The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says that the N4 billion unspent money in its 2020 Budget is meant for recruitment of staff.
Mr Mohammed Umar, the acting Chairman of the commission, disclosed this in Abuja during its budget defence, before the House Committee on EFCC.
Umar said that the staff recruitment, which should have taken place in the year, was stalled by the COVID-19 pandemic that ravaged the globe in the course of the year.
According to him, the commission was in the process of conducting the recruitment when COVID-19 took over, and that is why it still has N4 billion left unspent.
He said that the EFCC had also made a submission to the committee detailing assets recovery, convictions secured, cases in court among others by the commission.
Umar listed some of the challenges faced by the EFCC to include lack of special courts to prosecute corruption cases, lack of personnel, the poor release of funds for capital projects among others.
He said that the five per cent meant to be retained in the agency as part of money recovered had not been given to the commission as done in other places.
“I don’t think the five per cent to be retained in EFCC for assets recovery has been approved, because we have not gotten any money outside the budget approved,” he said.
The acting chairman, however, proposed a total of N29.861 billion for 2021 operations. Umar said that EFCC had 15 offices in the country, adding that it could not capture some states because it was better to equip those already established.
“It is better we equip the 15 offices than acquiring more because some are not adding values to our investigations, so we are thinking of closing them.”
The Rep. Zakaria Nyampa (PDP-Adamawa) had queried why the EFCC had N4 billion unspent in the 2020 budget approved for the commission.
“Going through your document in 2020, I discovered there are N4 billion unspent money for personnel and N879 million unused under overhead, I don’t know what you are going to do with this,” Nyampa said.
Meanwhile, Rep. Ibrahim Dutse, the Chairman of the House committee, said it was ready to assist the EFCC to do its job, adding that any money voted for the commission must be released.
He said that the committee would intervene in any challenges faced by the commission to enable it to discharge its duty effectively to the country.