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The EFCC Chairman and his guests

UK Baroness hails new EFCC under Olukoyede

The EFCC Chairman and Baroness Verma Sandy

Baroness Verma Sandy of Leicester, Member of United Kingdom, UK’s House of Lords on Friday, May 17, 2024 lauded the Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr. Ola Olukoyede for repositioning the Commission on the paths of professionalism and effectiveness, expressing confidence that the EFCC will help change the global perception of Africa and build new confidence in the continent.

The Baroness who led a six-man delegation of UK-based African Leadership Organisation gave the commendation  in a parley with Olukoyede at the Abuja corporate headquarters of the Commission.

“We are so glad to be here. It is important having this organization led by somebody who has brought incredible positive changes to the country. And I want to thank all of your colleagues here for engaging with us today. I believe passionately on the strength of the African Continent. I am not connected at all to Africa, but I have been a champion for a continent that has under-estimated its own strength but has got so much to offer the world. And I think your organization will help change the perceptions and build new confidence. So,  I am so pleased and honoured to be here,” she said.

The EFCC boss thanked the Baroness and her delegation for identifying with the Commission and acknowledging its efforts in shaping better narratives for the country.

“On behalf of the entire management of EFCC, we are glad to have you in our midst. I want to thank you for identifying with what we do. You have an interest in Africa and I want to tell you that Africa has great potential. The major problem is bad governance. We need good governance to channel our human and natural resources rightly and bring Africa on top of the world”.

“That is what people like us are advocating using the instrumentality of law enforcement and anti-corruption fight. Corruption is something we have to deal with. Every challenge we face in our daily life, insecurity, bad governance, lack of infrastructural development are all linked to corruption”, he said.

The EFCC Chairman used the occasion to applaud President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for the liberty of operation he has accorded the Commission in the pursuit of its mandate and explained the wisdom behind the new trajectory of the Commission under his leadership.

“Upon my assumption of office I said I will use the instrumentality of the anti-corruption fight to stimulate growth in  the economy because while enforcing laws against financial crimes, we also enforce against economic crimes. Anything can vitiate economic and infrastructural development, we are empowered by law to investigate it and bring the offenders to book. In this part of the world you have to be courageous in order to realize your mandate. One thing that is going for us is the political will of the president. The government in power is supporting us and not interfering in what we do”, he said.

 Continuing,  he said,  “We have tried to bring some innovations in the way we do things. Traditionally,  the EFCC has been concentrating more on investigation and prosecution and I discovered that the more we do that,  the tougher the problem becomes. We are now trying to shift our focus, not necessarily away from enforcement but we are looking more on the paths of prevention. We are looking more at the cause of the problems.”

He restated that the corruption in Nigeria is rooted in systems and enabled by weak institutions which are unable to enforce compliance.

“Fundamentally,  there is nothing wrong with Nigerians. Nigerians are good people. Given they find themselves outside the country and given the right ecosystem, you see Nigerians perform excellently well.  We are looking into our systems; we are looking into our structures; we are looking into what actually allows corruption to fester in addition to making people account for their bad deeds while in office. So,  we concentrate more on prevention now”, he said.

He further stated that the EFCC is  looking at the systems and procedures involved particularly in the area of contract and procurement activities.

“What we deal with is white collar crime, which is non-violent. So we want people to own the fight. When you see something, you say something”

“That is what we are asked to do and that is exactly what my team has been doing and I can assure you that we have made some appreciable progress in the area of stimulating the economy, in the area of arresting foreign exchange sharp practices and to ensure that money stolen from the coffers is also recovered. As we are pursuing the criminals, we are also pursuing the money”,  he said.

 

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