Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja
Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, has sought the support of the National Assembly to recruit additional 750 staff of different cadres to effectively fight corruption.
Magu made the request while presenting the Commission’s 2016 Budget proposal before the Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crime on Tuesday in Abuja.
He said the request became necessary in view of renewed effort by the present administration to prosecute the war against corruption.
“We have made the proposal, asking for permission for us to recruit that number of staff to increase our staff strength to build up our capacity to do the work.
“The expectation is very high. So, we have to put in the proper manpower development to enable us handle our duties,” he said.
The EFCC boss also urged the National Assembly to maintain the provision of N220 million for the purchase of operational vehicles as contained in the 2016 Budget proposal of N11.2 billion.
He also requested the approval and inclusion of the sum of N160 million in the Commission’s 2016 Budget proposal in view of the need for the Commission to make foreign travels in the course of its duties.
He added that the Ministry of Budget and Planning had made zero provision for the Commission’s international travels, despite being exempted from such restrictions to enable it meet its operational activities fully.
He further urged the National Assembly to consider the request of N9.2 billion for the completion of the new head office complex, which began in 2011 with a completion period of 43 months.
“The Commission has to contend with serious office space constraint with attendant burden of high rent rate to meet office space requirements in rented apartments.
“This invariably affects the commission’s operational activities through significant loss of man-hours and compromise control over human resources and documents,” he said.
In his response, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Chukwuka Utazi, pledged the Committee’s resolve to present the request made by the Commission before the leadership of the National Assembly.
He said although there was paucity of funds in the economy, the fight against corruption must be taken seriously to enable the Commission recover stolen funds.
“The issue here is need, not just the paucity of funds. When you are fighting corruption, you need the manpower, you don’t stay in your house to do it, you need personnel to do it.
“We have been carrying series of oversights to make sure we are on the same page with you in terms of the challenges you face and what should be done to tackle them.
“We cannot be saying that this government is all about fighting corruption and the people to fight corruption are asked to use their bare hands and Keke (auto rickshaw) to go after people, who move with jets.
“The Constitution empowers us to handle appropriation. So, it is our duty to make sure the leadership of the National Assembly is on the same page with us,” Utazi said.
He added that the Committee would tinker with the Budget to ensure that more funds were made available to all ant-graft agencies in view of their role in the fight against corruption.