Senate makes case for proper funding of Anti-graft agencies

…faults transfer of forfeited assets to AGF office

By Haruna Salami
The Senate on Monday made a strong case for proper funding of agencies fighting corruption in the country just as it faulted the policy directive which mandated the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC to transfer all final forfeited  assets of crimes to the office of the Attorney General of the Federation for management. 

Chairman, Senate Committee on Anti Corruption and Financial Crimes, Suleiman Abdu Kwari made the case for the agencies when the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, ICPC and Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU appeared before the Committee on Monday for 2022 budget defence.

When the Director/Chief Executive of Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, Modibbo Hamman Tukur cried to the Committee that the agencies, which is new one had only N350 million for capital budget in 2022, the committee was surprised. 

Senator Yusuf (Taraba Central) promptly said it is an “under funded agency. You  fight corruption with this kind of money”.

It was clear to the Committee that the tolls the agency need for it’s work comprised mainly of “soft wares which are very expressive”.

Mr Modibo who appealed to the Senate for upward review of the allocation to enable the agency carry out it’s mandate without any hindrance. 

He also told the committee that the N4 billion  was proposed for personnel while N1 billion  is for overhead. 

In his concluding remarks,  the chairman of the committee noted that” some agencies are too important to be limited to envelope system if they must perform their mandates to the fullest”.

He therefore pledged that the committee will table the grievances of the anti-graft agencies to the leadership of the Senate for prompt action.

The scenario was similar when ICPC Chairman, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye also defended the agency’s 2022 budget and said that they lacked adequate provision for operational vehicles.

Prof. Owasanoye said the total budget proposed for  ICPC in 2022 is N12.9 billion of which N9.8 billion is for personnel cost , N1.8 billion  while only N1.3 billion is for capital expenditure .

Also, Senator Abba Moro (Benue South), a member of the Committee raised the issue of transferring of forfeited assets to AGF’s office and noted that it was wrong for the office of the Attorney General to be in possession of the forfeited assets of crimes. 

He said the assets needed to be disposed off for government to raise money to finance the budget. 
The Chairman of the EFCC who was represented by the Director of Finance, Gamma Joda Mohammed had told the committee that the EFCC acted in line with the policy directive issued since 2019 that all final forfeited assets should be transfer to the office of the Attorney General of the Federation for proper management. 

In his remarks, Chairman of the Committee, Sulaiman Abdu Kwarii said the EFCC Bill on Asset Management currently before the National Assembly is aimed at addressing the abnormality in the management of the final forfeited assets from crimes.
The Director of Finance  of the Commission while defending the 2022 budget proposal said the total fund proposed for the agency in 2022 is N31. 3 billion of which N25.8 billion is earmarked for personnel cost, N3.6 billion for overhead while the sum of N 1.8 billion is for capital expenditure.

The Director of Operations of EFCC,  Mr Abdulkarim  Chukkol who also spoke on the operation of the Commission, said EFCC only have 15 offices across the federation including the headquarters in Abuja .

The committee therefore pledged to jack up the Commission’s budget  to enable it execute its cure mandate.