The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will strengthen the partnership and cooperation between the two agencies in the fight against corruption.
The MoU will focus more on identified financial crimes disclosed by the NEITI reports in the oil, gas and mining industries. It will also specify how NEITI and the EFFCC will deal with such crimes expeditiously through information and intelligence sharing as well as human capacity mobilization.
These resolutions were part of the highlights of decisions reached at a high level meeting between the Executive Secretary of NEITI, Waziri Adio and the Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu with top management team of the two agencies in attendance.
Speaking at the meeting, the Executive Secretary of NEITI Waziri Adio, drew the attention of the EFCC to other emerging issues in the implementation of the EITI in Nigeria which would require the attention and support of the EFCC to implement effectively in the best interest of the Nigerian economy. He listed the emerging issues to include, Beneficial Ownership Disclosure, Contract Transparency and Commodity Trading.
According to Mr. Adio, Beneficial Ownership disclosure seeks to provide information to the public on the real owners of businesses in Nigeria’s oil, gas and mining industries and requires the support of the EFCC towards its implementation. This he explained was in view of the strong connection between secrecy of companies’ beneficial owners and financial crimes such as money laundering, tax evasion and terrorism financing.
Mr. Adio called on the EFCC Chairman to work with NEITI as the agency’s legitimate interest to deepen transparency in these areas is as a result of the strong linkages between corruption in the nation’s extractive sector and sabotage of the economy.
He commended the Chairman of the EFCC and his team for their hard work, courage and commitments resulting in the visible achievements so far recorded by the Commission in the discharge of its assignments.
Responding, the Chairman of the EFCC Ibrahim Magu, described NEITI and the EFCC as key partners in progress. He said that the time to strengthen the partnership between the two agencies has become very urgent.
Mr Magu described the extractive industries as not only the main source of revenues to the Nigerian economy but also a critical sector where major corruption and financial crimes occurs in the country.
The Chairman explained that the EFCC has established a special unit to advise the commission on financial crimes arising from the NEITI reports in the oil, gas and mining sectors for immediate action.
He remarked that the MoU between the two agencies will be quite useful to define clearly the rules of engagement, noting that it will be followed by the establishment of a joint operations committee to ensure effective implementation of the MoU.
He commended NEITI for what he described as useful and well researched information and data which the agency has consistently placed in the public domain on process lapses and corruption in the nation’s extractive industries.