11 Nov 2016

EFCC Boss Cries Out Over 'Light Punishment' Given to Convicted Money Launderers by Nigerian Courts

The EFCC boss has expressed disappointment at the term of prison sentences given to convicted money laundery offenders as he calls for a review of the law.

The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu has expressed displeasure with the seven-year term of imprisonment in the Money Laundering Act.

He said for a crime of such magnitude, severe punishment should be handed to offenders. He spoke yesterday at a one-day seminar organised by the Lagos State University (LASU) Faculty of Management Sciences at the university campus. It was themed: “Money laundering and its impact in Nigeria”.

Magu said: “The enforcement and compliant with Money Laundering Act is one of the best in Africa. But I’m not very comfortable with the seven-year imprisonment spelt out in the Act. We should have a more severe punishment."

Magu opened up that some bankers, lawyers and accountants are behind the stealing of trillions of Naira from the government and expressed regrets that corruption is on the increase in the public sector.

He said about 1,578 cases of money laundering and embezzlement were recorded in the public sector between 2012 and 2013.

He said by 2014, diversion of public funds offences made up 60 per cent of public sector corruption and money laundering cases investigated by the commission.

He said:  “Over the last one year, investigation and prosecution activities have been stepped up by the commission.  We have trained our spotlight on a number of high profile corrupt public servants and politicians.

He added: “In 2012, the Commission investigated 700 public sector corruption and money laundering cases representing 25.91% of the total cases investigated by the commission in that year.

“The year 2013 witnessed a sharp increase with abuse of office, embezzlement/ extortion and money laundering topping the list.

“Fraud, economic sabotage, abuse of office and tax evasion have remained constantly on the increase.

“Altogether, a total of 878 public sector corruption and money laundering cases were investigated by the commission in 2013, representing 21.66 per cent of all cases investigated in the same period.

“In 2014, diversion of public funds offences made up 60 per cent of public sector corruption and money laundering cases investigated by the commission.  Taking all these statistics into consideration, the commission has intensified its monitoring of trade-based money laundering.

“In 2013, alone the Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering (SCUML) registered 16,447 Designated Non-Financial Institutions (DNFIS), a tremendous increase from the 1,042 registered in 2012.

“The effect has been to open a new front in the war against money laundering activities in the country.”

Speaking at the ocassion, Vice Chancellor of LASU Professor Lanre Fagbohun thanked Magu for his presence.

“LASU is proud of what you are doing”, he said.

He added that although the challenges which the EFCC faces are numerous, he is proud and confident that the EFCC will overcome.



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