The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, has said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) has recovered more than $2 trillion (about N400trn at current exchange rate) looted from the national treasury by “criminal groups and public office holders” within the past 12 years. Malami made the disclosure yesterday in a keynote address presented at the ‘First Annual Conference on Financial Fraud, Cyber-Crime & Other Cross-border Crimes’, in Abuja.
Malami said: “As you all know, illicit funds transfer has a number of severe effects on a country like Nigeria. It drains the country’s foreign exchange reserves, reduces tax base, increases poverty levels, increases insecurity as a potential source of terror funding, and hurts the country’s international image.
“The common crimes that confront Nigeria today include terrorism/ terrorist financing, cyber-crime, fraud, money laundering, corruption, kidnapping, trafficking in illicit drugs and persons, armed robbery, oil theft, sexual exploitation of young persons. All of these crimes threaten Nigeria’s economy and make Nigeria unattractive for investment.
“Nigeria gained notoriety among the commity of nations since early 1980 because of advanced fee fraud commonly referred to as “419” as well as high incidence of corrupt practices by politically exposed persons and bureaucrats”. Available reports showed that in the past 12 years, since the establishment of EFCC, more than $2 trillion has been confiscated and recovered.
“Recoveries have also been made by ICPC, NAPTIP, NDLEA and DSS. As Nigeria struggles to deal with the high-level criminality associated with greed to acquire so much wealth through criminal activities, my task is to see how we can turn back the gains of criminal groups and to recover the fortunes that criminals have made illegally by returning very penny that belongs to the Nigeria public. With the passage of the ACJA, we have seen accelerated hearing of criminal matters. This would need to be sustained through various initiatives that we are developing”.