4 February 2014

Nigeria: Theft of Public Funds Must Stop - Tambuwal

As part of efforts to stop looting of public funds by civil and public servants, the House of Representatives has moved to rectify loopholes under which financial crimes are perpetrated.

Speaking at a public hearing organised by the House Committee on Drugs, Narcotic and Financial Crimes on a bill to establish the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Agency Bill yesterday, the speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Aminu WaziriTambuwal said the time to put a stop to "haemorrhage" of the country's resources is now.

Tambuwal, who said this while declaring open the hearing, also noted that theft of public funds was easily carried out due to dubious accounting procedures.

"We believe that this level of financial impunity is possible because of dubious accounting procedures and the lack of a specialised agency that is able to get facts and details of these intricate web of corrupt practices and ensure that the perpetrators are successfully prosecuted," the speaker said.

"The House of Representatives of the Seventh Assembly is fully determined to do everything possible to check the haemorrhage of our national resources. We must make sure that the people we represent benefit from the democratic system they have sacrificed so much to make possible," he said.

According to Tambuwal, the Bill for an Act to Establish the Nigerian Financial Intelligence agency will help in rectifying the deficiencies in the nation's financial system, especially the number of loopholes that make it possible for people to perpetrate massive fraud and go unpunished.

He said, "We want to move our nation from the prevailing system whereby only a select few is privy to the complex way that money gets moved around in this country and so they could hide under the shadows and perpetrate all kinds of scam."

Meanwhile, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was absent from the public hearing yesterday but communicated its apologies via a letter addressed to the Hon Adams Jagaba- led committee.

Jagaba, who read the letter, said the agency sought a convenient date to make its presentations.

"Any group that is not here is free to forward its presentation to the committee's secretariat before Friday," the chairman said while responding to the letter of the EFCC.

EFCC's executive secretary, Emmanuel Adegboyega, had formerly kicked against the creation of the NFIA during a hearing in the Senate last December.

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