A Joint Task Force has been set up by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on the recently released audit reports of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI).
The Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu made the decision in Abuja after receiving copies of the reports from the NEITI Executive Secretary, Waziri Adio.
Membership of the Task Force is drawn from NEITI and the EFCC. The Task Force is to study the reports and identify areas where financial crimes have been committed against the nation.
Mr. Magu explained that it is no longer acceptable for NEITI to publish reports and agencies, companies and individuals that have clearly committed financial crimes as disclosed by the reports are left to go without sanctions.
His words, “I have heard people say that NEITI has no teeth to bite, but today I assure you that by our renewed joint collaboration, the EFCC will provide NEITI with the required teeth to bite”.
The EFCC Chairman advised members of the Task Force to carry out the assignments with utmost diligence by developing an action plan and make recommendations for immediate action by the Commission.
Presenting the report earlier on, the NEITI Executive Secretary, Waziri Adio lamented that while NEITI has been churning out series of Reports since 2004, it is regrettable that no one has either been tried or convicted for infractions on the NEITI Act. He called on the EFCC to step in and help NEITI enforce required sanctions.
Mr Adio explained that by the NEITI–EITI process, information and data contained in the reports are based on facts voluntarily provided and signed up by the covered entities during the audit process. He added that the recent report on oil, gas and solid minerals for the period 2013 highlighted several issues that require full scale investigations by the EFCC.
The visit to EFCC by NEITI came at the heels of the presentation of the reports to the Nigerian Senate at plenary. During the Senate debate on the report, a nine member committee headed by Senator Jubril Barau, Chairman Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) was setup to study the report and advice the upper house on necessary legislative actions.