By Oscarline Onwuemenyi
ABUJA— Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, has vowed to cleanse the anti-graft agency by setting up an Internal Affairs Department within the commission.
Lamorde made the promise to cleanse the commission, yesterday, during a courtesy visit by officials of the United States of America’s embassy in Nigeria and members of the Senate Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes, who were on oversight tour of EFCC facilities.
While addressing the Senate committee led by its Chairman, Senator Victor Lar, Lamorde said he held the visit in very high esteem.
The EFCC boss said: “This is the most important visit this year. This is so because the Senate is the legislative body that created the EFCC in 2002.
“We owe our existence to you. The committee is the bridge between EFCC and the Senate. The confirmation of the EFCC chairman and other board members of the commission are made possible by the Senate. The Senate, through the committee, had always appropriated money for us since inception. We thank you so much for assisting us all these years.”
He stated that the only way the commission can make meaningful impact in the fight against corruption is for the staff to be cleansed from within. He promised that under his administration, staff will undergo a lie test every six months.
Lamorde said: “For us to really move forward, the commission needs internal cleansing. Things have really gone wrong. We must deal with ourselves before we can deal with others outside. We have to look into the lifestyle of our personnel. We are going to embark on polygraph assessment of staff periodically.”
Earlier, the committee chairman, Senator Lar, said the visit was for the committee members to ascertain how the 2011 budget was spent and what the budget for 2012 looks like. The Senator also observed that anybody who followed the establishment of EFCC will know that things have not been the same, saying “your credibility ratings have fallen.”
Senator Lar said: “I saw the EFCC at inception; saw it when it nose-dived. Today, people say the best EFCC does is just to arrest. Once you get to the court you are set free and that is the end of it. It is not too good for the image of EFCC. God has given you the opportunity to right the wrongs.”
Lar, who led the committee on inspection of EFCC facilities at the Head office, Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU; Training and Research Institute, TRI and the 10-storey building at the permanent site of the commission on Airport Road, said they were impressed “by the resource utilisation.”
Cooperation with FBI
The EFCC chairman, who commended the US for taking the lead in law enforcement activities in the world, however, pleaded for more support in the area of training.
He said: “This is a very interesting moment in the history of EFCC; which is a continuation of the relationship between EFCC and the US. If there is any country that extended support to EFCC when we came on board in 2003 in terms of capacity-building and exposure, it is the United States.”
He asked for more slots to be availed the commission at the FBI Academy. Where that is not possible, he suggested that “the commission has a state-of-the-art training facility in Abuja. Your people can come over here to train our staff. That is if going to America for the training will be costly.”