By Dirisu Yakubu, Abuja
Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa, Wednesday, pledged the readiness of the commission to work hand-in-hand with the Fiscal Responsibility Commission, FRC, in blocking budget leakages and recovering operating surpluses withheld by agencies of government.
The EFCC boss made the pledge while playing host to the FRC chairman, Victor Muruako who led his team on a courtesy call to the EFCC boss in his Abuja office.
A statement signed by the EFCC head of media and publicity, Wilson Uwujaren the FRC boss as identifying absence of enforcement powers in the Commission’s enabling law as a major weakness, hampering its efforts in enforcing fiscal transparency among agencies of government, and requested the intervention of the EFCC to enable it achieve its mandate.
“Fiscal Responsibility Commission, FRC recognizes that we can hardly achieve our key aim and objective of ensuring the long term stability of the nation’s economy without the assistance of your Commission. For one, we believe that the credibility of the economic system in Nigeria is a prerequisite for achieving economic stability and this is where EFCC comes in,” he said.
Muruako also urged the EFCC to revisit the memorandum of understanding, MoU, between the two agencies with a view to expanding the frontiers of cooperation and collaboration. He particularly called on the EFCC to assist in the training of her personnel to improve their capacity to effectively police what he calls, ‘blue chip government agencies’.
Responding, EFCC boss, Abdulrasheed Bawa expressed dismay at the antics of some government agencies that consistently undercut government in terms of revenue remittance. He advised the FRC chairman to ensure that they beam their searchlight on the activities of consultants who are used by Ministries, Departments and Agencies to siphon government funds.
“There are a lot of leakages out there. While you are monitoring budget, I will want you to pay a special attention on Consultants, all these Build, Operate and Transfer, all these Public Private Partnerships. There is a lot of corruption embedment in behind the scene deals”, he said.
Bawa assured the FRC Chairman of EFCC preparedness to achieve the objective of securing Nigeria from all forms of economic and financial crimes as well as providing the necessary support and training to boost the professionalism of FRC staff.
“I want to assure you that the EFCC knows your importance, knows your capabilities, knows the information that you can give us is invaluable. We want to assure you that, like any other thing we do here, when somebody says something, we are certainly going to do something about it. We are in this together; Nigeria is the only country that we have. We are serving the same government, we are serving the same master which is our fatherland and we should be able to collectively work towards achieving that mandate”, he said.
He offered to accommodate officers of the FRC in the proposed fraud audit of ministries and agencies soon to be undertaken by the EFCC, but noted that the selected staff will have to be trained to be part of the assignment.