The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday revealed that over N1 trillion illicit funds and stolen assets have been recovered from fraudulent Nigerians in the last three and half years. The Acting Chairman of EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu made the revelation in Abuja at a workshop on government contract dispute resolution organized by the
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday revealed that over N1 trillion illicit funds and stolen assets have been recovered from fraudulent Nigerians in the last three and half years.
The Acting Chairman of EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu made the revelation in Abuja at a workshop on government contract dispute resolution organized by the Dispute Resolution Council (DRC) of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI).
Magu who was represented at the event by Dr. Enakeno Oju, said the aggression with which the anti-graft agency has traced and recovered stolen assets has retarded the momentum with which public funds are looted.
She said: “This means of fighting corruption has been immensely beneficial to the nation’s economy.
“We cannot pretend not to know that monies are siphoned from the system by corrupt public officials through “ghost projects” in most cases and the man at the centre of this infraction is the contractor.
“Through this channel, billions of naira have been looted from the public treasury. The Commission has gotten many convictions from the courts bordering on such cases.
These convictions include two ex-governors who are currently serving their jail terms”.
Oju said many developmental promises were made by public office aspirants in the course of political campaigns.
“Now that election is over, what Nigerians expect is good governance; it is time to deliver on the promises made. These promises are actualised through various projects/contracts.
Also, the government does not execute these contracts by itself; the private sector and other government bodies are engaged in executing these contracts for the general development of our country”, she added.
She further said there was to address disputes arising from executing government contracts using Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism rather than last enforcement agencies.
“The relevance of the ADR cannot be overemphasized. Not every issue has to go to the courtroom because litigation takes time, efforts and a lot of money. When all these happen, the nation will be at the receiving end.
“It may seem an arduous task, but we believe it is achievable. In every relationship, disputes are inevitable, but when they happen, it is not for the contract to suffer because when the projects are halted, the people suffer and the development of the nation is retarded.
This is why the issue of ADR in government contracts is of great need. For the government contract practitioner, the subject of simplifying and expediting the dispute resolution process is highly essential.
“There are cases where contract sums are inflated. There is also the issue of kickbacks which is a situation where the contract is awarded, and a percentage of the sum is requested from the contractors.
Sometimes, the amount of money that is received after paying the requested percentage by the contractor is not enough to carry out the project assigned.
There have also been cases of projects not implemented at all. We can no longer continue along this line! These are clear examples of corruption in the contract system which must be flushed out of our Country.
There must be a clear departure from this deep-seated practice. The Public Procurement Act must be made to work”, she said