The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) has vowed to probe the alleged stolen assets worth over $400m kept in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
An investigation by a coalition of civil society groups led by the Human and Environmental Development Agenda, (HEDA Resource Centre), had alleged the sum was stolen by some unnamed politically exposed persons.
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Prof Gbenga Oduntan of Kent Law School, University of Kent, United Kingdom, the lead researcher that conducted the investigation into the discovery of the loot presented the report to the EFCC Chairman, Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa, in Abuja on behalf of several civil society groups and foreign technical partners.
The report of the investigation was presented last week amidst outrage in the human rights community.
A statement by HEDA quoted the EFCC as assuring that the report would be investigated.
Chairman, HEDA Resource Centre, Mr Olanrewaju Suraju, said his group was determined to expose corrupt people whereever they are, adding that recovering funds looted from Nigeria remains one of the focal points of his group.
The illicit proceeds, he disclosed, represent some 800 assets out of which 216 are owned by 13 top Nigerian security officials.
In his remark, Bawa who personally accepted the reports praised the efforts of the civil society groups in assisting anti-graft agencies to fight and subdue corruption.
He said the fight against corruption is not an easy task. “It is not what EFCC can fight alone. We need to do a lot to make it not attractive for people to steal. If we want to stop illicit funds, we need to stop the inflow.”
The EFCC Chairman said the EFCC will go after those involved in illicit financial flow in line with his commitment to fight corruption. He said it is part of the EFCC mandate to retrieve the proceeds of crime cross-national jurisdiction.
Bawa said, “We have a lot of bilateral and international relations and agreements that bring us together with our partner law enforcement agencies in countries under consideration. It is one of our duties to ensure the prevention of the property being taken at all and to ensure they are not taken out of the country. They cannot take the funds out of the country without collaborators, adding that states and institutions should ensure honest and transparent procurement procedures.
He said the EFCC values collaboration with civil society groups set up to promote public good. He counselled NGOs not to allow themselves to be used by criminals seeking the primitive accumulation of wealth.