Few days after his disclosure that the National Assembly are working on a bill that will ensure a first line charge funding of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes, Senator Victor Lar has again reiterated the law makers’ resolve to amend the EFCC Act to ensure direct statutory allocation to the agency in line with international best practice.
Senator Lar’s assurance came on the heels of his Committee’s oversight visit to EFCC on Wednesday October 9, 2013.
“If government is truly committed to fighting corruption then EFCC, the National Assembly and indeed every well meaning Nigerians must be proactive in ensuring that the Commission is well funded as in other climes where statutory allocations to such agencies are directly given”.
Senator Lar said the purpose of the visit was to interface with the Commission, inspect and find out how it has fared with the 2013 budgetary allocations. He added that the visit is also to enable the Committee sharpen its sensibilities to the challenges the Commission is facing with a view to finding solutions to them.
He further stated that the Committee’s visit was to find out and ensure that there is accountability in running the affairs of the Commission in order to ensure that there is no corruption in the fight against corruption.
At the Commission’s head office building currently under construction, which was one of the locations visited, Lar and his colleagues expressed their satisfaction with the progress of work despite funding challenges.
Earlier, the EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde who thanked the Committee members for their visit, briefed them on the implementation of the agency’s 2013 budget. According to him, the Commission’s approved budget for 2013 was Ten billion, Three Hundred and Twenty-eight Million, One Hundred and Fifty-five Thousand and Twenty-two Naira (N10, 328,155,022.00).
Lamorde disclosed that as at September 30, 2013 the Commission received a total of Eight billion, Four Hundred and Eleven Million, Four Hundred and Forty-one Thousand, Two Hundred and Sixty-two Naira, Ten kobo (N8,411,441,262.10) representing Eighty-one point four percent (81%) of the total budget.
The Chairman also informed the Committee that the EFCC has been enjoying tremendous assistance from donor agencies since its inception which includes supply of equipment in addition to local and international strategic capacity building for its staff.
Lamorde however lamented the severe financial constraints under which the Commission is currently operating stressing that this has affected practically all sectors of its operations.
“Given the level of increase in operational activities with offices in six geo-political zones of the country in the over ten years of its existences, the level of funding ought to improve significantly rather than declining.” Lamorde lamented.
The EFCC boss appreciated the effective intervention of the Senate Committee under the current year’s budget which according to him yielded substantial adjustment in the Commission capital allocations.
Senator Lar was accompanied on the visit by Senators Umar Dahiru, Abubakar Sadiq Ya’ardua, Kunlelere Bolarwaruja and other legislative aides.