11 December 2012

Nigeria: N2.2 Trillion Taken Abroad Through Airports in Eight Months - EFCC

Photo: Crashdburned/Flickr
Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria.

More facts emerged yesterday on the amount of cash taken out of the country through the Nigerian airports, as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission put the figure at $14 billion (N2.2 trillion).

Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, said the amount was taken out from January to August, based on records in his office.

Speaking at a lecture to commemorate the International Anti-Corruption Day in Abuja, Lamorde said the money is equivalent to half of this year's budget. Nigeria's total budget for 2012 is N4.7 trillion.

Recently, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria Sanusi Lamido Sanusi raised alarm that about $11 billion cash has been taken away through the Nigerian airports, this year.

Lamorde said there was an instance where a single individual was caught trying to smuggle $7 million cash from the Murtala Muhammad Airport, Lagos. He said the money might likely belong to corrupt officials.

He said fight against corruption is a tedious assignment in Nigeria because of the intrigues involved. Lamorde said this year alone, the commission has filed about 323 cases in various courts but the greatest challenges is the delay in judgment.

He said one of the greatest challenges they are facing is delay in judgment of corruption cases, saying that the average life span of a corruption case is seven years.

He said there are cases of ex-governors that are still pending in the courts since 2006, and yet there are no judgments.

He advocated for special courts that will handle corruption cases. He commended the new leadership at the Supreme Court and Appeal Court on some recent judgments.

In his remark at the event, Chairman of the Inter-Agency Task Team Ledum Mitee said Nigeria has an array of legislations and institutions for fighting corruption...but still the corruption remained a hydra-headed problem in the country.

Mitee Identified institutional weaknesses in terms of capacity building, funding, coordination and leadership at all levels as part of the problem.

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