Ola Olukoyede, Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Wednesday, said that the anti-graft agency had uncovered instances of money laundering tied to religious sects and bodies, with some funds allegedly supporting terrorist activities in Nigeria.
Olukoyede disclosed this during a public engagement on youth, religion, and the fight against corruption. and Launch of Fraud Risk Assessment Project for Ministries, Departments, And Agencies (MDAs) in Abuja.
In his disclosure, Olukoyede detailed an ongoing investigation into a N13 billion fraud case, where N7 billion was traced to a religious body’s bank account.
He emphasized that various religious organizations, institutions, sects, and bodies have been implicated in money laundering activities.
“A religious sect in this country was laundering money for terrorists,” Olukoyede stated, underscoring the serious nature of the revelations.
Despite the EFCC’s efforts to investigate the financial irregularities, Olukoyede highlighted the challenges faced, citing a restraining order obtained by a religious organization to halt the probe into its leaders.
“We were able to trace some laundered money to a religious organisation, and when we approached the religious organisation about it and we were carrying out our investigation, we got a restraining order stopping us from carrying out our investigation,” he explained.
Olukoyede further disclosed that, in his three months as EFCC Chairman, the commission had secured an impressive 747 convictions, with a significant portion related to internet-based offenses.
The one-day event, focused on youth involvement in cybercrimes and the role of religion in reorienting them, featured the launch of the Interfaith Preaching and Teaching Manual. Developed by the Interfaith Anti-Corruption Advisory Committee, the manual serves as a resource to promote a strong stance against corruption among Islam and Christianity adherents.
The event also witnessed the launch of the EFCC’s Fraud Risk Assessment Prevention and Control Project for Ministries, Departments, and Agencies, highlighting the commission’s commitment to addressing corruption at various levels of governance.
President Bola Tinubu represented by Kashim Shettima, the Vice President, expressed profound delight, commending the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for its unwavering dedication in combating corruption, specifically addressing the alarming rise of cybercrimes tarnishing the nation’s image.
The President acknowledged the global challenge of cybercrimes, emphasizing that the fight against internet offenses is a shared responsibility.
He applauded the EFCC’s relentless efforts, assuring continued government support in eradicating this menace.
Addressing concerns about the perception of Nigeria as a hub for fraud, the President rejected the pejorative term “Nigerian scam” and highlighted the global nature of cybercrimes.
He underscored that the government is committed to providing opportunities for lawful enterprise, and discouraging criminal activities among the youth.
Expressing worry over accusations against the EFCC’s operations, the President reassured that the government is aware of the challenges faced by the youth.
He encouraged them to explore legitimate opportunities, mentioning the establishment of a Students Loan Board to support undergraduates.