The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, on Thursday, said it had remitted at least N136 billion to the Federal Government account set up to collect and manage proceeds of crime since May 2022.
The EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, revealed this to State House Correspondents when he appeared at the 62nd session of the State House Ministerial Briefing organised by the Presidential Communication Team at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.
According to Bawa, the breakdown of funds is as follows: N120bn, $29m, 6.6 million Euros and about 1.1 million pounds.
The naira equivalent of the funds amounts to N136,651,505,114.
These recovered funds, he said, will be deployed into ongoing infrastructure projects such as the Abuja-Kano road, Second Niger Bridge, and Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, amongst others.
The PUNCH reported that on May 12, 2022, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), signed into law the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act, 2022.
The Act seeks to, among other things, provide an effective legal and institutional framework for the recovery and management of the proceeds of crime, a non-conviction-based procedure for the recovery of proceeds of crime, strengthen criminal confiscation procedure, and collaborate among the relevant organisation in tracing properties reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activity.
Revealing the number of funds and value of properties recovered so far, Bawa said, “I want to state here that the POCA, which is the Proceeds of Crime Act, 2022, mandates that all relevant agencies must open what is called the Confiscated Assets and Properties Account in naira and foreign currencies and that all finally forfeited funds that belong to the Federal Government should now go into that account. And before, we had to pay the money into a designated account.
“But with POCA, this is where we now keep the different government assets recovered. And we have carried out an audit. From our EFCC recovery account, we paid N120bn and $29m, about 6.6m euros, and about 1.1m pounds into that.
“And the President has sanctioned that all those monies should be utilised to provide critical infrastructure in the country. So the funds will be used for the completion of the Abuja-Kano expressway, the second Niger bridge, and the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, among other funds that the federal government is getting.”
He revealed that, in November 2022, the anti-graft agency recovered another N201bn from oil firms defaulting on royalties to the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission and the 3 per cent statutory payment to the Niger Delta Development Commission.
The breakdown includes $354m, N30bn and $30m.
“Here are some of the things we have done in indirect recoveries in November 2022. We recovered $354m for the NUPRC in terms of royalties that one of the oil companies has not paid. Our investigations led to that recovery.
“For the recoveries that we’re making for NDDC, for instance, between now and probably next week, we’ll transfer to them about N30bn and about $30m.
“These are recoveries we have made from oil companies that have refused to pay the 3 per cent statutory payment to NDDC,” Bawa explained.
However, the EFCC boss was reticent on the firm’s identity, despite much questioning from journalists.
“It is only from one company that the $354m was recovered. I have forgotten the period, but it is an investigation done by our Lagos command, and we have evidence of payment that the said company made.
Because of the sensitivity of some of these things, we will leave it at that.”
Responding to allegations that the EFCC could be a tool in the hands of some influential individuals, Bawa argued that the agency is independent enough to investigate the suspended Attorney-General, Ahmed Idris, over a N109 billion money laundering case.
An investigation, he said, has led to the recovery of over N30bn.
“The EFCC is independent; nobody tells us what to do or investigate, how to investigate, or what to cover and what not to cover. No!
“One of the last major investigations we did was that we arrested the Accountant-General of the Federation.
The Accountant-General of the Federation was arrested. Out of those fraudulent activities discovered, the EFCC has recovered over N30bn, and we’re already prosecuting them,” he revealed.