EFCC recovers N450b, debt, assets

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By Emman Ovuakporie
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has so far recovered funds and assets worth  N450billion ($3billion) with a conviction of over 80.

This was disclosed yesterday by the Chairperson of the Commission, Mrs Farida Waziri during an interactive session with newsmen.

According to her, the commission under her leadership recovered N450 billion in the last two years, majority of which was from the banking sector.

On former ministers that were dropped by the Federal Government, Waziri said, “it was the SSS that screened them and we can only take action if in the eventuality their successors found them wanting in the course of discharging their duties while in office we can then step in.

“As for indicted officers, I think it is even morally wrong, particularly when a prima facie case has been established against such a person and you now allow such a person to run for an elective post, it is like a murder suspect you now allow him to contest when he has not been discharged and acquitted.”

She also explained that the anti-graft agency “is fast re-strategizing to re-position the agency in the area of operations in a bid to achieve maximum success and ensure that suspects show remorse over their actions.”

“Towards this direction, we will start handcuffing suspects and give serious training to our operatives in the area of carrying arms particularly pistols to safeguard their lives while carrying out their duties.

“We have sent some of our direct staff to go on training and we will continue to train them on a regular basis as arms carrying is a sensitive issue and we have requested for a shooting range for their practice.

“This has to be done considering the manner that our operatives go about their duties without arms and the recent killing of our officer, as you know our men are always in the front with the back up behind.”

On Chief James Ibori’s case she said: “Despite the 170-count charge that is hanging on his head that we are contesting at the appeal court, elders in Delta State have forwarded a fresh petition which we are looking into seriously.”

On why Lucky Igbinedion has not handed over the properties in his possession after his conviction, Waziri explained that “the manner he was convicted is still being contested  at the Appeal court and taking over the properties from him has to be arranged by our lawyers.”

She, however, warned her detractors saying: “We remain dedicated to the course of cleansing our society from the ills of corruption and no amount of mudslinging and sponsored advertorias will alter our focus  towards achieving our goals.

It could be recalled that the apex bank had last year August embarked on banking reforms that swept some new and old generation banks off their feet and had their Chief Executive officers fired over what it  described as unwholesome banking practices bordering on alleged illegal acquisition of loans, shares and procedures.

It was reportedly said that well over N750billion were declared as non-performing loans.

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