Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), established in 2003, was initially effective at investigating and prosecuting bribery, fraud, tax evasion, money laundering, and a host of other financial crimes. Indeed, it was instrumental in prosecuting senior political leaders and corporate actors involved in illegal activities, as well as in recovering significant stolen assets that belonged to the Nigerian state. More recently, however, the Commission has been subject to frequent political interference and corruption. For example, a recent SOAS-ACE study found that private actors—commercial banks, businesses, and high net-worth individuals—routinely exploit the coercive power of the EFCC to help them recover their debts, rather than turning to the courts and other civil dispute resolution mechanisms. This occurs even though, as a matter of law, civil debt collection lies outside the EFCC’s jurisdiction. Continue reading
As many readers will know, on Monday, November 9, Ibrahim Lamorde stepped down as head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the country’s principal anti-corruption agency. Although initial reports say Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari fired him, Presidential spokesperson Femi Adesina denies this was the case. Adesina explained that the President had decided not to re-appoint Lamorde, a career member of the Nigerian police force, to a second term when his current one expires this February and that his leaving the EFCC now is in accordance with procedures governing the rotation of career government employees.
Controversy over the tenure of the EFCC is nothing new. The “reassignment” of its first chief, Nuhu Ribadu, for the flimsiest of reasons was a response by Nigeria’s corrupt class to a far too aggressive investigator. Rumors why Lamorde is leaving point in the opposite direction, the claim being he was let go because he had been going too easy on the gaggle of corrupt businesses and politicians stealing so much of the national patrimony.
GAB asked a close observer of Nigerian politics for his take. He writes: Continue reading