The Federal Government has reportedly spent N6trn on fight against terrorism since 2008, while about N5.4tn was lost to tax evasion by multi-national corporations operating in the country between 2011 and 2021.
The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa disclosed this on Friday while presenting a paper titled, ‘Combating Crime, Corruption and implication for Development and Security’, at the 38th Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime, organised by the Centre for International Documentation on Organised and Economic Crime, Jesus College, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom (Uk).
This was contained in a release by the EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, titled, ‘In UK, Bawa calls on world leaders to rise to the challenge of fighting corruption.’
According to Bawa who was represented by his Deputy Chief of Staff, Sambo Mayana, between March when he took office and now, the anti-graft agency has recovered over N6bn from financial and economic saboteurs.
While citing a report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, he stated that resources that could support a country’s development are lost through criminal acts such as corruption, tax evasion, money laundering, and others.
Bawa said, “The spoiler effects on countries’ development processes are diverse, and particularly severe for fragile states: economic crime, including illicit financial flows, diverts much needed resources needed to rebuild countries’ public services, from security and justice to basic social services such as health and education.”
According to him, records show that as at August 2021, the EFCC had recorded over 3,408 convictions.
“From the time I took over as the Executive Chairman, on the 5th of March 2021, we have recovered over N6bn; over $161m; over £13,000; €1,730, 200 Canadian dollars; CFA 373,000; ¥8,430 and 30 real estates.
“We have arrested over 1,500 Internet fraudsters, many of whom are being prosecuted,” he said.
The EFCC chairman noted that the absence of substantial improvement in the living condition of the people in Africa and the rest of the developing countries, despite their natural resource endowment, can be blamed on pervasive economic crimes including embezzlement by government officials.
He added, “The incidence of illegal mining, smuggling of goods, tax evasion, illegal oil bunkering, illegal arms deals to mention a few does not allow the government to receive the full accruals from the continent’s vast resources that are needed for development.
“The revenue generated are embezzled by government officials and their collaborators in the private sector. This does not allow for economic growth and by extension a hindrance to development.”