Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Lamorde, yesterday gave account of his stewardship in the fight to curb the movement of illicit funds across Nigeria’s borders.
He said that there had been significant drop in currency outflow outside Nigeria since 2013 such that only N160.9billion ($807,585,061.70) was involved in the illegal transactions in 2014.
According to him, currency declaration dropped from $9,926,739,648 to $1,324,045,617.00 and further declined in 2014 to $807,585,061.70 (N160.9billion).
To eradicate the problem, Lamorde advocated improved financial intelligence-gathering by EFCC and other law enforcement agencies so that the war on terror can be won.
He said: “A reputable strategy to fight insurgency is to deprive the insurgents of funds, because there is no dispute that illicit funds movement across borders fuels organised crimes, including terror attacks and insurgency in Nigeria.
“There is an urgent need to strengthen our financial intelligence architecture to enable us effectively monitor cash trails and check illicit cash flow to organised criminal gangs,” he said.
Lamorde spoke at the opening of a five-day inter-agency training programme on “Cross Border Financial Investigation” organised by the United States Department of Homeland Security for officers of the Nigeria Police, Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, and the EFCC.
He stressed that “till now, the major concern in the fight against insurgency is on how the insurgents fund their operations within the sub-region.
“While tremendous progress has been recorded in strengthening the Anti-Money Laundering Regulations and the Compliance Regime in Nigeria, monitoring the movement of cash outside the financial sector, remains a major challenge, because of Nigeria’s predominantly cash-based economy,” Lamorde said.
The EFCC boss applauded the commitment of the United States government to assisting Nigeria surmount its contemporary challenges through institutional development.
His words: “It is gratifying that this programme is coming a few weeks after the historic visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to the United States, where he and President Barack Obama pledged to deepen the cooperation and friendship between our two countries.”
Lamorde, who said he had always considered the United States as a dependable ally in the fight against economic crimes and corruption in Nigeria, explained that the record of partnership between the EFCC and major US institutions, such as the Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, United States Postal Inspection Service, United States Secret Service, among others, bears testimony to this.
The Deputy Chief of Mission, United State Embassy, Maria Brewer, said that the training would expose participants to new trends and techniques in combating economic and financial crimes.
“Since economic and financial crimes is a global phenomenon, the training will focus among others, on taking away proceed of crime, because when you take away the money, you take away why people do crime,” she said.
Other dignitaries at the opening ceremony included Benjamin Bryan, Acting Director, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement US Mission Abuja; Steve Robinson, Attaché, Department of Homeland Security Investigation, DHSI; T. A. Hundeyin, Deputy Comptroller General of Immigration, who represented the NIS boss, and Alhaji Hamisa Lawal, Commander of Narcotics, who represented the NDLEA boss.


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