EFCC, which stands for Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, is an agency in the Federal Government of Nigeria whose primary role is to combat financial crime. It was created as a response to growing concerns of massive financial losses and corruption in the country. The organization falls under the jurisdiction of the Office of the President, which means it reports directly to the President of Nigeria. This system also brought about a total misconception of the function of EFCC, raising the view that the commission is an instrument of the federal government to probe political opponents.
History of EFCC in Nigeria
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission was created to investigate financial crimes like advanced fee fraud, popularly known as 419, and money laundering. The commission was established in 2003 in response to Nigeria ranking as one of the 23 countries in the world that were not corporating with the international community in combating money laundering.
The Financial Action Task Force blamed the Nigerian government for being complacent and also exposed the money laundering activities of many political leaders and prominent citizens of the country. The federal government under the leadership of the former president Olusegun Obasanjo moved into a responsive action by approving the establishment of the commission. The commission has its head office situated in the federal capital territory and branches all over the states in Nigeria.
EFCC exists under the following establishments:
- EFCC establishment act 2004
- Money laundering (prohibition) act 2004
- Money laundry act 1995
- Failed banks (debt recovery) and other financial malpractices in banks act 1994
- Advance fee fraud and other fraud-related offenses act 1995
- Banks and other financial institution act 1991 and other offenses act
Governing Members Of The Commission
The EFCC comprises the following governing members:
- A chairman
- Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria or a representative from CBN
- One person to represent the following federal ministries:
- Finance Department
- Foreign Affairs
- Chairman National Drug Law Enforcement Agency or a representative from the agency
- Director-General of National Intelligence Agency
- Director-General of Department of State Security Sevice or a representative from the department
- Registrar-General of the Corporate Affairs Commission or a representative
- Managing-Director, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation or a representative
- Director-General, Securities and Exchange Commission, or a representative
- Commissioner for Insurance or a representative
- Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission or a representative
- Postmaster-General of the Nigerian Postal Services or a representative
- Comptroller-General, Nigeria Customs Services or a representative
- Inspector-General of Police or a representative
- Comptroller-General Nigeria Immigration Services or a representative
- Finally, four Nigerians that have experience in finance, accounting, and banking
What are the Functions of EFCC?
Below are the functions of the EFCC as stipulated in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act of 2004. It says the commission shall be responsible for:
- The implementation and proper administration of this Act’s provisions
- All financial crimes, such as advance fee fraud, money laundering, counterfeiting, unlawful charge transfers, futures market fraud, fraudulent encashment of negotiable instruments, computer credit card fraud, contract scam, and others, are investigated.
- All economic and financial crime legislation and enforcement duties that have been delegated to another person or authority must be coordinated and enforced.
- The implementation of steps to identify, track, freeze, confiscate, or seize funds obtained from terrorist actions, associated economic and financial crimes, or properties whose value corresponds to such amounts
- The adoption of measures to prevent economic and financial crimes from being committed
- The implementation of measures to prevent economic and financial crimes, such as coordinated preventative and regulatory efforts, the introduction and maintenance of investigation and control procedures
- The promotion of quick scientific and technological information interchange, as well as the conduct of coordinated operations aimed at combating economic and financial crimes
- The investigation and study of all reported incidents of economic and financial crime with the goal of identifying people, corporate organizations, or groups engaged
- Government, private persons, or organizations determining the scope of financial loss and other damages
- Partnering with government entities both inside and outside Nigeria to carry out tasks that are entirely or partially equivalent to those of the Commission in the following areas:
- Locating, identifying, and determining the whereabouts and activities of those accused of committing economic and financial crimes
- The transfer of money or assets resulting from economic, financial, and other connected crimes
- Employees or other professionals being exchanged
- The creation and maintenance of a system for tracking international economic and financial crimes in order to spot suspicious transactions and people involved.
- Keeping data, statistics, records, and reports on people, organizations, profits, properties, papers, or other objects or assets implicated in financial and economic crimes
- Doing research and other comparable activities in order to determine the manifestation, scope, size, and impacts of economic and financial crimes, as well as advising the government on suitable intervention actions to counteract them.
- Extradition, deportation, and reciprocal legal or other aid between Nigeria and any other nation involved in Economic and Financial Crimes
- The reports pertaining to questionable financial activities are collected, analyzed, and sent to all appropriate government entities.
- Directing, managing, controlling, and coordinating all duties, functions, and actions linked to the present investigation and prosecution of all economic and financial crimes
- The coordination of all current economic and financial crime investigation teams
- Maintaining a liaison with the Attorney General’s Office, the Nigerian Customs Service, the Immigration and Prisons Service Board, the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, all government security and law enforcement agencies, and other financial supervisory institutions in the fight against economic and financial crimes
- Implementing and maintaining intensive public awareness and education efforts against economic and financial crimes both within and beyond Nigeria
- Carrying out any additional actions required or appropriate for the complete fulfillment of all or any of the tasks entrusted to it by this Act
Controversies Connected To EFCC
The commission, in the course of carrying out their duties, have been involved in several controversies. Some of these controversies have led to the EFCC being dragged to court. Below are some notable controversies of the commission:
- Kogi State took EFCC to court over controversial N19.3bn fund, demanding N35bn compensation for defamatory statements against the state government. The information was reported by the PUNCH newspaper on December 13, 2021.
- The Supreme Court reduced the powers of EFCC in a case recorded as SC/CR/161/2020. According to Babatunde Lot Ogungbamile, the case looked at the interpretation of the powers of EFCC as provided in the establishment act of 2004. EFCC claimed that preventing the course of justice is a form of ‘corrupt malpractices’ as stated in the act 2004. The supreme court held that the powers of the commission should rest on section 46 of its establishment act 2004. Also, that corrupt practices in the act must be based on economic and financial crime.