The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said it plans to set up anti-corruption desks in Nigerian foreign missions to fast-track tracing, recovery and repatriation of looted funds stashed abroad.
Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, announced this on Tuesday in Abuja at a five-day induction programme for the 45 non-career ambassadors-designate.
The EFCC boss expressed the belief that the move would complement the efforts of the government in the fight against corruption and recovery of looted fund.
“To enhance international cooperation in the fight against corruption, we will propose the establishment of EFCC desk, with our operatives deployed to collaborate with other law enforcement agencies in our foreign missions.
“They will assist in the investigation of crimes bordering on money laundering, cyber crimes, advance fee fraud and issues relating to asset recovery.
“We can start with the posting of officers to U.S., UK, France, Italy, Switzerland, South Africa and Ghana in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” he said.
Magu expressed concern that asset recovery process was time consuming, complex and required a great deal of resources, expertise and political will.
According to him, the anti-graft agency has a strong network of law enforcement friends with INTERPOL, Metropolitan Police in UK, FBI in the U.S., among others.
He said that the relationships had enabled the EFCC to often bypass long queues of bureaucracy to help each other in joint investigations and intelligence sharing.
“This is evident in celebrated cases we have investigated and prosecuted abroad, especially in successfully tracing and recovering assets of ex-governors.
“They include Joshua Dariye, DSP Alamieyeseigha and James Ibori as well as the fraudster Emmanuel Nwude,” he said.
He reiterated the zero tolerance stance of President Muhammadu Buhari on corruption and urged the ambassadors-designate to join in the fight against corruption to save the nation and its unborn children.
He said a chunk of Nigeria’s wealth had been stocked and hidden in foreign countries by highly placed persons which adversely affected the economic growth and advancement of the country.
Magu said that the new ambassadors had a crucial role to play in the recovery of the funds.
He said that the agency had already dispatched its operatives to some countries in that regard and challenged the ambassadors-designate to be of great assistance to the nation’s course.
He charged them to work in synergy with international agencies such as the INTERPOL, FBI among others.
“It is expected that as ambassadors and high commissioners, you will network with other countries’ embassies to assist in law enforcement activities aimed at tracing, freezing, confiscation and repatriation of stolen assets across jurisdictions,” he said.