The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has started beaming its searchlight on politicians and political parties in a bid to track the sources of funds for their campaigns ahead of the 2019 general elections, National Daily has gathered.
National Daily gathered from impeccable sources that the commission has set up teams to monitor election spending ahead of the elections, starting with the Ekiti governorship election which holds on July 14
It was also gathered that the EFCC Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, has already met with the chief compliance officers of banks.
At the meeting, which held on May 30 this year, the EFCC chairman mandated banks to report all suspicious transactions ahead of the election, threatening to prosecute any bank that failed to cooperate.
It was learnt that Magu’s warning was sequel to a plea by the Independent National Electoral Commission that the EFCC should help in tackling vote-buying at polling units.
A top source at the EFCC, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the matter, said, “We have set up teams which will be relating with compliance officers of all banks. We will monitor them and if we discover that banks are colluding with unscrupulous individuals, we will prosecute the banks.
“Any bank that doesn’t disclose suspicious transactions would be prosecuted.”
According to the Electoral Act, a presidential candidate should not expend more than N1bn on election campaigns. A governorship candidate is allowed to spend a maximum of N200m, while a senatorial candidate must not spend more than N40m.
However, there are ongoing efforts to effect an upward review of these amounts through the controversial amended Electoral Bill currently pending before the National Assembly.
Magu had said in February that the EFCC would prevent politicians from sharing money at party conventions or at polling centres.
“We are working with INEC to make sure that we seal every window, every leakage before the election. We will block any avenue where people can move a lot of money, either physically in raw cash or through banks.
“We will prevent people from using money to buy votes or using money during convention for delegates. We have machinery in place,” the EFCC boss had said.
INEC had equally called on the EFCC to monitor the sources of funding of campaigns as elections approached.
According to the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the electoral law also limits the amount of money that a person or association could donate to a political party.
He, however, said that most political parties and politicians had no regard for the law. He therefore called on the EFCC to assist INEC in curbing corruption.
He said, “As we approach the 2019 general elections, we will require EFCC support essentially in two ways. Number one, INEC is worried by the recent trend of vote-buying at open polling stations. Candidates and parties go to polling stations with sacks of money to induce voters.