THE ROLE OF ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL CRIMES COMMISSION IN THE MANAGEMENT, CONTROL AND ERADICATION OF CRIME
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Several years of military misrule and mismanagement had weakened the economic management processes and institutions in Nigeria. There was no transparency and accountability in government (Public Sector) and private sectors and Nigeria became notorious for endemic corruption. The result was the inability of government to deliver services to the Nigeria public. Most private companies both in the oil and non-oil sector have constantly evade taxes and have collide with officials to evade custom duties and payment of taxes. In addition, widespread perpetration of economic and financial crimes like advance fee fraud (419), money laundering, cyber crime, banking fraud and endemic corruption have had severe negative consequences on Nigeria, including decreased direct foreign investment in the country. Consequently, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was established as one of the mechanisms for the prevention, investigation and prosecution of corrupt practices and economic and financial crimes in the public and the private sector. Finally, this research work is aimed at looking into the various contributions of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in promoting financial accountability and transparency. To achieve this aim five research questions were developed. The study adopted the survey research approach using the three study areas. The EFCC Lagos, EFCC Enugu and PHCN formed the population of the study. A sample size of 55 was choosing using Taro Yamane’s model while simple random techniques was used to select the sample. Data retrieved from 55 completed questionnaires were subsequently presented in tables while simple percentage were used to analyse and answer the research questions formulated to guide the research work. After the analysis of data, the hypotheses tested reviewed that the contributions of EFCC has effectively promoted financial accountability and transparency in Nigeria. Therefore, the researcher recommends the following: developing an intensified information technology, staff training, capacity building and health care fraud control.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Fraudulent activities, economic mismanagement, corruption, lack of accountability and transparency have been the bane of the economy. Fraud and criminality remained elusive and therefore brought inefficiency in the system, especially in the public sector.
This menace lead to the establishment of EFCC in 2002 by an Act of the National Assembly which was later amended in 2004. It was borne out of the determination of the Federal Government to root out corruption and sanitize the Nigerian economic environment by enforcing all economic and financial crimes laws.
The Act mandates the EFCC to combat financial and economic crimes and the Commission is empowered to prevent, investigate, prosecute and penalize economic and financial crimes. Also, the EFCC is charged with and has been investigating cases of abuse of office, diversion of public funds through fraudulent award of contracts, tax fraud, illegal bunkering, terrorism financing, capital market fraud, cyber crime, banking fraud, etc.
With a mission to curb the menace of corruption that constitutes the clog in the wheel of progress; protect national and foreign investments in the country; imbue the spirit of hard work in the citizenry and discourage the crave for ill-gotten wealth; identify such ill-gotten wealth and confiscate them; build an upright work force in both public and private sector of the economy; and contribute to the global war against financial crimes and terrorism financing; the advent of the EFCC has impacted positively on Nigeria’s global acceptance being a turning point in the country’s anti-corruption crusade.
Since its establishment, the EFCC has taken the bull by the horns working tenaciously to fulfill its mandate. Under the current leadership, it vigorously pursues its mandate of investigating cases earlier highlighted; the Commission has made concerted efforts in identifying, tracing and freezing, confiscating, or seizing proceeds derived from such illicit activities. EFCC, from inception, has also played host to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), vested with the responsibility of collecting suspicious transactions reports (STRs) from financial and designated non-financial institutions, analyzing and disseminating them to all relevant government agencies and other FIUs all over the world.
So far, the Commission has been able to and still recording successes in several areas of its mandate. Among others, it has recorded several convictions on corruption, money laundering, oil pipeline vandalism and related offences. Assets and money worth over $11 billion have been recovered from corrupt officials and their cohorts. The Commission is tenacious with over 65 high profile cases at advanced stages of prosecution in several courts in Nigeria and over 1500 other cases in court and secured over 600 convictions.
Before then there were other provisions of Financial Crimes Laws such as:
Money laundering amendment Acts 2003, No 7; 1995, No The Advance fee fraud and other related offences Act 1995 as amended.
The failed Banks (Recovery of Debts) and financial malpractices on Banks Acts 1994 as amended.
The Banks and other financial institution Act 1991 as amended.
Miscellaneous offences Act 1983.
Any other law or regulations relating to economic and financial crimes including the Criminal code and penal code.
