The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has recovered the sum of $3.1billion, which is over N600 billion, in less than six months, the chairman of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Financial Crimes, Hon. Kayode Oladele, has said.
The lawmaker, who spoke to select journalists in Abuja yesterday, also noted that the public need to understand that not all recovered property, cash or any other asset by the anti-graft agency are immediately forfeited to the government’s coffers as they remain exhibits until when a judicial pronouncement is made by the court.
Oladele pointed out that the often questioning of the agency’s modus operandi by politicians was just to cast aspersions on the integrity of the EFCC in its effort to rid the country of corruption.
“People just bring up questions to discredit and to reduce the credibility of the agency. So far, with an agency collecting $3.1 billion in less than six months, people should really give them a lot of accolades,” he said.
On the status of the recovered monies by the EFCC, Oladele said “When you talk of money being remitted to the national treasury, it is something you have to look at very well in a different perspective because when you collect money and unless somebody voluntarily says ‘this money is stolen’ and he is really giving it up, any money collected by EFCC, unless there is voluntary admission of guilt, is still regarded as an exhibit for the purpose of conviction.”
“So, EFCC cannot just collect money and begin to pay into national treasury. What if at the end of the day the person from whose hand they collected the money is acquitted? Who will pay back the money?” he added.
Oladele, however, said the agency operates a Recovery Account where the recovered funds are deposited to yield compound interest, noting that an accused will get his money back with accumulated interest in the event he or she is not convicted.