The acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, has vowed to assist the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCO) to recover over N5 trillion being owed it by individuals and companies.
Magu made the declaration while receiving a delegation from AMCON, led by its Chairman, Muiz Banire, SAN, and its Managing Director, Ahmed Kuru, who came on a familiarization visit to the EFCC Headquarters, Jabi, Abuja, on Tuesday.
“We are ready to work with you, we will render assistance in terms of enforcement, in order to recover these loans, because they are affecting the economy of the country from flourishing,” he said.
Expressing the resolve of the anti-graft agency to recover the money, Magu further called for collaboration and a re-evaluation of the modus operandi of the Corporation.
“In order to recover these loans, there is need for inter-agency collaboration, going beyond the EFCC to the police, the court, Central Bank of Nigeria, NDIC (Nigeria Deposit Insurance Company) because there is need for AMCON to re-strategize and block loopholes,” he said, according to a statement on Wednesday by the EFCC acting spokesman, Tony Orilade.
Banire, who revealed that the total loan today stood in excess of N5trn noted that “this is the money that belongs to all Nigerians; If N5trn can be injected into our economy in Nigeria, particularly infrastructure, hospitals will change, education will change, the road we use will change and definitely everything will change positively.”
While commending the readiness of the Commission to assist the Corporation, he acknowledged the “giant strides the EFCC has accomplished in the recent past, not just in the number of convictions, but even from the exposure and calmness in taming the extravagant lifestyle of people stealing public funds.”
He also used the opportunity to highlight the efforts of AMCON in debt recovery, dating back to its absorption of most loans during the time banks were collapsing.
According to him, the loans were about N3.7 trillion, adding that during that time, the debtors were in excess of 12,000 and through the efforts of AMCON, the figure was reduced to around 7,000.
He, however, noted with dismay that though the number reduced over time, “there are a few owing with impunity and taking just about 20 of them, we will be talking about people owing close to N2trillion”.
He called for more collaboration with the EFCC in the areas of due diligence during the processing and granting of loans.
He added, “We believe that we must work harmoniously with the EFCC, if we want to recover these funds particularly in areas of granting of the loan where a lot of sharp practices are done in areas of compliance or over-inflation of the value of the assets used as security.
“Our conviction is that the EFCC is where the solution lies, and this is where we will be able to recover the loans with lesser expenses in prosecuting cases.”
On his part, Kuru appreciated the EFCC’s support, noting that the AMCON desk domiciled in the EFCC has been helpful in the recovering of billions of naira. – Punch.