EFCC probes casino owners, hoteliers, estate owners, others

By 10:41 Sun, 15 Nov 2015 Comments



• Vows to stop illicit funds flows

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission

(EFCC) has placed some designated non-financial

institutions on surveillance for Illegal Financial

Flows (IFFs).

They include casinos, estate agents, professional

bodies and associations, car dealers, hotels and

super markets.

The anti-graft agency took the decision after

intelligence reports pointed the institutions were

helping perpetrators of economic and financial

crimes to launder illicit funds.

The agency’s Director of operations, Olaolu

Adegbite, disclosed this in an interview with The

Nation at the weekend during a two-day “Second

Sub-regional Workshop on Curbing IFFs from

Africa” in Accra, Ghana.

Adegbite noted that the EFCC, Federal Ministry of

Commerce and other agencies were working

together to stop criminal activities in such

designated non-financial institutions.

IFF is money illegally earned, transferred or used.

At origin or during movement or use, the flow of

money has broken laws and is considered illicit.

It is different from capital flight, which is

understood as the movement of funds abroad to

secure better returns, often as a response of

unfavourable business climate in the country of

origin.

Nigeria topped four other countries in IFFs with

$89.5 billion as the highest outflow measured

followed by Egypt ($70.5 billion); Algeria ($25.7

billion); Morocco ($25 billion) and South Africa

($24.9 billion).

A report by Mbeki’s high level panel on IFFs said

they played a large and detrimental role in the

challenge of resource generation.

In the case of Nigeria, it said: “We remain

concerned about the effectiveness of the relevant

institutions, including the lack of cooperation and

coherent operations among the various agencies.”

Adegbite said the agency was committed to tackling

illicit financial crimes since they were at the root of

Nigeria’s and African nations’ financial resources

flows to other continents, poverty and under-

development.

He said the nation’s international borders had been

strengthened with crack detectives with the agency

collaborating with other national and international

economic and financial crime-fighting bodies.

“We are silently collaborating and sharing

intelligence with Presidential Taskforce on Cash

Smuggling, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), the

National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA),

other border agencies, Special Control Unit Against

Money Laundering (Designated Non-financial

Institutions) in conjunction with the Federal

Ministry of Trade as well as international economic

and financial crime-fighting bodies,” he explained.

The aim of such collaboration, he said, was “to

ensure that law on financial crimes are enforced,

such crimes stopped, perpetrators of economic

and financial crimes brought to justice and such

illicit proceeds confiscated”.

The EFCC chief noted that the motive of all

economic and financial crimes “is about money,

profit and greed”, adding activities like money

laundering and diversion of funds through corrupt

activities account for IFFs in Africa.

Adegbite said the magnitude of such crimes

confronting Nigeria and other African countries

could not be solved through enforcement alone.

”Rather, it has to be through a combination of

everything, including what the high-level panel

chaired by the former President of South Africa,

Thabo Mbeki, stands for.

“Other government agencies, international

organisations, countries and the media must also

add bites to anti-corruption war too,” the

commission’s director of operations said.

Adegbite explained that the EFCC was determined

to ensure the funds from IFFs and other corrupt

practices were prevented from going out of the

country.

”Once the funds get out, it is always difficult to

return,” he said.

But Adegbite said the EFCC and other security

agencies were collaborating and sharing

information, adding that such partnership could

not be made known to the public.

He mentioned the successes achieved by members

of presidential taskforce in arresting some

passengers trying to smuggle millions of dollars

out at the Murtala Muhammed International

Airport and others.

According to him, the taskforce members later

handed over the suspects to EFCC for prosecution.


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