THE chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, has sought more support from journalists in tackling corruption, urging them to use investigative reporting tools to expose corrupt practices.
This was disclosed in a statement that the EFCC spokesperson Wilson Uwujaren issued and signed on Saturday, April 29.
According to Uwujaren, Bawa made the call on Thursday, April 27, 2023 at a training workshop for journalists in Maiduguri, Borno state. The theme of the one-day workshop was, ‘Effective Reporting of Economic and Financial Crimes for Journalists’, especially those covering the agency’s activities.
The anti-corruption agency chairman called on journalists in the Northeast to be proactive and use investigative journalism tools to expose money laundering and terrorism financing.
Bawa, speaking through the Commander of the Maiduguri zonal command of the Commission, Oshodi Johnson, urged the participants to be alive to their responsibilities as members of the fourth estate of the realm, and to ask questions where corrupt practices were suspected.
He drew the attention of the journalists to the new anti-money laundering framework and told them to be conversant with it in order to inform the public and other stakeholders better.
In his words, “The Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022, Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act, 2022 and the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022 are new legislations designed to prevent and tackle illicit financial flows and money laundering in Nigeria.”
Bawa further urged journalists to monitor the activities of designated non-financial businesses and professions (DNFBPs) to determine their level of compliance with their obligations to the Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering (SCUML) under the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022, and the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022.
He pointed out that Section 56 of the Terrorism Act empowers SCUML, which is now fully domiciled in the EFCC, to refuse or revoke the registration of any NGO linked to terrorist groups.
Three papers were presented at the workshop. Chris Msheligaveed, in his overview of the anti-money laundering framework, drew attention to the important provisions of the new Money Laundering Act 2022 and the obligations for individuals and corporate bodies, while Obiageli Okechukwu spoke on ‘Digital Payment Statement: Emerging Opportunities for Fraud and Prevention Tips for Victims.’
Assistant Director, Public Affairs, Dele Oyewale, charged the Nigerian media to focus on investigative and developmental journalism, rather than on sensational news.
According to Oyewale, “The fight against corruption can be won if you journalists discharge your responsibilities professionally by engaging in investigative journalism with a focus on social justice and accountability.”
The EFCC said the workshop was organised to interface with journalists and deepen the relationship between the Commission and the media.