World Bank to strengthen EFCC with support on capacity building, facilities

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Nahimat Adekoga

The World Bank is to support the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with facilities and capacity building to further strengthen the anti-graft war.

A statement signed by the EFCC spokesman, Mr Wilson Uwujaren on Friday said the bank’s Director of Governance Global Practice, Dr Ed Olowo-Okere, gave the indication when he visited the commission head office in Abuja.

Uwujaren quoted Olowo-Okere as saying that the assistance would be rendered under an operation of the World Bank called ‘Economic Governance Project’.

“It is supposed to be a follow-up project to the one approved by the World Bank in 2004.

“The Ministry of Finance has said that one of the agencies it would like us to work with and support under the project is EFCC”, Olowo-Okere said.

The World Bank director lauded the commission for the “tremendous feat’’ it had attained in the last 14 years of its establishment.

Responding, the EFCC acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, commended the bank for its assistance, saying it had contributed in no small measure to the successes recorded by the commission so far.

Giving a recap of the history of EFCC, he said, “When we started EFCC, there was no money.

“We borrowed money from Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) for effective take-off of our operations.

“When the international community saw the sincerity in us, they got convinced by our commitment towards prosecuting the anti-corruption war.

‘’We were able to arrest and put in cell those high profile criminals that nobody dared to touch before,” he said.

Magu further said the commission got a lot of attention from development partners, particularly the World Bank.

He also said that it was with the financial assistance from the World Bank that the EFCC Academy was constructed.

The EFCC boss said that the British and American governments were also of great support to the commission.

He, however, expressed concern over the delay usually experienced in the dispensation of corruption cases as well as the occasional conspiracy between criminals and law enforcement agents leading to perversion of justice.

He told his guests that EFCC needed training in money laundering which, he said remained a new concept that most judges and prosecutors needed to understand better.

Magu also informed the delegation of the low budgetary allocation to EFCC and expressed his desire to have the construction work on the commission’s permanent site completed, this year, for effective performance.

“The proposal made to the World Bank will go a long way in the completion of our permanent site as most of our offices are rented and scattered around town.

He said the development has exposed ‘’us to risk of confidentiality and coded surveillance by outsiders.’’

The EFCC boss listed other needs of the commission to include ICT infrastructure, upgrading of the forensic laboratory, surveillance tools and operational vehicles.

He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for making the fight against corruption a cardinal focus of his administration.

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