Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Lamorde yesterday described the establishment of the commission in 2003 by the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo as one of the major steps towards the rebirth of the nation.
Lamorde stated that prior to the establishment of the EFCC, Nigeria’s image in the international community had been dented owing to economic and financial crimes perpetrated by some individuals and organisations.
He further said Nigeria had been synonymous with money laundering, weak law enforcement and ‘419’ before the creation of EFCC, adding that the citizens had been harassed at international ports of entry.
Lamorde, who spoke through the Deputy Director, Public Affairs , Osita Nwajah, at the Induction Certificate Course newly elected legislators, organized by the National Institute for Legislative Studies, NILS, yesterday at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, also noted that before the establishment of the EFCC, Nigeria had been blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force, FATF, isolated and dishonoured from international businesses.
He, however, stated that the war against corruption and other economic crimes by the EFCC contributed to the de-listing of Nigeria from the FATF blacklist of Non-Cooperative Countries and Territories, NCCTs.
Lamorde further highlighted the successes so far recorded by the Commission to include “Robust enforcement of economic and financial crimes, anti-money laundering law, routing of notorious ‘419’ and engendering renewed inflow of Foreign Direct Investments.”
Answering questions on the issue of plea bargaining, Lamorde, who lamented lack of insurance for staff of the Commission in spite of the dangers associated with the job, described it purely as a matter of judicial function.
According to him, most suspects often resort to plea bargaining when confronted with volume of evidences against them.
“Most suspects don’t want to go the whole hog. They change their pleas of not guilty to being guilty. It is done all over the world.”