Bawa Charges Media To Shun Biases In Reporting Economic Crimes

The Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa has called on the media to shun biases of ethnicity, religion, and political affiliations in the reporting of financial crimes, stressing that the fight against corruption should transcend such considerations.

He gave the charge on Wednesday, August 17, 2022, in Abuja while declaring open a One-Day Workshop on Financial Crimes Reporting organized by the EFCC for Financial Crimes Reporters.

Bawa explained that the EFFC is making progress in securing convictions, pointing out that as of August 5, 2022, the Commission has secured 2210 convictions. “This is just ten convictions short of the 2220 convictions secured in 2021”, he said.  He assured Nigerians of an improved exchange rate of the naira, stressing that through the EFCC’s intervention, the declining exchange rate of the naira has been reversed.

“One achievement which most of you may not easily recognize is the impact which EFCC’s intervention in the Forex market has had on the value of the naira.  From well over N710 to the dollar, following the Commission’s intervention, the naira has appreciated significantly against the dollar in the parallel market, and we are not relenting in our efforts to check harmful speculative activities in the sector. I urge you to also beam your searchlights on this area as it is in our collective interests to have a national currency whose value is not subject to the whims of crooked speculators”, he said.

The Workshop paraded Resource Persons that spoke on different topics, including  Sylvanus Tahir,  Head, Legal and Prosecution  Unit,  Dele Oyewale,  Assistant Director, Media & Publicity Unit, and  Buhari Dalhatu of the Cyber Crime Section of the EFCC.  Tahir, who spoke through Assistant Commander of the EFCC, Samuel Okeleke itemised several challenges of prosecuting economic and financial crimes in Nigeria.  According to him, such hurdles include non-cooperation of potential prosecution witnesses, nature of evidence gathered at the investigation stage; prosecutorial competencies of the prosecuting counsel,  strength of transparency, and fairness of the presiding judge in the trial, and gaps in the law guiding prosecution.  He pointed out that “no trial can succeed if the trial judge is partial”

Speaking on the topic: “Best Practices in Financial Crimes Reporting”,  Oyewale noted that, economic and financial crimes across the world are evolving with disturbing dynamics, with criminality outpacing technological advancement with breath-taking sophistication.  He called on the media to attune itself to the rising strides and trends of criminality, while at the same time, rising to the challenges of hard work, integrity, self-motivation, and clear focus in their reporting.   “Unless issues of un-reporting, under-reporting, and non- follow up of existing cases in court are addressed,  best practices  in financial crimes reporting would be a mirage”, he said.

Dalhatu tackled the “Peculiarities, Trends, Typologies and Challenges of Cybercrimes Enforcement in Nigeria” and decried the increasing sophistication of hackers and other internet fraudsters in the country.  He spoke about the networking of cyber crime fraudsters across the world and the need to be more watchful and cautious with internet uses.  “ Cybercrime fraudsters employ hackers from different parts of the world to compromise the systems of banks and other sensitive organisations but there is no hacking that can succeed without an insider compromise”, he said.  He warned organisations to be fair to their employees “because hackers always succeed through the involvement of aggrieved staff  in any establishment”. 

He charged the media to step up enlightenment on the hazards of cybercrimes to save the public losses and grave risks to their investments.

The Workshop was attended by Financial Crime Reporters from the print, broadcast and social media.

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