Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes commission (EFCC) Ibrahim Lamorde, yesterday revealed that between January and August this year, over N14 billion was laundered out of Nigeria in cash.
Lamorde disclosed this while speaking at the 2012 international anti-corruption day celebration with the theme "ACT....Help Detect corruption Risks Today," organised by the Inter-Agency Task Team (IATT), a coordinating forum of agencies with anti-corruption and accountability mandates, in Abuja.
Lamorde said about $9 million cash was intercepted at the various airports across Nigeria by a combined effort with the Nigeria Customs Service and other security agencies.
He said, "Nigerians launder money out of this country cash, you find someone taking $7 million cash in his briefcase and flying out of Nigeria. You wonder why people should do that when we need the money here for development."
While calling for better funding to strengthen some of the anti-corruption agencies and review of the legislature to fast track trail of corruption related cases, and prevent suspects from obtaining court orders to prvent them from being tried, he said that about 40 subsidy thieves have been charged to court so far involving the sum of N420 billion, while the EFCC have arraigned 353 corruption related cases and obtained 53 convictions in 2012.
"If the suspect or accused person has right the victim also has right. Somebody cannot steal from you and then have more rights than the victim of the crime. In the whole world there is no where it happens but only in Nigeria that somebody can steal money and then go to court to obtain order for him not be arrested or investigated or prosecuted and it was granted.
"If u grant somebody an order that he cannot be touched for corruption related cases then even armed robbers can obtain such orders, this a dangerous precedence in this country," Lamorde stressed.
Earlier in his address, chairman of the IATT and Chairman of the NEITI board, Ledum Mitee, noted that corruption has continued to thrive in Nigeria despite the array of anti-corruption agencies because the institutions are weak even as leadership at all levels is yet to genuinely fight corruption.