EFCC boss says it has recovered N103 billion from bank debtors

Worried by the extent of theft of public funds by public officials, the chairperson of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) Farida Waziri has called for a psychiatric evaluation of aspirants seeking election into public offices. Mrs. Waziri said this in Kaduna on Monday, at a workshop on transparency and accountability, organised by the Kaduna State government for civil servants and political office holders. The Efcc, she said, had recovered over N103 billion from bank debtors across the country since it started its debt recovery plan.

The psychiatric evaluation of public office aspirants, she said, will determine their level of suitability.

“Imagine that somebody will collect such large sums without collateral and instead of paying back, they buy houses abroad and open offshore accounts,” she said.

“Having dealt with many corruption cases, I am inclined to suggest that public officers should be subjected to some form of psychiatric evaluation to determine their suitability for public office.” She said the culture of accountability could only be deep-rooted in public service if needed legislations are passed into law.

According to her: “The extent of aggrandizement and gluttonous accumulation of wealth that I have observed suggests to me that some people are mentally and psychologically unsuitable for public office. We have observed people amassing public wealth to a point suggesting “madness” or some form of obsessive- compulsive psychiatric disorder.”

The EFCC boss, who said the commission had made giant strides in the recovery of loans, explained that the loans were granted in complete disregard to banking procedures and questioned the rationale for the granting of a N15 billion loan without collateral.

Support for information bill

Mrs. Waziri added: “As you may all know, the struggle has been on to get the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill passed into law. Closely related to this is the bid to have a whistle blower act passed into law.

Let me emphasize that the future of the anti-corruption war may depend on what happens to these efforts. If we truly expect a public service that is accountable to the people of Nigeria, then the Freedom of Information Bill must be passed.

If you deny the public the right to know, the anti- corruption war is lost.” While calling for collaboration among the various anti-graft agencies in the country, she said that: “When these agencies work together, they are potentially capable of creating an environment, which could make corruption a very hazardous affair for a public officer.” Mrs. Waziri appealed to Nigerians to take ownership of the war against corruption, adding that it is only through their active involvement that the nation could be saved from the crushing effect of the menace.

“When I launched the Anti-Corruption Revolution (ANCHOR), sceptics thought it was just another jamboree. But, I think the crisis rocking the banking sector has justified our efforts. Were it not for the swift intervention of the Central Bank and the EFCC, we were surely leading for a crash that would have rubbished our financial system, along with your money; your pensions. You cannot afford to be neutral in this war. Make it your war,” she said.

The former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mohammed Uwais, the Emir of Zazzau, Dr. Shehu Idris and the state’s deputy governor, Mr. Patrick Yakowa, amongst others, attended the workshop.