Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFFC) has expressed its readiness to begin carrying out due diligence on any entity that indicates interest in the purchase of government assets in order to prevent corrupt elements from using the privatisation process as a means of laundering illegally acquired funds.
Acting EFCC Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, gave the indication when the Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr. Alex Okoh, paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.
Magu told Okoh that “we will be willing to support you against any threat that will discourage investors from coming into the country, and in order to achieve this, I think we need to establish a common desk for a seamless synergy.
“Once again, I seize this opportunity to thank the BPE, and I am happy to tell you that the baby you nurtured has now outgrown its parents as the EFCC today can boost of a befitting head office complex which was made possible by our determination and support from the current administration.”
He thanked the BPE for its support during the evolution of the commission, saying the N100 million received from the BPE as takeoff support helped the commission to start its operations, adding: “If we hadn’t gotten that money, we wouldn’t have been able to kick start.”
The money, he said, brought some seriousness into EFCC’s operations and “we started arresting those fraudsters who hitherto were seen as ‘untouchable’ moving around with convoys and sirens. Many of them were arrested and jailed and the commission recovered substantial amounts of money on behalf of so many victims from them which were restituted to the victims.”
A statement issued by the Head of Public Communications of the BPE, Amina Tukur Othman, said during the visit,
Okoh had expressed the willingness of the Bureau to partner the EFCC to ensure transparency in all the processes of the reform and privatisation programme of the federal government.
He stated that the activities of the bureau reflected the principles of transparency that the EFCC is known to propagate.
Okoh commended the anti-graft agency for its recorded achievements over the years, especially in the sanitisation of the country’s economy which he said has increased investors’ confidence.
The BPE boss, who was decorated during the visit as Anti-Corruption Ambassador by Magu, said he was at the commission to solicit the EFCC’s support in ensuring that the activities of the BPE are better monitored.
According to him, “the EFCC has provided a platform and atmosphere that have enhanced comfort and confidence in the investors who we directly deal with on a regular basis-the kind of comfort to engage and invest in this economy.
“The BPE is an agency of the government that is mandated to provide sector and enterprise reforms as they relate to government and state owned enterprises.”
He informed his host that the bureau had over the years conducted transactions in the various sectors of the Nigerian economy which have brought huge revenue to the federal government and improved service delivery.