Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, has vowed to assist the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), to recover monies going into trillions of naira being owed it by businessmen, women and companies.
“We are ready to work with you, we will render assistance in terms of enforcement, in order to recover these loans, because they are affecting the economy of the country from flourishing,” he said.
Magu made the declaration while receiving a delegation from AMCON, led by its Chairman, Muiz Banire (SAN), and its Managing Director, Ahmed Kuru, who came on a familiarisation visit to the EFCC Headquarters, Jabi, Abuja on Tuesday.
Expressing the resolve of the anti-graft agency in ensuring the recovery of the monies, Magu further called for collaboration and a re-evaluation of the modus operandi of the Corporation.
“In order to recover these loans, there is need for inter-agency collaboration, going beyond the EFCC to the police, the court, Central Bank of Nigeria, NDIC, because there is need for AMCON to re-strategise and block loopholes,” he said.
Banire, who revealed that the total loan today stood in excess of N5trillion, noted that “this is the money that belongs to all Nigerians, if N5trillion can be injected into our economy in Nigeria, particularly infrastructure, hospitals will change, education will change, the road we use will change and definitely everything will change positively”.
While commending the readiness of the commission to assist the corporation, he acknowledged the “giant strides the EFCC has accomplished in the recent past, not just in the number of convictions, but even from the exposure and calmness in taming the extravagant lifestyle of people stealing” public funds.
He also used the opportunity to highlight the efforts of AMCON in debt recovery, dating back to its creating to “absorb most of the loans during the time that the banks were collapsing, in order to strengthen the banks”.
According to him, the loans were about N3.7 trillion, adding that during that time, the debtors were in excess of 12,000 people and through the efforts of AMCON, the figure was reduced to around 7,000.
He however, noted with dismay that though the number reduced overtime, “there are a few owing with impunity and taking just about 20 of them, we will be talking about people owing close to N2trillion”.
He thus called for more collaboration with the EFCC in the areas of due diligence during the processing and granting of loans.
He said: “We believe that we must work harmoniously with the EFCC, if we want to recover these funds particularly in areas of granting of the loan where a lot of sharp practices are done in areas of compliance or over-inflation of the value of the assets used as security.
“Our conviction is that the EFCC is where the solution lies, and this is where we will be able to recover the loans with lesser expenses in prosecuting cases.”
On his part, Kuru appreciated the EFCC’s support, noting that the AMCON desk domiciled in the EFCC has been helpful in the recovering of billions of naira. “EFCC is key to the results that we have so far achieved,” he said.