The acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Abdulkarim Chukkol, has described investment, Business Email Compromise, BEC, and forex scams as well as land and property fraud as some of the most prevalent financial and economic crimes in the Lagos Zonal Command of the Commission.
He said the Lagos Command had received a total of 512 (Five Hundred and Twelve) and 876 ( Eight Hundred and Seventy-six) petitions relating to investment and forex-scams, respectively.
He also stated that these fraudulent activities involved the sums of N317, 908,343,469 (Three Hundred and Seventeen Billion, Nine Hundred and Eight Million, Three Hundred and Forty-three Thousand, Four Hundred and Sixty-nine Naira), $3,205, 648(Three Million, Two Hundred and Five Thousand, Six Hundred and Forty-eight Dollars) and N11, 686, 499, 431.79 (Eleven Billion, Six Hundred and Eighty-six Million, Four Hundred and Ninety-nine Thousand, Four Hundred and Thirty-one Naira, Seventy-nine Kobo).
He made the disclosure during a one-day workshop on Economic and Financial Crimes Reporting for Journalists on Thursday, July 13, 2023 at the Commission’s Lagos Zonal Command.
Chukkol, who spoke through the Commander, Lagos Zonal Command, Michael Wetkas, said all manner of economic and financial crimes had, over the years, continued to thrive in the state owing to its status as the economic nerve centre of the country.
According to him, “ Forex scam, Business Email Compromise, investment scams and land and property fraud , among others, are some of the financial and economic crimes prevalent within the Lagos environment. “
While expressing concern over the alarming rate at which unsuspecting people “ fall prey to the wiles of the scammers”, he stated that the Commission’s enforcement activities had been directed at the perpetrators of these crimes.
“In the last couple of months, we have intensified public sensitization in line with our belief that some of these crimes could be prevented, if people have the right information.
“This is where your professionalism and collaboration are needed. We need the media to help in educating citizens to be circumspect in embracing investment opportunities, especially where the return on investment seems too good to be true, “ he added.
Chukkol , who lauded the media for reporting the activities of the Commission since inception over 20 years ago, stated that decision of the Commission to sponsor the workshop underscored the importance the management attaches to the role of the media in the fight against economic and financial crimes, including corruption.
“All over the world, the watchdog role of the media promotes transparent and accountable leadership.
“In the particular instance of the EFCC, the media has proven to be a critical stakeholder and ally in the difficult task of sanitizing our environment.
“This partnership is functional and rewarding. We can only wish that the synergy gets stronger and stronger.
“I admit that the task of placing our works on daily focus and scrutiny is both engaging and arduous. It is engaging because the Commission has been profoundly impactful in combating the menace of corrupt practices in our midst, going by its impressive records of convictions, asset forfeitures and other tangible proofs of accomplishments over the years.
“The reporting has also been arduous because our works are not static and you have been keeping pace with our speed and energy. “
The workshop featured presentations by ACE 1 Larry’s Peters Aso, who spoke on “Understanding the New Money Laundering Laws In Relation To Activities of Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions”; ACE 1 Dele Oyewale , who presented a paper titled “Investigative Journalism and Nigeria’s Fight Against Money Laundering” and CSE Sanni Adenike Morinsola, who also presented a paper on “ New Trends In Cybercrime: How Not To Become A Victim.”
Participants at the workshop were drawn from print, broadcast and online media organizations.