The Journalists Network on Money laundering/Terrorist Financing, Nigeria, has urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to classify the N49 million intercepted by its operatives in Kaduna as part of the recovered loot from the over $600 billion stolen from coffers of Nigerian government over the years.
The network is an inter-country network for tracking money laundering and financial terrorism of GIABA – an institution of the ECOWAS responsible for facilitating the adoption and implementation of anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism.
A statement by its national coordinator Odan Agbese and Program Advisor Muhammad Nuruddeen on Wednesday said the N49 million intercepted at the Kaduna International Airport on Tuesday was obviously abandoned because the owner could not explain the source of the money when it became obvious that the EFCC operatives were close to apprehending him.
The GIABA advocacy said the money should be returned to the coffers of the federal government if after a thorough investigation, the owner cannot be traced or failed to turn up to claim the money.
“From all indications, the money was stolen and the owner cannot explain how he came about it.
“Nobody who has worked hard and earned his money would abandon it and flee on sighting security agents,” it said.
“The whole episode smacks of guilt and an attempt to flee from the embrace of the law,” the anti-money laundering network said.
“Nigeria has lost so much to corruption and sleaze in the past years while the system has allowed many to get away with their loot and walk freely with impunity.
The statement said: “It is obvious that the person that brought the money to the airport wanted to ferry it out of the country but decided to abandon the money and flee having realised that given the stand of the current administration and the EFCC on corruption, he doesn’t stand the chance of bribing his way out once caught.”
“The money should therefore be classified as part of the monies recovered from the over $600 billion Nigeria has lost to corruption over the years and returned to the coffers of government for subsequent appropriation and use by the government,” the advocacy group said.
The network commended the EFCC for saving Nigeria once again from being bled by unconscionable characters and urged the anti-graft agency to maintain its profile as an incorruptible agency focused on exposing graft and other forms of financial crimes that have nearly crippled the country.