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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has explained the reason it had an unspent N4 billion in its 2020 Budget.

The response is sequel to an earlier query by a member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the House of Representatives, Zakaria Nyampa, on why the EFCC had N4 billion unspent in the 2020 budget approved for the commission.

In response to the aforementioned query, the commission disclosed that the unspent money is meant for recruitment of staff. The disclosure was made to the News Agency of Nigeria, by the Acting Chairman of the Commission, Mr. Mohammed Umar, on Wednesday in Abuja, during the Commission’s budget defence, before the House committee on EFCC, where he proposed a total of N29.86 billion for 2021.

Mr. Umar stated that the recruitment was initially scheduled for this year but postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic which affected the country as a whole. In his own view, the stalled recruitment accounts for why the unspent sum of N4 billion were recorded.

In addition, Mr. Umar disclosed that the commission had earlier made submission to the committee with full details of assets recovery, convictions secured and other relevant cases that the committee ought to know.

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He highlighted some of the challenges faced by the commission including late release of funds for capital projects, lack of special courts to prosecute corruption cases, dearth of eminently qualified personnel, among others. He stated that the five per cent meant to be retained in the agency as part of money recovered, had not been given to the commission as is the norm in other places.

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Commenting on the issue of poor funding, Mr. Umar said, “I don’t think the five per cent to be retained in EFCC for assets recovery has been approved, because we have not gotten any money outside the budget approved,” he said.

Speaking further, he rationalized the idea of equipping already existing offices in the country, rather than embarking on a white elephant project. In his view, “It is better we equip the 15 offices than acquiring more, because some are not adding values to our investigations, so we are thinking of closing them.’’

Allaying the fears raised by the commission, the Chairman of the House Committee, Ibrahim Dutse, assured the commission of his willingness to assist it in carrying out its statutory duties, adding that all kobo allocated to the commission will be expended.

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