Deji Elumoye in Abuja
The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu, on Tuesday reviewed the activities of the commission in 2018 saying a total of 315 people were convicted for various economic and financial offences while N11.5 billion was also forfeited to government during the period under review.
Magu, who appeared before the Senate Committee on Anti-corruption and Financial Crimes to defend the commission’s 2019 budget estimates disclosed that in year 2018, the EFCC obtained 315 convictions, and had within the first three months of this year, obtained 160 convictions.
On recoveries, he stated that N11.5billion was recorded in final forfeiture, N133.8billion in non forfeiture recoveries, N8.92billion in direct deposits, N38.12billion in tax recoveries, N1.82billion in Subsidy Recoveries, and N42billion from Banks (Third Party), totalling N236billion in 2018.
These, according to Magu, “are in addition to recoveries of various sums in other currencies, other assets, jewelries (gold) and recoveries for major government agencies including NNPC and AMCON.
“In the first quarter of the 2019 Financial Year, the Commission made recoveries which included: N140.7million in cash, N2.021billion in direct deposits, N7.20billion in tax recoveries, N3.06billion in subsidy recoveries and -$0.292billion.”
Magu lamented that incomplete releases of both approved overhead and capital estimates, had in no small measure, negatively impacted the ability of the Commission to meet its pressing needs and obligations.
He also decried that only 54.17% was released in 2018 while 40.06% of capital expenditure had been released so far with only two and half months to go to the end of extended 2018 capital budget year.
According to him, the Commission has challenges in huge maintenance cost of new head office building, inadequate resources to manage a huge and growing fixed asset forfeiture base, inadequate ICT infrastructure.
According to him, “there is presently the complete absence of internet services at the New Head Office and zonal offices, including other related ICT service deliveries. The Commission requires a minimum of N800m to upgrade its present state of ICT infrastructure.”
In defending the commission’s N22.070 billion budget proposal for 2019, Magu said the figure represents a 16.38% decrease from the 2018 budget of N26.392 billion.
The 2019 fiscal year, sees a 14% increase in the Personnel Cost proposal from 12.717 billion in 2018 to 14.491billion in 2019.
The increase according to the Acting Chairman of the Commission, “accommodates the salaries and allowances of 970 additional staff approved for recruitment, who are expected to be fully enrolled on the personnel cost platform in 2019.”
This, he further said, “comprises 332 Assistant Detective Superintendents, 293 Assistant Detective Inspectors currently undergoing training at NDA Kaduna and 95 support staff that recently joined the services of the Commission.”
Magu considers the capital budget approval inadequate in view of the Commission’s N2.02billion outstanding liabilities to Julius Berger, N1.5billion cost runs on its new head office complex, N0.299billion liabilities for consultancy on new head office, N0.47billion for purchase of security equipment (ammunition), N1.1billion, on furnishing of new head office building, development of the permanent site of the EFCC Academy, Lafia; renovation of the old EFCC head office building, Wuse 2, Abuja, and the renovation of the Lagos Zonal Offices (10 Okotie Eboh and 15 Awolowo Road.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Anti-corruption and Financial Crimes, Senator Chukwukwa Utazi, in his comments, described the 2018 budget performance of the Commission as “a huge success.”
He added that, “the committee will support every incentive of the anti-graft agency in terms of insurance cover, housing scheme, upward review of salaries for staff and that a certain percentage of funds recovered should be allocated to staff for better welfare. It is sacrosanct to ensure the insurance cover for such a multi-million naira edifice as the EFCC Headquarters in view of the fire incident that happened in the EFCC, Wuse 2, Abuja office last year.”