The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, has stoked fresh controversy around the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), stating that its suspension by the Egmont Group was the product of “misinformation”, and that claims of seeking its autonomy were mere ploy by politicians to destroy the EFCC.
Magu made these statements while receiving at the headquarters of the EFCC in Abuja, Adama Coulibaly, the Director General, Inter- Governmental Action against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), the institution of ECOWAS responsible for facilitating the adoption and implementation of Anti-Money and Counter-Financing of Terrorism in West Africa.
He stated that a carefully developed plan to destroy the EFCC was through the creation of a new Nigerian Financial Intelligence Agency (NFIA) which had partly been accomplished through a bill that had been passed by the Senate.
Magu added that the suspension of the NFIU from the Egmont Group was based on ‘misinformation’ by those who were determined to incapacitate the EFCC, describing it as a case of “corruption fighting back”.
The EFCC boss said, “Politicians are behind the NFIU crisis, because they want to destroy the achievements recorded by the EFCC”.
He argued that the speed with which the legislature took the NFIU out of the EFCC was suspicious, and smacked of ulterior motive.
Magu said, “There is a complete misunderstanding about the workings of the NFIU, and it is surprising that the new bill by the legislators pushing for removal of the NFIU from the EFCC was passed in seven days”.
He added that it was “a practice that has never happened in any part of the world”.
He, however, stressed that the EFCC was not in conflict with the NFIU, stating that, “I have confidence in the management of the NFIU and the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering and the relationship is very cordial and professional”.
He added that the EFCC was “very much in support of the NFIU’s autonomy”.
Magu proposed that the African continent should consider the establishment of an association of African Financial Intelligence Units.
Responding, GIABA DG, Coulibaly pledged support for the EFCC and the Nigerian Government to ensure the speedy lifting of the suspension of the NFIU from the Egmont Group.
While commending the EFCC for leading the anti-corruption crusade in Nigeria, he said the agency’s achievements were not only for the country, but for the African continent as well, adding that the EFCC was a key partner of GIABA’S.
“If this suspension is not lifted early, it is going to have a negative impact not only on Nigeria, but the West African region”, Coulibaly stated.
He added, “We are here to express our support to Nigeria on this noble objective of fighting corruption”.
Coulibaly said Nigeria would host GIABA’s plenary between November 13 and 19, 2017.
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