Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, has condemned the connivance of the private sector against the prosecution of corruption cases.
This is contained in a statement on Monday by the Acting Head of Media, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren. The statement said Lamorde made the condemnation on the occasion of the inauguration of the ‘12th Global Fraud Survey of Ernst & Young West Africa’ in Lagos.
Lamorde said investigations by the commission into several corruption cases had shown that private sector operators were covering up and conniving with individuals and firms implicated in such cases. He wondered how a prominent local accounting firm had cleared many oil firms involved in the ongoing trial of fuel subsidy payments by government.
The EFCC boss said, “The said firm actually cleared for payment an oil vessel that had ceased to operate three years before the payments were made. Financial services companies like banks, accounting and audit firms and other operators in the private sector are involved in many corruption cases and the practice must stop.”
Lamorde regretted the effects of corrupt practices on the standard of living in the country and Africa at large, adding that 32 out of the world’s 38 heavily-indebted nations were from Africa. He said the commission would continue to tackle all cases of economic and financial crimes and make it difficult for corrupt individuals and organisations to continue to ply their trade.
The EFCC chairman called on the private sector to imbibe professionalism and ethical comportment in their dealings. He also called for more practical and functional procedure in the prosecution of corruption cases through the removal of delays and unnecessary bottlenecks.
“There must be a fundamental change in our procedure for the prosecution of cases; timelines should be given to the resolution of corruption cases. We must find a way of making this thing work, EFCC has never been faulted in the investigation and prosecution of its cases; anyone with such an allegation should come forward with it,’’ he said.
Forensic Leader of Ernst & Young West Africa, Mr. Linus Okeke, called for “urgent and integrated steps” to combat the scourge of corruption in the country.