In a move that is likely to impact negatively on the anti-corruption war in the country, the Federal Government has reduced the budget of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2013 by over N11.7 billion.
The chairman of the anti-graft agency, Mr Ibrahim Larmode, disclosed this Monday at a budget defence session with the House Committee on Drugs Narcotics and Financial Crimes.
Lamorde said the EFCC had proposed N21,028,488,772 billion to fund its operations but lamented that only N9,328,159,022 billion was approved and presented as part of the 2013 Appropriation Bill.
He said that the shortfall in funding may hinder the anti-graft agency from fully meeting personnel and other operational costs next year.
Larmode also told the committee that the Federal Government failed to release N25 million allocated to the agency for the purchase of arms and ammunition in the current year.
The chairman, House Committee on Drugs Narcotics and Financial Crimes, Hon. Jagaba Adams Jagaba, decried the poor funding of the commission and urged the executive to make a positive change if the war against graft must be won. Jagaba decried the non-release of budgeted funds to the EFCC by the Federal Ministry of Finance.
"It is even more saddening when funds have been appropriated for the agency in the budget of the federation by the National Assembly and the funds are not released. We are not happy because if truly we want EFCC to work, EFCC must be funded properly. We cannot expect the EFCC to work with nothing.
"For instance, during the 2012 budget consideration, we discovered that nothing was proposed under legal services; the committee then appropriated N200 million for legal services, but the executive said no to that. We are calling on those saddled with the release of budgeted funds to release the balance of your money under the 2012 budget," Jagaba said.
Earlier, Lamorde had defended the budget proposal of N21,028,488,772.90 for 2013, before the National Assembly.
He gave the breakdown of the proposed budget as follows: capital expenditure: N11,412,803,582.50; personnel cost : N6,514,525,127,00; and overhead cost : N3,101,160,063.40.
Recalled that the chairman of the Senate Committee on Drugs, Narcotics, Financial Crimes and Anti-Corruption, Senator Victor Lar, had also on November 22, advocated proper funding of the anti-graft agencies if the war against corruption and economic crimes in Nigeria is to be taken seriously.
The senator had said that there exists a want of harmony between the verbal pronouncements of the government and the financing of the fight against economic and financial crimes.
Ndoma-Egba also said that more needs to be done with regards to building capacity of staff of the EFCC.