The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has begun a quiet probe into the finances of the country’s 18 political parties and presidential candidates.
This came after applicants vying for various political posts in the parties paid exorbitant fees for expressions of interest and nomination papers.
As a result, the EFCC has requested that the Independent National Electoral Commission provide it with the bank accounts; and other financial information of political parties.
It also demanded that the managing directors of Access Bank and Polaris Bank disclose information on the 14 accounts held by the All Progressives Congress; the Peoples Democratic Party, and another group suspected of being linked to the opposition party.
Last week, on Channels Television’s Politics Today, EFCC Chairman Abdulrasheed Bawa hinted that the agency will monitor campaign finances; particularly the authenticity of monies used to acquire nomination forms ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Bawa stated that the commission would cooperate with INEC; and other election-related organisations to track the sources of money spent on nomination form purchases.
He noted, “When it comes to the issue of monitoring election funds as well as candidates’ funds that have to do with the work of INEC in this regard. But, of course, we are working hand in glove with INEC; and other related agencies in that field to ensure that we follow the money.
“We want to know the source, whether it is legitimate or illegitimate because that is what concerns us.”
The agency had initiated a forensic investigation and tracking of the money of political organisations; and interest groups, according to findings released on Saturday.
EFCC wanted a list of all political parties, their designated bank accounts; and any other information that could aid its probe in a letter to INEC Chairman Prof Mahmood Yakubu dated May 9, 2022. It was written by its Director of Operations, Michael Wetkas, on behalf of the chairman.
The letter, with reference number CB.3383/EFCC/HOPS/HQ/VOL.1/28, titled, ‘Investigation activities’, read; “The commission is conducting an inquiry in which the need to obtain certain information from your commission is imperative. In view of the foregoing, you are requested to kindly avail the following information; a list of all registered political parties; a list of designated accounts submitted by the political parties to your commission; any other information that may assist the commission in its investigation.
“This request is made pursuant to sections 38(1) and (2) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, 2004. While thanking you immensely for your continuous cooperation and collaboration; please accept the assurances of the chairman’s esteemed regards.”