We'll Clean Up EFCC —Lamorde

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Acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde has vowed to cleanse the anti-graft agency by setting up an internal affairs department within the Commission.

Lamorde made the promise to cleanse the Augean stable yesterday during a courtesy visit by officials of the United States Embassy in Nigeria and members of the Senate Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes who were on an oversight tour of the EFCC facilities.

Addressing the Senate Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes, led by its Chairman, Senator Victor Lar, the EFCC boss said: “This is the most important visit this year. This is so because the Senate is the legislative body that created the EFCC in 2002. “We owe our existence to you, the Committee is the bridge between the EFCC and the Senate of Nigeria. The confirmation of the EFCC chairman and other board members of the Commission are made possible by the Senate.

“The Senate, through the committee had always appropriated money for us since inception. We thank you so much for assisting us all these years,” Lamorde added.

The EFCC boss stated that the only way the Commission can make a meaningful impact in the fight against corruption is for the staff to be cleansed from within. He promised that under his administration, the staff will undergo a lie-detector  test every six months.

“For us to really move forward, the Commission needs internal cleansing. Things have really gone wrong. We must deal with ourselves before we can deal with others outside. We have to look into the lifestyle of our personnel. We are going to embark on polygraph assessment of staff periodically,” Lamorde explained to the visiting lawmakers.

Earlier, the Committee chairman, Senator Victor Lar, said the visit was for the Committee members to ascertain how the 2011 budget was spent and what the budget for 2012 looks like.

The senator also observed that anybody who followed the establishment of EFCC will know that things have not been the same as “your credibility ratings have fallen,” he said.

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Senator Lar, who described Lamorde as the doyen of EFCC said:  “he saw the EFCC at inception, saw it when it nose-dived. Today, people say the best EFCC does is just to arrest. Once you get to the court you are set free, that is the end of it. It is not too good for the image of EFCC,” he said. Today, God has given you the opportunity to right the wrongs”.

Lar who led the Committee on inspection of EFCC facilities at the head office of the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit, (NFIU), Training and Research Institute, (TRI) and the 10 storey-building permanent site of the Commission along the airport road said they were impressed “by the resource utilization by the EFCC. The TRI remains the best in West Africa. We were at the NFIU and we were also impressed.

“As a committee, we would ensure that this dream of the EFCC is not aborted. However, the mandate of the EFCC is not in projects but in reducing economic and financial crimes in Nigeria,” he explained.

In a related development, the acting chairman also told the visiting US officials that he is making every move to turn around the Commission.

“We need the support of the United States to move from where we are to where we ought to be,” he said.

The EFCC chairman who commended the US for taking the lead in law enforcement activities around the world pleaded for more support in the area of training.

“This is a very interesting moment in the history of EFCC; which is a continuation of the relationship between the EFCC and the US. If there is any country that extended support to EFCC when we came on board in 2003 in terms of capacity building and exposure, it is the United States,” he added.

He asked for more slots to be given to the Commission at the FBI Academy. Where that is not possible, he suggested that “the Commission has a state of the art training facilities here in Abuja-Nigeria, your people can come over here to train our staff; that is if going to America for the training will be costly.”