By Giwa SHILE
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), said it recovered N220 million from fraud and corrupt cases in the South-South zone in the last five months.
The South South Zonal Director of EFCC, Mr. Nnagh Itam, said this while briefing newsmen in Port Harcourt on Tuesday. He also said the commission had received about 166 complaints, in addition to already existing cases.
“We received 166 complaints from the zone from January till date and we have charged 28 of the cases to court and secured about 13 convictions. Within this period too, we have recovered little above N220 million and 15,000 dollars. We are still investigating some of the matters we have before us,’’ he said.
The EFCC boss also dismissed claims alleged by the Rivers Government that the commission was making moves to close some of the state’s accounts.
He explained that the Rivers State House of Assembly was the only office that had the powers to call for probe into the government accounts based on ruling of a court of competent jurisdiction.
“I am not aware that EFCC either at Abuja or here is making any move to block any bank account belonging to the state.
“If there is a subsisting court judgment, it is only the state assembly that can call for investigation if they see that the state fund is not being managed properly,’’ Itam said.
He also noted that the commission was investigating fake contractor syndicates in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). “We have people who had fallen victims and suffered by these fake NDDC contract staff and we expect the victims to come and make complaints.
“When they don’t, there is nothing or little we can do, this is a practice that must stop, its corruption,’’ he said.
He further warned members of the public against giving out their account details or Automated Teller Machine, (ATM) card for illicit transactions.
Itam said most people who had stolen funds transferred into their accounts did not have any link with the crime. “We are warning people to stop giving out their account numbers in the name of helping friends or neighbours.
“I wonder why people still give their account numbers and ATM cards to others to receive illicit funds, it is unhealthy to give your account numbers to people for help. People who receive this stolen money are not the actual people who commit the crimes.’’