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UK anti-graft agency lauds EFCC for promoting professionalism

Mr Graeme Biggar, the Director-General, National Crime Agency (NCA), United Kingdom, has commended the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for promoting professionalism in pursuing its mandate in Nigeria.

Graeme gave the commendation on Thursday, when he led a delegation of the UK’s anti-crime Agency on a working visit to the EFCC Chairman, Mr Ola Olukoyede, in Abuja.

He says the NCA has the longest-standing and deepest relationship with the EFCC.

He stressed that the professionalism of the commission was commendable.

“We have a long standing relationship with EFCC in Nigeria. We need to support you in the fight against corruption and asset recovery. I am here to deepen our cooperation.

”We really appreciate the relationship we have with your organisation and the professionalism of your officers,” he said.

He expressed his agency’s readiness to strengthen the relationship with the EFCC, maintaining that “we are ready to take the relationship deeper”.

He expressed concerns about activities of fraudsters, especially those stealing life savings of other people and those engaging in extortion.

“It is important we continue the strong relationship existing between us for us to tackle those fraudulent dealings,” he said.

Responding, Olukoyede stated that the EFCC hugely valued its relationship with NCA, noting that the good working relationship between Nigeria and the UK reached way back in time.

“We place much premium on the relationship that exists between Nigeria and the UK. It dates back in time and particularly between the EFCC and the NCA.

”Our relationship has been mutually beneficial. We have had cause to collaborate on so many cases.

”I want to thank you for extending that hand of collaboration to us and for some of the support you have brought in the area of manpower development, training for some of our operatives and also the support you have given our digital forensic laboratory.

“We are also looking for more mutually beneficial relationships and more support. The world is a global village. Sometimes what we have, you don’t have and what you have, we don’t have.

”We place much premium on exchange of ideas and compare notes where necessary. We are also looking at issues where you can be of support from your jurisdiction,” EFCC boss said.

According to him, the global contagion of corruption, economic and financial crimes have made trans-national collaboration more compelling.

“Most of the crimes we investigate, particularly the non-violent, white collar crimes have assumed global dimension and this is why countries like Nigeria and the UK need to collaborate,” he said.

On the new policy direction of the commission, the EFCC boss stated that, over time, he had realised that preventive frameworks in tackling corruption offered more results than any other modalities.

“On my part, I assumed office about six months ago. Upon my assumption, I tried to effect a few changes in the processes and ways we do things, particularly in the area of the rule of law and due observance of processes.

“I sat with my team and we agreed to go to the root cause of corruption. We tried to figure out, rather than wait for the problem to occur; what can we do to prevent it? We have gone into the area of prevention.

“I have just established a whole directorate that deals with prevention and control.

“The new directorate will be looking at the activities of all our ministries, departments and agencies in the areas of contract award and procurement processes.

“And we need the support of the NCA in this area and other areas as well,” he said.

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