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TERROR WAR: FG uncovers 520 B’Haram, ISWAP financiers, associates

..says 156 firms, BDCs involved too

…EFCC secures 2,220 convictions, ICPC 66

The Federal Government has said analysis by the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) on terrorism financing in the country, revealed that a total of 96 persons were involved. The government said 424 associates/supporters of the financiers as well as 123 companies and 33 bureaux de change involved in the crimes have also been identified. Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, at a press conference in Abuja, yesterday, disclosed that 45 persons arrested in connection with terrorism activities would soon be prosecuted and on conviction, their assets would be seized.

The minister stated that the NFIU has intelligence exchanges with 19 countries on the sponsorship of Boko Haram, ISWAP, banditry, kidnapping and other associated crimes. Mohammed, who also spoke on the administration’s fight against corruption, disclosed that between 2020 and 2021, the NFIU returned huge sums of money, in different currencies, fraudulently-obtained, to 11 countries of victims who came into Nigeria. According to him, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) secured a total of 2,220 convictions, in 2021, which is about 127 per cent increase of the 976 recorded in 2020.

“The 2021 figure of 2,220 convictions represents a 98.49 per cent success rate, with only 34 cases (representing 1.51 per cent) discharged. “On monetary recoveries, in 2021 alone, the EFCC recovered a total monetary amount of N152,088,698,751.64; £1,182,519.75; 50 Emirati Dirham; 1,723,310 Saudi Riyal; 1,900 South African Rand; US$386,220,202.85; €156,246.76; 1,400 Canadian Dollars; 5.36957319 Bitcoins and 0.09012 Ethereum. The last two are digital currencies,” he said. The sister agency, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other offences Commission (ICPC), the minister stated, also secured 66 convictions from the 243 cases it filed in court between 2019 and 2021. He added that the commission, through its Constituency and Executive Projects Tracking, initiated in 2019, traced 2,000 projects worth over N300 billion, between 2019 and 2021.

The minister also added that 326 contractors of abandoned projects across the six geo-political zones of the country were forced by the ICPC to return to site to complete projects worth N32.183 billion, within the period. Mohammed stated that the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), in 2021, issued 125,000 Assets Declaration Forms, out of which 97,201forms were returned, which he said, represent 48 per cent increase “in the number of assets declaration forms issued and an 81 per cent increase in submission compliance, when compared with the previous year.”

On its part, Mohammed said the NFIU has identified about N3. 91 trillion tax evasion relating to value added tax (VAT) and N3.74 trillion withholding tax due to the government. “NFIU has also sent 1,165 intelligence reports on cases of corruption, money laundering and other serious offences to 27 domestic agencies for investigation, prosecution and asset recovery,” he stated. According to the minister, the Federal Government has saved a monthly average of N4 billion in bank charges from the implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA), while 54,000 fraudulent payroll entries were detected as a result of the use of bank verification number (BVN) to verify the Federal Government’s payroll on the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS). Alhaji Mohammed stated that what the Federal Government was doing was to put structural and governance reforms to fight corruption.

 

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