswana and Ghana also improved on their previous ratings.
Other countries that have improved in their ratings are Argentina, Austria, Bolivia, Estonia, France, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Moldova, Qatar, Slovakia, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey and Yemen.
The survey index defines corruption as the abuse of public office for private gain, and measures the degree to which corruption is perceived to exist amongst a country's public officials and politicians. The survey included only 159 countries due to the absence of reliable data from the outstanding countries.
The survey index uses the scores ranging from ten (squeaky clean) to zero (highly corrupt) and a score of 5.0 is considered to be the borderline figure that distinguishes countries that do and do not have a serious corruption problem.
TI pointed out that, while poor countries are the greatest victims of corruption, the index showed that wealth does not buy integrity, as the recent and past corporate scandals in wealthy countries prove that. It also shows that public and government authorities are becoming increasingly sensitised to the issue of corruption.
Last year TI's Corruption Perceptions Index ranked South Africa number 46, and Botswana, 32. Zimbabwe and Zambia were jointly ranked 107, Namibia 47, Lesotho 70, and Mozambique 97. Nigeria was ranked the second worst on the continent with a 152 score.
TI's chairman, Peter Eigen, said what was needed in all countries, wealthy and poor, was the coalition between the government, private sector and civil society, to ensure a balance of power and representation of interests.
Source: Businessday online
.................. and all before the billion naira rain.
Sir, I really do love what you are really doing, but Sir do think all your effort will be remembed? after this Government. I wish this will remain so to carry Nigerian Image in the next Governemt. Sir will be very greatfull if you can pass your email address for me to know more about this Efcc or better give me the Efcc email to enable me study more on Efcc hope my expression is very much understand thank you and God bless you for a Job will done.Dont worry God will surely See you. From Emmaunel Bello Roland.
I Think Nuhu is a One sided brain bull dog that has been programmed to hunt a few and ignore a few. He is doing some good work no doubt but 90% of his activies are political; let him work and lets know he is working.
I would say he is a presidential tool to strike enemies
The Nuhu write-up is a political hog-wash. He is just a paid bully and you can see his 'tiny brain" when he said that corruption is worst than terrorism because of his myopic view of acknowleding the senseless slaughtering of the Igbos by Northern Religious fanatics.
The fact that his EFCC commission left Folks like IBB, OBJ, Atiku and several others to walk around as free men who are busy installing leadership in Nigeria is a shapeful display of medioricity for a job that started since 2003. His tiny brain is also at over drive when he mentioned money returned to others without a chronicle of billions returned from "safe heaven banks' overseas. His complaint about lack of effective tools and software is so elementary that with Nigeria IT personnels all over the world, he did not think of setting aside say 10% of recovered money for procuring the needed tools. Here in the USA, it is called administrative cost because the tax payers money used to do the job must be replaced handsomely.
For the sake of history, I may join hand to say that corruption fighting that is politically engineered is not going to be effective in Nigeria because if the same party keeps recircling themselves into power, how can a meaningful probe take place? For one thing, we knew IBB begat OBJ who begat Yar'auda. Given this line of force, who among their political appointees will probe his paymaster? Not in Nigeria. So for effectiveness, the EFCC should be revatilized as an "independent" crime fighting Agency similar to the FBI for which all crimes are prosecutable from writing laws of the land without consideration to immunity to anybody, elected officials or not. I find it ironical that poor people who stole salt or pepper in Oyigbo market are lavishing in jails without proper representation or trial while those known to have robbed us dry with their "pens or guns" are basking in glory and ostentitous life styles in Nigeria as our kids have no school to attend, our products lack dependable transportation for econic growth, as our natural resources and revenues are weigh-housed in foreign banks while our masses die in abject poverty compounded by lack of medical infrastructure. What a shame to the "Sham" called corruption fighting in Nigera?
Nigeria has just succeeded in deceiving the world with the so called improvement in corruption for over eight years compared to how Nigeria got strenghtened up within six months under Murtala Mohammed-OBj boss, who OBJ could not emulate due to his own GREED and CORRUPTION. Nigeria will be serious only:
1) Shipments to Nigeria are received without the "Thieves" called Customs stop pilfering and collecting senseless bribes
2) When you can send books and they received by the deserving students
3) When the menace of "Oga wetin you carry mentality of hungry police force" in Nigeria is quelled to zero
4) When every Nigeria is documented in a National and State registery for inland revenue collection which cannot be converted into personal aggradizement.
5) When every business dully registered is taxed according to the income stream and when money made through business transactions pay stipulated taxes for improving the lives of the masses.
6) When proper identification resulting from item #4 helps to transact business without hauling "Ghana has gone money bags". Use of credit cards and checks can help track money movement as a $10K transcation in the USA attracts attention for tax purposes.
7) The public waste of Government expenditures with nothing to show for it has been properly strutnized as a wholesome excercise and not as a political witch-hunting as EFCC has just proved.
8) Until our Judicial system has the 'Ball" to prosecute fearlessly as an independent balance-of-power arm of the government.
9) When every Nigerian elected or not is accountable without hiding under political umbrella or man know "devil" mentality
10) When hard-work is rewarded instead of sycomphacy or hero worshiping called respect to "Thieves", "Chiefs" and other jaw-breaking and *****ic titles - Where every body answers his real name with some humility. Habaa!
LET US STOP DECEIVING OURSELVES OR LET THE POLITICIANS AND EX-MILITARY LEADERS KNOW THAT THEY MUST COUGH OUT OUR STOLEN BELONGINGS WHETHER THEY LIKE IT OR NOTHING AS NOTED ABOVE THAT CRIMES COMMITTED OVER 100 YEARS ARE STILL BEING UNCOVERED IN THE USA AND OTHER ADVANCED WORLDS. UNTIL THEN, THERE WILL BE NO JUSTICE IN NIGERIA.