While considering the agency’s 2013 budget proposals, Senators frowned at the huge allocations for travels and trainings, and directed the EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde to provide justification for the budget.
“You are an agency fighting corruption and you must ensure transparency. We need to have all the evidence that you paid for these items,” Chairman of the committee, Senator Victor Lar, told the EFCC boss.
A member of the committee, Senator Benedict Ayade, had raised questions over a N357m budget by the agency for local travels and transportation; another N100m for international travels; N73m for local training and another N130m for international training.
The member also pointed out that the anti-graft commission in 2012 spent N54m for sporting activities and frowned at the payment of N135m for satellite and broadband charges.
In his response, Lamorde said that the amount allocated for travels was justifiable in that it was meant to cater for transport and operational expenses of investigators.
He said, “A lot of funding is required for travelling to the different locations where investigations are to be carried out. You cannot predict the actual amount of money that would be required because an investigator may go to a location and would spend a week in order to be able to do a thorough job.
“The team of investigators may compromise two or three detectives with another set of officers who would serve as protection and they have to be paid their DTAs and other allowances.
“We have to ensure that they are properly accommodated so that they are not exposed to compromises.”
The EFCC boss said the commission would present the payment vouchers for the amount to substantiate his claims.
Lamorde told the Senate committee that the EFCC had been unable to achieve major convictions because of manipulations by suspects who were in “control of huge wealth.”
He said that though the commission had secured 200 convictions in 2012, they were largely related to Advance Fee Fraud and other minor financial crimes. He told the committee that some suspects standing trial had overwhelming financial resources to frustrate their trial in court.