23 November 2012

Nigeria: 'Big Thieves' Block Trial With Looted Money - EFCC Chairman

The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Lamorde, says the commission is helpless in convicting public officials who have looted the nation's treasury as they use their resources to stall trial.

Lamorde, while defending the commission's 2013 budget before the Senate Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes yesterday, also cited what he called a convoluted judicial system.

He said most of the 200 convictions recorded so far this year alone, were for advance fee fraud and cyber crime".

Lamorde said, "we have the commercial cases, we have the executives of financial institutions that are involved in currency trafficking. The cases that most people are interested in its conclusion are those before the Supreme Court.

Unfortunately, these are people who have the resources to drag these cases indefinitely and perpetually. That is why we have established a very strong assets forfeiture unit.

The first thing we do now is that we try to recover and confiscate the assets of individuals that we are investigating because it is only when you deprive them of their resources that you will be able to force them to stand trial. Once they have access to their resources and assets they will use it to continue to delay and drag some of these trials."

The chairman of the committee, Senator Victor Lar queried the EFCC for having spent N500million on travelling to prosecute cases.

He asked the commission to produce by today, copies of vouchers and other vital documents backing the spending.

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