The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it will go after looters of funds meant for the development of the nation’s education sector.
Acting Chairman of the commission, Ibrahim Magu, disclosed this when the management team of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) visited him in Abuja on Thursday.
Spokesman of the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, who reported the visit in a statement, said the team was led by the Fund’s Executive Secretary, Abdullahi Baffa.
Mr Magu’s assurance was said to be in response to Mr Baffa’s request for EFCC’s assistance to tackle the menace of fraud in the execution of TETFund’s projects across the country.
He told the TETFund management that the commission had identified people that could be held liable for the infractions.
“The work at hand is enormous, and we are intensifying investigations in all the zones of the country,” he said.
The EFCC boss reportedly intimated his guests with a conviction secured by the commission in a fraud case involving TETFund’s grants in Osun State.
Mr Magu said it was during the investigation and prosecution of that case that more people were discovered who could be held liable.
He said the EFCC was ready to partner with the TETFund management to block all corruption loopholes in the intervention agency.
However, the anti-corruption czar used the opportunity to encourage Mr Baffa and his team to simplify its processes “to prevent further stealing”.
He also advised them to “sensitise members of the public and all relevant stakeholders concerning TETFund and its projects in their areas.”
This, according to him, will enable the people to monitor the projects and activities of contractors involved.
The executive secretary said the assistance of EFCC was needed “to tackle the menace of inappropriate projects, abandoned projects, mismanagement of funds and stolen funds which are almost grounding the institutions”.
He, however, said the management had put some mechanisms in place to check fraudulent activities between contractors and the tertiary institutions.
“But we still need the EFCC’s assistance to escalate the matter to prevent further damage to the education sector and tertiary institutions,” he said.
Mr Baffa commended the EFCC for its “giant strides in the fight against corruption”.
TETFund is an intervention agency charged with the responsibility of managing, disbursing and monitoring the education tax to public tertiary institutions in the country.