The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, has said that about N5.4trn has been lost to tax evasion by multi-nationals corporations operating in the country from 2011 to 2021.
It also said that the Nigerian government has in the last 13 years spent about N6trn in its fight against terrorism.
The Chairman of the Commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa, made these disclosures on Friday, while presenting a paper entitled, “Combating of Crime, Corruption and implication for Development and Security”, at the 38th Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime, organized by the Center for International Documentation on Organized and Economic Crime (CIDOEC), Jesus College, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.
The Chairman, who was represented by his Deputy Chief of Staff, Sambo Mayana, called on leaders across the world to rise to the challenge of fighting corruption to enhance global economic development and security.
He said, “The ‘spoiler’effects on countries’ development processes are diverse, and particularly severe for fragile states: economic crime, including illicit financial flows, diverts much needed resources needed to rebuild countries’ public services, from security and justice to basic social services such as health and education.
“Over N6trn has been expended so far on the war against terrorism in Nigeria since 2008 while about N5.4trn was lost to tax evasion by multi-nationals corporations operating in the country from 2011 – 2021. This is aside the theft of resources in the nation’s oil and gas sector.
“The incidence of illegal mining, smuggling of goods, tax evasion, illegal oil bunkering, illegal arms deals just to mention but a few does not allow the government to receive the full accruals from the continent’s vast resources that are needed for development.
“The revenue generated are embezzled by government officials and their collaborators in the private sector. This does not allow for economic growth and by extension a hindrance to development.”
Bawa, however, noted that all hope was not lost as the country, under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, has demonstrated commitment and political will in dealing with the issue of economic crimes through a number of legislative and institutional reforms.
At the level of the EFCC as the central agency coordinating the fight against economic crime in Nigeria, Bawa said the agency has been up front in tackling the malaise with tremendous successes.
According to him, records show that as at August 2021, the EFCC has well over 3,408 convictions
“From the time I took over as the Executive Chairman, on the 5th of March 2021, we have recovered over N6bn, over $161m, over £13,000, €1,730, 200 Canadian dollars, CFA 373,000, ¥8,430 and 30 Real Estates. We have arrested over 1,500 internet fraudsters, many of whom are being prosecuted,” he added.