â€¢ Proposes N21.69bn budget in 2018Â â€¢Lawmakers reject commissionâ€™s bid to own radio station
James Emejo in Abuja
The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, on Monday disclosed that the commission recovered over N473.06 billion as criminal proceeds from various individuals during its operations in 2017.
In addition, he said Â£294,851.82; $98,258,124.97; â‚¬7,247,363.75 as well as South African Rand of 70,500.00 and Dirham 443,400.00 were also recovered in the period under review.
Speaking during the commissionâ€™s budget defence session with the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes, which is chaired by Hon. Kayode Oladele (APC, Ogun), he said late and insufficient release of appropriated funds constituted a challenge in the implementation of its capital expenditure for last year.
According to him, the commission is proposing a total of N21.69 billion appropriation for the 2018 budget compared to N17.2 billion in 2017.
Capital expenditure is estimated at N7.07 billion; personnel N11.01 billion and N3.6 billion in overhead cost.
The commission further proposed the sum of N230 million for lawsuits, though Magu said this was still not enough given the magnitude of litigation against the agency.
He also hinted at plans by the commission to float a radio station for the propagation of its mandate and to create public awareness on corruption.
But a member of the committee, Hon. Nkem Abonta (PDP, Abia), however, said he does not believe the agency needed an independent radio outfit for now, particularly at a period when government is trying to cut costs.
He instead advised it to buy slots on existing media outlets and air its programme if it so wishes to utilise the mass media for its operations.
The committee also expressed concern over the overall budget of the anti-graft agency, noting that it is too low to effectively perform its duties.
To this end, Magu informed the lawmakers that the original proposal was N45 billion for this year but was reduced to N21.69 billion by the executive.
Worried by the development, the committee argued that for an agency which is expected to rake in trillions of naira to federal coffers, and deter looting of public funds, it was only reasonable to strengthen it to be more efficient in its duties.
The lawmakers generally expressed satisfaction at the implementation and performance of the commissionâ€™s previous yearâ€™s budget.
Nevertheless, Oladele said the lower chamber Â had through the committee demonstrated its commitment to fighting corruption, betrayal of trust and abuse of office.
He said the committee had done a lot for EFCC in addressing the issues around paucity of funds. And ensuring the agency is well-funded in recent times, adding that funds have been allocated towards the completion of its head office which is expected to be ready in March.
The chairman, also appealed to the judiciary, state and local governments and other stakeholders to support the work of the EFCC in the fight against corruption.