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Create special courts for corruption, financial crimes, EFCC urges NASS

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EFCC

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has urged the National Assembly to establish special courts to handle cases relating to corruption in Nigeria.

This is just as the House of Representatives has queried the failure to allow the EFCC to retain five per cent of its recoveries for the running of its operations .

The Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mohammed Umar , had on Wednesday in Abuja appeared before the House Committee on Financial Crimes to defend the commission’ s 2021 budget proposal .

A breakdown of 2020 budget performance report showed that N 24 . 99 bn was appropriated for Personnel Cost , out of which the sum of N 21 . 397bn had been released for the payment of salaries and allowances of staff between January and September . The sum of N 17 . 603bn had so far been utilised as of the end of September 2020 .

The sum of N 3 . 6 bn was appropriated for Overhead Cost in 2020 , out of which N 2 . 1 bn had been released as of September 30 , with N 1 . 22 bn so far utilised .

Also , the sum of N 4 . 09 bn was appropriated for Capital expenditure , out of which N 1 . 638bn had been released as of September .
Umar told the lawmakers that procurement processes for 2020 capital project were still ongoing and the funds would be utilised as soon as the processes were over .

Umar said total releases to the EFCC as of September 2020 was N 25 . 136bn , representing 70 . 8 per cent of total appropriation . He said release for Personnel Cost was N 21 . 98 bn ; Overhead Cost , N 2 . 1 bn and Capital Expenditure , N 1 . 36 bn . He added that out of the total releases , N 18 . 23 bn , representing 74 . 88 per cent , had been fully utilised.

A member of the committee , Abdulganiyu Olododo , asked for details of the expenditures by the EFCC , saying as one of the agencies respected in the country, the commission needs to be open and accountable in whatever it is doing .Responding , Umar said , “ We were in the process of carrying out employment before the COVID – 19 ( pandemic ) set in and everything had to be suspended . That is why we have a balance in our Personnel budget of about N 4 bn .

“ We have highlighted our challenges , some of which include the need to have special courts to try corruption cases ; increase of personnel because we need to employ more ; the issue of promotion for our personnel . There is also the issue of security for our lawyers who complained that some of them are being kidnapped . Poor releases of capital funds is something that is being our control .

“ The issue of 5 per cent to be given as cost of collection like the one given to FIRS and Nigeria Customs Service and other revenue- generating agencies; I don’ t think that has been approved and we have not gotten anything outside the budgetary allocation and subsequent releases to the commission. The issue of 5 per cent is not really approved as far as we are concerned . ”

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