By Udora Orizu in Abuja
The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mohammed Umar, on Wednesday canvassed for the establishment of special anti-corruption courts to speed up justice dispensation.
Umar made the call while defending the 2021 budget estimate and presentation of the performance of 2020 budget of the commission before the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes.
Speaking on the challenges faced by the commission, he said: “Not highlighting challenges it seems all is well, we’ve highlighted challenges, some of which include the need to have a special courts to try corruption cases, issue of increase of personnel, lack of promotion for some of the personnel, we need to promote more.”
When asked why the commission has not been able to create offices in all states of the federation but still maintains only 15 offices, Umar said: ”It’s important to notify the House that up until the last three years, we only had eight state offices. It was in the last three years that five more state offices were established. It’s important to recruit more than establish offices across the nation.”
Speaking on why the planned recruitment of new staff in 2020 could not be carried out, he explained that it’s due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and therefore everything had to be suspended.
Giving an overview of the 2020 budget, Umar informed the committee that N32.694 billion was appropriated for the commission, made up of N24.999 billion as personnel cost, N3.600 billion overhead and N4.094 billion capital component.
He said as at the end of September 2020, only N25.136 billion was released, representing 76.88 per cent, adding that: “Personnel cost, N21.398 billion; overhead cost, N2.100 billion; and capital releases, N1.638 billion.”
According to him, “The sum of N24.999 billion was appropriated as the commission’s personnel cost. Out of this figure, the sum of N21.397 billion representing 86 per cent has been released for payment of salary and allowances of staff on the commission’s payroll between January and September 2020. The sum of N17.603 billion has so far been utilized as at the end of September 2020.
“The sum of N4.09 billion was appropriated for the commission’s capital expenditure. Out of this figure, the sum of N1.638 billion, which represents 40 per cent has been released as at the end of September 2020. The procurement process for the 2020 appropriation is ongoing and the fund will be utilized as the procurement process is completed.”
Earlier, the Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Isa Dutse, while commending the EFCC for judicious utilisation of their funds, however requested the acting chairman to furnish the committee with details of the capital expenditure.