Money Laundering: EFCC charged to go after 'big looters' in CBN, NNPC

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have been told by Senate to investigate officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation over alleged racketeering in foreign exchange transactions.

The lawmakers also urged the EFCC to identify owners of mansions in highbrow areas of Abuja, alleging that several senior officials in Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government had become billionaires through corrupt enrichment.

Members of the Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes made the call when the Acting Chairman, EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, led the commission’s leadership before the lawmakers for 2017 budget defence.

The lawmakers, while criticising the EFCC for usually going after former public officials, said the anti-graft agency should focus on financial crimes prevention.

A member of the committee, Senator Isa Misau, said since the EFCC was now encouraging whistle-blowers, he wished to blow the whistle on the CBN and the NNPC.

He cited the recent recovery $9,772,000 and £74,000 from Mr. Yakubu Andrew, who was the Group Managing Director of the NNPC between 2012 and 2014.

Misau stated, “I can’t imagine the over $9m recovered from a former GMD (of NNPC). If somebody who left (public) office has such money stashed somewhere, then, you can just make a guess about the other people who have been on the seat.

“Therefore, today, I am giving it as a challenge to the EFCC to go and see what the NNPC or CBN or the finance ministry is doing.

“Look at (the case of) somebody, who left office about five years ago. This is an era of whistle-blowing. I am blowing my whistle: go and check CBN. That is the reason why, today, we have (this) recession. Today, dollar, at the parallel market, is N520. And there are allegations against the CBN; the way they give these dollars.

“This committee is challenging the EFCC to go and look at these records: what is our revenue in dollars? Who are the people collecting these dollars?”

He added, “People now buy these dollars and keep them in their houses. The amount of dollars in Nigeria in cash is more than the amount of dollars in the whole of the USA. If you (EFCC) tell us, we can cooperate with you and tell you (about) the people hiding these monies.

Go and see unoccupied buildings in Asokoro, Maitama and Wuse 2 (all in Abuja). For over five years, nobody will be there (in the buildings). And EFCC is not looking at these houses. A lot of transactions are taking place with ill-gotten money to the tune of N2bn or N3bn, and somebody will bring the money in cash to buy a house.

“Without digging into these landed properties and knowing their owners, you may end up being only after somebody who just left office, and arresting and detaining them for one week, and they will get bailed. And the business continues.”
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