The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has proposed to set up anti-corruption desks in Nigerian foreign missions to fast-track the recovery of looted funds stashed abroad.
The Acting Chairman of the commission, Ibrahim Magu stated this Tuesday at a five-day induction programme for non-career ambassadors-designate in Abuja.
He said operatives of the commission and other law enforcement agencies would be deployed to the Nigerian missions abroad.
Magu said the operatives would assist in the investigation of crimes bordering on money laundering, cybercrimes, advance fee fraud and issues relating to asset recovery.
“We can start with the posting of officers to US, UK, France, Italy, Switzerland, South Africa and Ghana in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” he said.
The EFCC boss however, lamented that asset recovery process is time consuming, complex and requires a great deal of resources, expertise and political will.
According to him, the asset recovery process, which includes tracing, freezing, confiscation and repatriation, presents unique challenges rooted in international relations and diplomacy.
He therefore said collaboration with other international agencies is important in the efforts to recover looted assets.
Magu said the EFCC has a strong network of law enforcement friends such as the INTERPOL, Metropolitan Police in UK, FBI in the US, among others.
These relationships, he added, has enabled the EFCC to often bypass long queues of bureaucracy in joint investigations and intelligent sharing with international law enforcement agencies.
“This is evident in celebrated cases we have investigated and prosecuted abroad, especially in successfully tracing and recovering assets of ex-governors Joshua Dariye, DSP Alamieyeseigha and James Ibori as well as the fraudster Emmanuel Nwude,” he said.
Magu also acknowledged the importance of an independent anti-graft agency, saying “securing full cooperation of the country’s leadership to facilitate and give a free hand to law enforcement institutions to carry out their statutory roles is key in achieving success in the fight against corruption – more so when there is an international dimension.”
He urged the ambassadors-designate to key into the anti-corruption agenda of the present administration and take the lead in the identification, tracing and return of stolen assets in foreign countries.