THERE is some merit in the popular saying that the morning does not always tell the day. What those who hold this viewpoint mean is that it is misleading to use the morning weather as an indicator of what the day’s weather would look like. According to them, a sunny morning can give way to a rainy evening and also a rainy morning can give way to a sunny evening. This also applies to human activities. Usually, how one starts his life may not be the way he ends it and vice-versa .This analogy also holds true for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, which started in 2003 as a bright morning sun giving Nigerians a false hope that the war against corruption was at its final stage. But somewhere along the line, it acted as the weather and disappointedly gave way to the evening rain. Today, it is another story of a misplaced hope. Corruption cannot be tamed. Instead, it has grown into a big institution and taken the war against it to the camps of its enemies with devastating effects. The EFCC is a child of circumstance established in response to international pressures mounted on Nigeria by the Financial Action Task Force, FATF, on money laundering which named Nigeria as one of the 23 countries that had refused to co-operate with the international community in its war against economic and financial crimes. Nigeria was then threatened with economic sanctions if it still carried on with its non- cooperative stance.
The Commission was set up under the EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2003, as the designated Financial Intelligence Unit, FIU, in Nigeria. Its mandate included investigation of all cases of financial crimes among them advance fee fraud, money laundering, counterfeiting, illegal charge transfers, futures market, fraudulent encashment of negotiable instruments, credit card fraud and contract scam. It was also empowered to adopt measures to identify, freeze, confiscate or seize proceeds derived from terrorist activities as well as those from economic and financial crimes-related offences. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Commission. Ordinarily, the anniversary should have been an occasion for celebration and popping of champagne. But the anniversary date has come and gone without notice apparently because there was nothing to celebrate. Besides, the Commission, according to Ibrahim Lamorde, its chairman, is broke and cannot even meet its obligations to lawyers handling its cases. If this is the situation, then how has the EFCC been carrying out its mandate? Is the Commission dead? These were some of the questions that prompted us in Realnews, to decide to take a critical look at the activities of the Commission in the past ten years. From our findings so far, it is most unlikely that the EFCC can win the war against corruption in Nigeria. This is the basis of this week’s cover story entitled: Corruption War EFCC Can’t Win. It was beautifully crafted by Anayo Ezugwu, one of our versatile reporters. It is a must- read story. Enjoy it.
— Nov. 11, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT