Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa, Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC], has called for collective and collaborative approach by authorities globally in dealing with the challenges of financial crimes.
Bawa made the call on Monday in a keynote address he presented at the 38th Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crimes, themed, “Economic Crime-Who pays and who should pay?”
It was organized by the Centre for International Documentation on Organised and Economic Crime (CIDOEC), Jesus College, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.
According to a statement by the commission’s Spokesman, Wilson Uwujiaren, the EFCC boss said that “economic crimes are largely illegal acts committed for private gain,”
“They affect the vital structures of global economies, causing significant damage to the Global Financial System and depriving developing nations of the needed resources for sustainable development”.
He noted that developed countries were not immune from the scourge which has “magnified with the proliferation of cyber-crimes which threaten the stability of Global Financial Institutions.”
The EFCC boss pointed out: “New typologies of economic crimes such as the growth of cryptocurrencies, portray a far greater danger to the world economy.
“Criminals now choose to transact or receive illegal monies (such as ransom money) for cyber-attacks in Cryptocurrencies with Bitcoin and Ethereum as the most commonly used medium of these exchanges.”
Bawa commended the choice of the theme, which, he said, offered a platform to interrogate the challenges of economic crimes.
He stressed that victims of crime continue to suffer globally from the effects of financial crimes, either directly or indirectly as part of a social system.
He said that the determination of “who pays or who should pay,” becomes a critical measure of the criminal justice system in place.
The EFCC chairman underlined the imperatives of an impartial judiciary in ensuring, “the perpetrators of acts and not the victims pay for their crimes.”
He highlighted some of the transparency and accountability achievements of the Nigerian government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari.
They include; enactment and amendment of relevant laws to enhance public accountability and reforms such as Treasury Single Account and the Whistle Blower Policy, among others.
Bawa further pointed out that EFCC, as the rallying point in the fight against economic crimes in Nigeria, has recorded important milestones in investigations, prosecutions and assets recovery.
“Since its establishment in 2003, the Commission has recorded no less than 3,500 convictions and recovered assets of significant value, including property in Nigeria, the UK, USA, and the UAE.
” All these have measurably contributed to the national efforts against economic crimes in Nigeria,” he said.
The EFCC boss challenged the participants to come up with practical solutions to curb the international threats of economic crimes.
The Chairman of the Symposium, Mr Saul Froomkin, thanked the EFCC boss for his insightful presentation and the support received from Nigeria in organising the event.
Participants at the symposium were drawn from law enforcement, security agencies, accountability institutions and select stakeholders from across the world. [NAN]