Ola Olukoyede, the new Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), claims that between 2018 and 2020, contractors syphoned over 2.9 trillion intended for several government projects into their own accounts.
Mr Olukoyede disclosed this on Wednesday when he appeared before the Senate for screening.
According to the EFFC chairman, he said: “I did a survey between 2018 and 2020 on 50 entities in Nigeria, both human and corporate entities. I picked just one scheme, one specie of fraud, which is called contract and procurement fraud. I discovered that within the three years, Nigeria lost N2.9trn.
Mr Olukoyede said the stolen funds during the period under review would have been used for useful government projects, if the former authorities of the anti-corruption agency had prevented it from being diverted.
“When I put my figures together, I discovered that. If the country had prevented the money from being stolen, it would have given us 1,000 kilometers of road, it would have built close to 200 standard tertiary institutions. It would have also educated about 6,000 children from primary to tertiary levels at N16m per child.
“It would have also delivered more 20,000 units of three bedroom houses across the country. It would have given us a world-class teaching hospitals in each of the 36 states of the country and the Federal Capital Territory.
“This is where we are coming from, this is where we are. Where we are going, it depends on the decision the Senate would take this afternoon.”
As the chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Olukoyede promised a transparent and accountable government.
He declared that in order to track the financial transactions of some people, he would develop a transactional credit system that would forbid Nigerians from paying cash for opulent houses.
“Without downplaying the importance of enforcement. There is what we call a transactional credit system. If we continue to allow Nigerians to buy houses, cars and other luxurious properties by cash, because we don’t have an effective credit system, 1,000 anti-corruption agencies will not do us any good and that is the reality.
“We must create an atmosphere to make sure that people have choices. If I don’t steal money, can I afford to train my children in school with good standards? If I don’t steal money, can I buy a car after I have worked for five years? If I don’t steal money, can I put a three room bungalow in place after I had worked for 20 years?
“An average Nigerian does not own a home, when he has the opportunity, he would steal. Even if he did not have the opportunity he would create one,” he said.
The EFCC chairman also emphasised that courts must look beyond technicalities while rendering judgements in order to properly address allegations of fraud.
He suggested that the length of time for cases involving fraud allegations from the High Court to the Supreme Court not exceed five years.
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