The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is infuriated about properties in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the United Kingdom (UK) purchased by corrupt Nigerians.
On Wednesday, the Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, hinted that the commission will go after such assets.
Bawa spoke while receiving a document from a coalition of Nigerian Civil Society Organizations led by the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA).
Olanrewaju Suraj, HEDA Chairman, presented the ‘Fixing Nigeria’s Illicit Financial Flows’ report compiled by Professor Gbenga Oduntan of Kent University.
Bawa charged citizens to be vigilant and play their part in checking the illicit flow of the nation’s resources out of the country.
“It is one thing for properties to be taken to the UAE and the UK, it is another thing that we ensure that you don’t have the opportunity to take them out in the first instance,” he stated.
Bawa promised a more proactive approach to law enforcement and the fight against corruption.
The financial watchdog chief explained that part of EFCC’s mandate is to ensure that proceeds of crime are identified and repatriated.
“It is not an easy task. UK, UAE have their laws and procedures, but we have agreements that we are signatories to, to discuss issues of information sharing, investigation as well as repatriation of ill-gotten assets,” he added.
Bawa, however, reacted to the controversy his statement on assets declaration by bankers generated.
He reminded critics that the EFCC has the power to demand asset declaration forms of Nigerians in both private and public sectors.
“EFCC said look, come June 1, we will be demanding for copies of bankers’ asset forms. We never said come and declare to us. We have studied the law, we have the power,” he noted.
Bawa stated that corrupt persons and organisations taking funds out of Nigeria were not perpetrating illegality alone.
“The are conspirators; engineers, professionals, accountants and financial institutions are helping them”, he added.
The Centre for Human Rights and Social Justice (CHRSJ) said bankers should not be afraid of revealing their assets if they had nothing to hide.
The organization accused financial institutions and their officials of aiding and abetting criminals.