The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Friday February 14, 2014 presented its records of convictions in economic and financial crimes cases for 2013 to the media. Wilson Uwujaren, Head, Media and Publicity, said though the Commission was delighted that it secured 117 convictions in 2014, it is optimistic that the conviction figures will be more in 2014 especially with the new practice directive by the Chief Justice of Nigeria on the expeditious handling of corruption cases. “In 2013, the Commission charged a total of 533 cases to court and recorded 117 convictions.
“This convictions figure represents an improvement over the 105 convictions recorded in 2012,” he said. According to Uwujaren, “the fact that 99 per cent of the convictions were secured by lawyers in the legal and prosecution department of the EFCC has buoyed the determination of the leadership of the Commission to strengthen the department and de-emphasise the use of private solicitors for the prosecution of EFCC cases”.
Uwujaren said the Commission achieved this result despite the onerous challenges it face in prosecuting economic and financial crimes cases. “These figures indicate a steady progression in convictions return which is encouraging in the light of the well publicized encumbrances that the EFCC contends with in the prosecution of economic and financial crimes case”
Uwujaren seized the opportunity of the media briefing to call on all stakeholders, especially the media to join the fight against corruption so that the social malaise can be exterminated from the Nigeria society. “A Corrupt free Nigeria is better for us all” he said.
Among those convicted in 2013 included Pastor Glory Abrefera and Reverend Vincent Okpogo and their company, Mustard Seed Micro Investment Limited. The two men of God where found guilty on a four count charge of carrying out banking practice without licence. The accused persons were said to have collected over N1 billion from different individuals and organizations as deposit in an illegal investment scheme, and failed to account for all the deposits they collected. Justice Ibrahim Buba, of the Federal High Court Asaba, Delta State convicted and sentenced the accused persons to 10 years imprisonment on each count and a fine of N2 million on each of the counts.
Also on the list is Aminu Sule Lamido, son of the current governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido. He was convicted on a money laundering charge and asked to forfeit 25 percent on the undisclosed sum he was arrested with at the Mallam Aminu Kano Airport.