The commission is also designated to Nigerian financial intelligent unit (NFIU). It is thus, substantial that our problem is not the absence of legislation (Law) or the deficiencies in them but the total neglect to enforce them have been the plight of disaster
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
A nation where financial and economic crimes are endemic cannot attain economic stability, growth and development. According to Irving Kristol’s (2OO7), the problem is always far more important than devising a solution, for he who can define the problem has always exercised a large degree of intellectual sovereignty over the range of possible solutions that must be imagined
Nigeria being a country where corruption is pandemic has been rated both domestically and internationally as a corrupt nation. Public officials take huge bribes and the cost of public goods and services are inflated, government often pays for non-existent goods and services. Even when such corrupt practices are exposed, it has always been played to the gallery and sacrificed at the alter of backside bargaining. The corrupt practices that have characterized and painted the nation black include fraud, embezzlement, falsification of financial information, obtaining by false pretence, lack of transparency and accountability among others.
These evils have in no small measure negated economic stability, growth and development in our country. Experience has shown that both the public and private sectors have continued to suffer inefficiency and ineptness and that growth indices and graph are having a downward slope. This has brought the pertinent question — are there adequate control measures and checks to stem this ugly tide (corruption)?
Poor and insincere policy conception, formulation and implementation on economic and financial crimes in Nigeria have been responsible for the low achievement recorded in curbing and stamping out economic and financial crimes in the country.
Hence, the emergence of the “Economic and financial crimes commission to enhance financial accountability and transparency in Nigeria.”
1.3 AIMS/OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major aim of this study is to assess the contributions of EFCC in promoting financial accountability and transparency in Nigeria. The objectives include:
1. To examine the responsibilities and functions of EFCC.
2. To carry out a comprehensive analysis on the contributions of EFCC in detecting and controlling fraud in Nigeria.
3. To examine how effective EFCC contributions benefited Nigeria public and private sectors since her inception.
4. To examine the contributions of EFCC in enhancing financial accountability and transparency.
5. To effectively examine the achievements and successes of the commission.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What are the responsibilities and functions of EFCC?
2. What are the contributions of EFCC in detecting and controlling fraud in Nigeria?
3. How effective EFCC contributions benefited Nigeria public and private sector?
4. What are the contribution of EFCC in enhancing financial accountability and transparency?
5. What are the achievements and successes of the commission?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
Also in line with objectives and research questions are the hypotheses of this study.
1. EFCC has no responsibilities and functions assigned for her.
2. EFCC contributions cannot benefit the Nigeria public and private sector.
3. There is no achievement and successes on the side of the Commission.
4. The contributions of EFCC cannot enhance financial accountability and transparency.
5. EFCC as a machinery cannot effectively detect and control financial and economic irregularities in Nigeria.
1.6 SIGNIFICANT OF THE STUDY.
The research work will be useful and moreover be a source of information to the followings • Government with this research work will be witty and aware of the extent the activities of EFCC has contributed in administration and controlling of fraud in Nigeria. It will also be of great significant in examining the area of weakness and how best to improve them for effective regulation of fraud.
• To the academic, the research work will help them formulate more theories and strategies that will enhance the effectiveness of EFCC in ensuring financial accountability and transparency. It will also contribute to the enrichment of literature on EFCC and serve as a body of reserved knowledge to be referred to by researchers.
• Public sector, by this we mean all government parastatals, institutions, ministries, corporations etc. FIUs work will expose them to the activities of EFCC.
• Private sector: By this we mean individuals and corporate bodies who have contributed their resources to provide goods and services to the public at a profit. They carry out their various activities which are expected to be done within the ambits of laws and legislations governing their operations. They include sole proprietorship, partnership, corporate organizations among others.
1.7 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY.
The scope of this study tries to take a holistic view of the activities of EFCC in Nigeria and how these can help improve financial accountability and transparency. It embraces their operations both in the public and private sectors with the aim of improving financial efficiency.
This research work would suffer many set-backs due to a lot of reasons. One of such is the inaccessibility of information from the office of EFCC. Presently, they are security conscious and unwilling to disclose information and plans available some write ups and journals which would have been helpful for this research work. Ideally, the work should have involved more states but due to some inherent constraint such as time and money but effort would be made to at least touch a great number of states to have a balance view of this research.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS.
This is an acronym for Economic and Financial crimes commission. It is a commission created by an act of the National Assembly in 2002 and was amended in 2004. It is charged with the responsibility of investigating and enforcement of all laws against economic and financial crimes.
The crime of deceiving somebody in order to collect money or goods illegally. It also means a person who pretends to have qualities and abilities, skills etc that he or she does not really have to deceive others.
• It is an acronym for Nigeria Financial intelligent unit. It is an autonomous central national agency, domiciled within EFCC with responsibility of receiving and analyzing financial information.
This means a special kind of examination of accounts or records carried on by an investigator with the predefined purpose according to the necessity of the situation (Chike Nwoha 2003:33).