The acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Mustapha Magu, has told the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Financial Crimes that the ongoing anti-graft war may soon move to the petroleum and other unspecified sectors of the nation’s economy.
Magu made the disclosure while defending the 2015 budget performance and 2016 budget proposals of the anti-graft agency before the House Committee in Abuja yesterday.
He also drew the attention of the committee members to a recommendation by the Federal Ministry of Budget and Planning to slash the agency’s overhead cost for 2016 from the proposed N2,999,245,761.00 billion to N1,389,429,463.00 billion, which represents a shortfall of N1,609,816,298 or 116%, saying doing so will adversely affect the prosecution of war against corruption.
He listed the areas to be affected by the budget slash to include investigative activities, manpower development and maintenance of logistics.
The EFCC boss, who added that the commission was not unaware of the dwindling oil revenue and the Federal Government’s commitment to reduce recurrent expenditure in the financial year, however called on the National Assembly to consider the approval of an additional N500 million for the agency in order to aid its operational activities “as more sectors of the economy may likely come under investigative activities during the year”.
On a particular question posed to Magu by Hon. Razak Atunwa (APC, Kwara) on whether the agency will go after the former minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke; oil magnate Kola Aluko; former Finance Minister Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; and some oil companies, he simply said: “very soon, we will go into the petroleum industry,” suggesting an expanded oil sector probe.
Meanwhile in his presentation, Magu highlighted the challenges facing the EFCC like space constraints because of the agency’s inability to complete its permanent headquarters, high rent rate, dearth of adequate manpower and operational vehicles.
He said the commission achieved about 91% of its 2015 approved budget with only about 9% shortfall, calling on lawmakers to come to the rescue of the agency in the appropriation of adequate funds in the 2016 budget.
But in the 2016 proposed budget estimates of the agency, the acting chairman noted that the capital component by the commission is N11,422,991,540.00, which include over N9 billion for its new headquarters while the Budget and Planning Ministry actually want an estimated N3,168,744,217.00 only for the agency’s capital budget inclusive of N2,550,003,881.00 for the head office complex, leaving a balance of N6,476,123,409.00 representing 72%.
“This suggests that the amount proposed by the Ministry can only meet 28% of the outstanding liability. This invariably implies nil activity on the site for the 2016 financial year if this is not addressed by is honourable committee,” he said.
Magu also craved for the support of the National Assembly in the planned recruitment of additional 750 staff of different cadres for the agency in 2016 in order to create core staff for the EFCC as most some of its staff are on secondment.
“According, it my honour and privilege to present to this honourable committee, EFCC budget proposal for the 2016 financial year in the sum of N11,422,991,540.00 as capital; N2,999,245,741.00 as overhead component of recurrent expenditure and the Ministry’s budget proposal of N6,664,040,791.00 for personnel; N1,389,429,463.00 for overhead and N3,168,744,217.00 for capital, for your kind consideration,” Magu said.
Earlier in his remarks, the chairman of the Standing Committee, Hon. Kayode Oladele (APC, Ogun), commended the dedication of the anti-graft agencies in the country particularly the EFCC in the ongoing anti-corruption fight, while assuring of the legislature’s readiness to assist the agency in the areas of operations, improved staff welfare and completion of its headquarters.
“We shall also favourably consider other areas contained in your proposed 2016 budget estimates,” Oladele added.