NIGERIA’S financial crimes agency recovered at least $750 million in local and foreign currency linked to corruption and fraud last year, the minister of information said.
Africa’s biggest economy and energy producer, Nigeria has struggled for decades with endemic corruption among the political elite, who many Nigerians blame for widespread poverty in the country.
Information Minister Lai Mohammed said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) last year recovered 152 billion naira ($366 million), $386 million and 1.1 million pounds sterling ($1.50 million) including digital currencies among other proceeds of white-collar crime.
The EFCC investigates and prosecutes corruption in Nigeria. Mohammed did not give details on where the money had been recovered from or from whom.
He added that 96 financiers of terrorism had been found in Nigeria with 424 associates and about 123 companies and 33 exchange bureaux following analysis by Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit in 2020-2021.
“The analysis has resulted in the arrest of 45 suspects who will soon face prosecution and seizure of assets,” Mohammed told reporters in Abuja.
President Muhammadu Buhari, in his second term in office, was elected largely on his pledge to fight corruption and vowed to recover “mind-boggling” sums of money stolen from Nigeria.
Since then the country has endured two recessions caused by a sharp fall in global oil prices, making the need to recoup lost money more acute. Crude oil sales account for a majority of national income and foreign exchange.