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EFCC warns on danger of cryptocurrencies to world economy

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Advocates global action against financial crimes

Chairman, Economic, and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, has said the growth of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin portrays a far greater danger to the world economy.

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The EFCC boss stated this while delivering a keynote address, yesterday, at the 38th Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crimes, themed, ‘Economic Crime- Who Pays And Who Should Pay?’ organised by the Centre for International Documentation on Organised and Economic Crime (CIDOEC), Jesus College, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Describing cryptocurrencies as the new typology of economic crimes, Bawa said criminals now elect to transact or receive illegal money such as ransom in digital currencies.

He said bitcoin and Ethereum were the most commonly used medium of these exchanges. He, therefore, advocated a collaborative approach by authorities around the world in dealing with the challenge, which he described as a global scourge.

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He said economic crimes “affect the vital structures of global economies, causing significant damage to the global financial system and depriving developing nations of the needed resources for sustainable development.”

He noted that developed countries are not immune from the scourge, which has “magnified with the proliferation of cybercrimes”

He commended the choice of the theme, which he said offers a platform to interrogate the challenges of economic crimes. “As victims continue to suffer globally from the effects of financial crimes, either directly or indirectly, as part of a social system, the determination of who pays or who should pay becomes a critical measure of the criminal justice system in place,” he said.

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He underlined the imperatives of an impartial judiciary in ensuring “the perpetrators of acts and not the victims pay for their crimes”.

He highlighted some of the transparency and accountability achievements of Nigeria under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, including enactment and amendment of relevant laws to enhance public accountability and reforms such as Treasury Single Account and the Whistle Blower Policy.

Bawa also pointed out that the EFCC, as the rallying point in the fight against economic crimes in Nigeria, has recorded important milestones in investigations, prosecutions, and assets recovery.

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“Since its establishment in 2003, the Commission has recorded no less than 3,500 convictions and recovered assets of significant value including properties in Nigeria, the UK, USA, and UAE. All these have measurably contributed to the national efforts against economic crimes in Nigeria,” he said.

He challenged participants to come up with practical solutions to curb the international threat of economic crimes.

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