Nigeria: N7 Billion Proceeds of Money Laundering Traced to Religious Body – EFCC Chair

The EFCC chair explained the obstacles the commission faces in investigating the proceeds of money laundering traced to the unnamed religious body.

The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ola Olukoyede, said Wednesday that the commission traced N7 billion suspected to be proceeds of fraud to a religious organisation.

He said this at a one-day public engagement on youth, religion and the fight against corruption and the launch of the Fraud Risk Assessment Project for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) organised by the EFCC. The event was held in Abuja.

He explained that the commission was investigating a fraud case of N13 billion when it traced the N7 billion to the account.

“We were investigating a N13 billion money laundering case when we discovered that N7 billion of the N13 billion was linked to a religious organisation’s bank account,” he said.

But he said the commission faced legal obstacles in a restraining order obtained by the religious body to stop EFCC’s investigations.

“When we approached the religious organisation about it and we were carrying out our investigation, we got a restraining order stopping us from carrying out our investigation,” he said.

He affirmed the EFCC’s determination to pursue the investigation and recover the stolen funds.

He lamented that another unnamed religious body was allegedly involved in money laundering for terrorist organisation activities that pose a threat to national security.

He provided insights into the EFCC’s recent achievements, noting that since assuming office approximately three months ago, the commission had secured 747 convictions.

He said the majority of these convictions were attributed to internet-related offences, underscoring the evolving nature of financial crimes in the digital age.

The one-day event, themed, “Youth, Religion, and the Fight Against Corruption,” served as a platform to address the multifaceted challenges of corruption and financial crimes and their impact on society. It aimed to engage stakeholders in discussions on strategies to combat corruption, with a focus on the roles of the youth and religion in fostering accountability and transparency.

The event featured the launch of the Interfaith Preaching and Teaching Manual developed by the Interfaith Anti-corruption Advisory Committee (IAAC) of the commission. The manual serves as a resource to promote ethical values and discourage corrupt practices among adherents of Islam and Christianity.

Also, the commission’s Fraud Risk Assessment Prevention and Control Project for MDAs was launched at the event, which was hoped would help in identifying and mitigating fraud risks within government agencies.

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