Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa, has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the strong political will he has demonstrated in tackling the menace of illicit financial flows, IFFs, and other acts of corruption.
He gave the commendation on Saturday, September 24, 2022 in New York, United States of America, while serving as a panellist at a High Level Side Event, at the margins of at the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, UNGA. According to him, there are four critical factors in dealing with the problem of IFFs: political will, necessary legal framework, capacity by those saddled with the responsibility of enforcing the required laws, and the fear of God. Of these factors, he said Buhari’s political will, is second to none.
“The political will provided by President Muhammadu Buhari is second to none, as the election of President Buhari in 2015 strengthened the resolve to tackling IFFs and corruption in Nigeria”, he said. Bawa says that the various steps taken by the administration, such as, implementation of the Treasury Single Account, TSA, policy, the signing of the various Executive orders to deal with illicit enrichment, empowering the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, to have a Beneficial Ownership Register of all companies in Nigeria among others, have greatly pushed the frontiers of success against IFFs.
He noted that the signing of the Money Laundering Prevention and Prohibition Act , 2022, Terrorism Prevention and Prohibition Act, 2022, and the Proceeds of Crime Act , 2022, are legal instruments aimed at strengthening the existing domestic measures in combatting IFFs. He particularly appreciated Buhari for approving $ 10 Million for the EFCC as a take- off grant for the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering , SCUML.
The effects of Buhari’s political will, in tackling IFFs, Bawa noted, have greatly enhanced the performance of the EFCC, such that, as at September 23, 2022, the Commission has secured 2595 convictions, which is an improvement on its conviction figures of 2220 in 2021, 312 in 2018, and 195 in 2016. He concluded that, for a global response to food security, countries should ensure that effective measures are in place to prevent outflow and inflow of IFFs.
The EFCC’s boss spoke on the theme: “Food Security Response: Combating Illicit Financial Flows and Securing Asset Returns for Sustainable Development,” jointly organized by the EFCC and the African Union Development Agency–New Partnership for Africa’s Development/Africa Peer Review Mechanism (AUDA-NEPAD/APRM) Nigeria. He was a member of a five- man panel which included: Dr. Mohammed Mahmood Abubakar, Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development , Dr. Abdoulie Janneh, member, Panel of Eminent Persons, African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), Dr Fatima Khan of the Princeton University and Prof Ezrah Aharone, Founding Director, Centre for Global Africa, Delware State University.
Buhari gave a Keynote Statement at the event, while Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, gave an opening address. Chief of Staff to the EFCC’s Chairman, Mrs Hadiza Gamawa Zubairu in a closing remark, commended the member states of the AU and stressed that, key points highlighted in the thematic areas should be implemented by member states , as innovative solutions to the problems of food security and iFFs.