The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Monday in Abuja said it urgently needs capital injection for its continued operations as it currently has less than N2 million in its account.
The secretary of the Board of EFCC, Emmanuel Aremo, disclosed this at the public hearing on the Bill seeking to establish the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Agency, NFIA.
Aremo said the poor financial position of EFCC was made known to the Senate committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes during an oversight visit.
“If we can pay salary this month, that is all. That is the position under which we operate,” Aremo said.
Speaking against the bill, Aremo argued that the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU in the EFCC was discharging its responsibility efficiently without complaints from financial institutions, adding that if granted autonomy, the NFIU would become exposed to desperate politicians capable of securing court injunctions to frustrate its operations.
“All the NFIU needs is adequate funding to continue its work. This NFIA Bill is unnecessary and should be jettisoned,” he said.
However, the director, Legal Services, Central Bank of Nigeria, Amusa Ogundana, who represented the CBN Governor, said the apex bank supported the establishment of NFIA.
Ogundana, however, suggested that some portions of the NFIA Bill should be deleted because it imposed supervisory and regulatory functions on the agency.
“CBN is wholeheartedly in support of having this bill sail through. We believe it will strengthen the administrative and operational performance of the agency,” he said.
Also contributing to the debate, the representative of the National Drug Law and Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Joseph Sunday, said the NFIU lacked legal status.
Sunday, who is NDLEA’s director of prosecution services, said his agency supported the bill because it would empower the NFIU to effectively disseminate financial intelligence to law enforcement agencies.
Representative of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, Blessing Egbefor, said the bill, when passed into law, would strengthen the fight against financial crimes.
“NAPTIP supports the bill, so that theNFIU can discharge its administrative and operational functions with greater autonomy,” she said.
The Nigeria Police Force, NPF, the National Intelligence Agency, NIA, Department of State Services, DSS, and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, were among other agencies that supported the bill.
Earlier, chairman, Senate committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes, Victor Lar, urged the stakeholders to ensure that their inputs were in the national interest.
“In the National Assembly, we are driven only by national interest and considerations. Not individual and parochial interests. You should make contributions that would serve the national interest,” he said.
The bill seeks to establish a national agency that would receive information from financial institutions for the purpose of turning such information into financial intelligence.
The agency would then analyse, assess and disseminate the financial intelligence reports to all law enforcement agencies.