The Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network West Africa, ARIN-WA, has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC to partner with it on intelligence sharing and exchange of information on asset recovery aimed at securing the African region.
This call was made in Abuja on Friday, September 9, 2023, by Jacinto Fernandez Do Canto, ARIN- WA’s President while on a Courtesy Visit to the Corporate Headquarters of the EFCC.
Do Canto says Nigeria needs to signal its commitment to the Network through robust asset management and recovery initiatives, for it to take its rightful place among member countries of ARIN-WA.
“Among the member countries of ARIN-WA, sixteen have created agencies of recovery and asset management, while four are yet to, and Nigeria is among them. That does not mean Nigeria does not have, it has EFCC. Therefore, we are here to create awareness and go to other countries to do the same.
“We share information with people in our region and other regions. ARIN-WA would request for information from Nigeria and Nigeria equally may request for such information” he said. He further expressed optimism that the EFCC will create and build the essence of its Network and continue to work hand-in-hand with it.
Also speaking, Assistant Secretary of ARINWA, Charles Balet says that the visit to the EFCC is to learn and share experience with it. He called on Nigeria to centralize its asset recovery and management system. Balet further requested financial support from Nigeria as ARINWA mainly depends on donors.
Responding, the acting Chairman of the Commission, Abdulkarim Chukkol, who was represented by the Secretary to the Commission, Dr George Ekpungu says the EFCC was created by law to coordinate all forms of economic and financial crimes in the country.
“Our region is prone to economic, financial crimes and corruption. Therefore, we shouldn’t allow language to serve as a barrier in helping each other, and ARIN-WA should lead cooperation in fostering that, and it will ease the flow of information sharing”, he said.
Chukkol expressed concerns about the assessment of the Mutual Evaluation Report on Nigeria, stressing that the Nigerian government has established a legal framework that works, but because of the size of the country, the effect cannot be seen easily, and that the country is doing everything to strengthen that.
“Apart from our existing body of laws, in May 2022, the National Assembly passed a bill on the Proceed of Crime Act, POCA, and mandated all relevant agencies to establish a Department of Proceeds of Crime Recovery and Management, and the EFCC is the first to create such department. We also have an account domiciled with the CBN where the recoveries are kept”, he said.
Ekpungu thereafter promised to deliver the request for financial support to the acting Chairman of the Commission, and the Attorney General of the Federation. He also expressed the Commission’s readiness to train member nations of ARIN-WA on asset recovery and management processes at the EFCC Academy.