The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu, yesterday said the commission will assist the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to recover N5 trillion toxic loans.
He also called for collaboration and a re-evaluation of the modus operandi of the corporation.
Magu spoke while receiving a delegation from AMCON, led by its Chairman, Dr Muiz Banire (SAN), and its Managing Director, Ahmed Kuru, who were on a familiarisation visit to the EFCC headquarters in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
He said: “We are ready to work with you. We will render assistance in terms of enforcement in order to recover these loans because they are affecting the economy of the country from flourishing.
“In order to recover these loans, there is need for inter-agency collaboration, going beyond the EFCC to the police, the court, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) because there is need for AMCON to re-strategise and block loopholes.”
Banire said the total loan today stood in excess of N5 trillion.
He added: “This is the money that belongs to all Nigerians. If N5 trillion can be injected into our economy in Nigeria, particularly infrastructure, hospitals will change, education will change, the roads we use will change and definitely everything will change positively.
“The giant strides the EFCC has accomplished in the recent past, not just in the number of convictions, but even from the exposure and calmness in taming the extravagant lifestyle of people stealing” public funds are remarkable.
The AMCON chairman highlighted the efforts of the corporation in debt recovery.
He said the efforts dated back to “absorb most of the loans during the time that the banks were collapsing in order to strengthen the banks”.
Banire said the loans then were about N3.7 trillion.
The AMCON chairman recalled that at that time, the debtors were in excess of 12,000 people, while with the efforts of the corporation, the figure was reduced to around 7,000.
He regretted that about 20 of the debtors owed N2 trillion.
“There are a few owing with impunity, and taking just about 20 of them, we will be talking about people owing close to N2 trillion,” Banire added.
The chairman called for more collaboration with the EFCC in due diligence for the processing and granting of loans.
He said: “We believe that we must work harmoniously with the EFCC, if we want to recover these funds, particularly in areas of granting of the loan, where a lot of sharp practices are done in compliance or over-inflation of the value of the assets used as security.
“Our conviction is that the EFCC is where the solution lies. This is where we will be able to recover the loans with lesser expenses in prosecuting cases.”
Kuru expressed appreciation for EFCC’s support, saying the AMCON desk domiciled in the EFCC had been helpful in recovering billions of naira. “EFCC is key to the results we have so far achieved,” he said.