Since assuming office last May, President Muhammadu Buhari has made the fight against corruption and the recovery of looted funds his main priority. As a result the EFCC has stepped up the arrest and prosecution if former government officials and has been searching banks for any money they have stashed away.
In a bid to outdo the investigators, several of these politicians and civil servants have resorted to storing cash in their abandoned properties. Speaking at a workshop titled, the Role of Professionals in the Fight Against Corruption in Abuja on Friday, acting EFCC chairman Ibrahim Magu, also charged bureau de change (BDC) operators and financial institutions to desist from being used as conduit pipes to launder money.
Mr Magu said, “People are now scared of keeping monies in banks as it can be traced easily, so cash is now kept in abandoned houses in the country. BDCs move billions of naira in a day and there is no proper documentation of money laundered, so I appeal to them to stop that, as we will begin to prosecute operators to serve as deterrent.
"Bankers are also involved in corrupt acts, as they don’t carry out due diligence. Instead of conniving with people to launder the proceeds of corruption, I beg you to join hands with the EFCC to fight corruption."
He added that many professionals celebrate criminality by doing a lot to foster corruption, which adds more to money laundering. In addition, Mr Magu further revealed that the commission would soon be going after accounting firms that collaborate with bankers to steal government funds.
Meanwhile, Justice Fatun Riman of a Federal High Court, Kano, has granted an application by the EFCC, to try former Skye Bank staff Yagana Bukar, in absentia on 10 charges bordering on money laundering. Mr Bukar was first arraigned in October 2013 and was granted bail but he, however, absconded shortly after the commencement of the trial.