A total of three million advisory mails sent to potential foreign investors by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has saved them from losing over $12 billion to fraudsters in less than two years.
Chairman of the anti-graft agency, Mrs Farida Waziri disclosed this while addressing a private sector track session at the United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries which came to a close in Istanbul, Turkey, weekend.
Speaking on “Anti-Corruption And The Challenge Of Increasing Capital Flow To Africa: Reforms, Result And The Road Ahead”, the EFCC boss enumerated the various strategic steps that have been taken by the Nigerian government through the anti-graft agency to check corruption and make the country safe for foreign investments and investors alike.
Some of the reforms that have been successfully carried out in Nigeria’s anti-graft campaign in the last three years, she said include: creating a transactions clearance platform, TCP to interface with offshore investors and entities, sustained sensitization and public awareness campaigns, capacity building for operatives and judicial officers, partnership with microsoft against internet scam, recovery and return of proceeds of advance fee fraud crimes, intense prosecution and conviction of corrupt public officers as well as sanitization of the banking sector among others.
While explaining some of the results of the various initiatives, Waziri said the TCP she created some 18 months ago had helped tremendously to boost foreign investors confidence in the Nigerian business environment.
According to her, “we have created the Transactions Clearance Platform (TCP). The TCP which can be accessed at our website,www.efccnigeria.org, is designed to do basic due diligence for anyone who gets a business proposal from Nigeria.The TCP will confirm the authenticity of the business, the individuals behind the business and the track record of the business. It will not confirm the profitability or otherwise of a business or indeed help in procuring license and approvals. In the past 18 months after its existence, it has processed over 17,000 requests. Using sophisticated tools of detecting potential cybercrime, it has also sent advisory mails to over 3 million foreigners that would have been defrauded of billions of dollars in proposed transactions worth over $12 billion dollars. From the foreground, it is obvious that the EFCC has remained a major anti- corruption agency in Nigeria that has earned the confidence and applause of the international community in Nigeria ’s fight against corruption.”
To further assure the gathering that Nigeria is now safe for foreign investments, Waziri also said, “the Commission’sconcerted effortsand collaboration with other regulatory agenciesin sanitizing the banking sector and the stock market have not only gained more points for Nigeria in the Transparency International’s global corruption perception index, but haveyieldeda whopping sum from debtors of the non-serviced loans facilities across the troubled banks. This in effect has boosted the local and international confidence in the county’s financial sector with Nigerians in Diasporayearning to return with viable investment profile. This is indeed a step in the right direction.”
She further stated that,”the Commission recognizes the need to adopt adequate measures to further forestall irregularities that may undermine democratic principles and practice which are all critical in the war against corruption because it cannot address the issue of corruption, poverty and security without giving priority attention to good leadership and management that would bring about transparency and accountability in governance. This no doubt prompted the EFCC with the assistance of the donor agencies to vigorously drum up support for enforcement ofthe anti- graft laws and other regulations relating to transparency and accountability by public officers to curb corruption in governance. This has led to a measure of stability in the economic and political landscape as a viable democratic culture evolves. This is evident in the just concluded electoral process in the country. The exercise is widely hailed as free and fair by both local and international monitors and it is widely believed that the process with will rekindle global confidence in Nigeria .
Terrorism financing and money laundering are twin most deadly financial crimes thathave portrayed the country in bad light as foreign investors would not have anything to do with Nigeria. But with the active implementation of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) 40+9and the passage of the anti-terrorism law by the Nigeria government, that has changed. Also, the Commission succeeded in breaking the link between tax evasion and money laundering/ terrorist financing through Project Eagle claw. Over $20 million US dollars has been recovered to government coffers through this effort.”