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Cablegate: Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Requests

VZCZCXRO3374
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHUJA #0144/01 0321927
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 011926Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0141
INFO ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS 0119
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 0049

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 000144

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
STATE FOR AF/FO, AF/W, AF/RSA, INL/FO, INL/AAE, INL/C, INR/AA, L/LEI

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL SNAR ASEC EFIN EAID KCRM KCOR NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIAN ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL CRIMES COMMISSION REQUESTS
USG ASSISTANCE

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SUMMARY

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1. (SBU) SUMMARY: In November 2009, Economic and Financial Crimes
Commission (EFCC) Chairperson Farida Waziri and her top staff
travelled to the U.S. to meet with State, Justice and Treasury
Department officials. Upon returning to Nigeria, the EFCC team
developed a strategy document to move forward with long pending
major corruption cases. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) The EFCC has presented to the Mission a strategy document
with a timeline for establishing a study group in early 2010 to
create Special Financial Crime Courts and to institute special
rules of procedures for these courts, such as limiting time for
judges to rule on frivolous objections by defense attorneys that
delay cases for years while their clients remain free on bail. The
study group will also draft legislation and rules of procedure for
the Special Courts, and has requested USG participation and views
on how to proceed with this initiative.

3. (SBU) The EFCC also requested USG assistance on another new
initiative called Project "Eagle Claw" to alert potential victims
of cyber-fraud by informing them that they have received spurious
e-mails or are likely to receive more such e-mails. Microsoft
Corporation has a contract with the EFCC for developing and
deploying Internet fraud software with the itinerant licensing
fees. The EFCC and Microsoft have developed and deployed such
software to track fraudulent e-mails emanating from Nigeria. In
the past six months, the EFCC has tested the software, which is
reportedly working well. At a basic level, the software allows
EFCC to: detect fraudulent e-mails in any environment within which
it is deployed, shut down all fraudulent e-mail addresses once
identified, extract the address list from the scammer's e-mail
address book, and forward an advisory letter to victims and
potential victims, warning them that their e-mail account has been
compromised.

4. (SBU) The EFCC, however, has only recently commenced the process
of shutting down e-mail addresses, to date numbering over 100 such
addresses. The EFCC has not sent out an advisory letter yet,
however, and would appreciate USG assistance in developing the
content of the advisory letter and ensuring that it would be
impossible to clone the letter or re-direct the source of the
advisory letter. The EFCC also plans a regional Internet Fraud
Summit in Abuja February 2 to 3 and has requested USG
participation. Embassy understands that Justice Department and
Federal Bureau of Investigation representatives plan to attend.

5. (SBU) Previously, the U.S. and Nigeria alternated annual
bilateral meetings with heads of law enforcement agencies in their
respective capitals. These two meetings, which focused primarily
on the issue of illicit drugs, seem to have borne fruit. The EFCC
proposes the resumption of regular annual bilateral meetings to
discuss corruption, which may also serve to complement eventual
meetings of the proposed Bi-National Commission.

6. (SBU) The EFCC has offered to provide the Legal Attache Office
with comprehensive summaries on the status of over 40 corruption
investigations of mutual interest, which have languished in the
courts or remain at the investigative stage. The EFCC has
requested USG assistance to train their investigators and
prosecutors to move these cases forward.

ABUJA 00000144 002 OF 002


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ACTION PLANNED

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7. (U) Mission plans to engage EFCC to deploy financial crimes
courts and support their activities in establishing national and
regional cybercrime frameworks. Mission will submit project
proposals in this regard for Department's consideration once
parameters become clearer.

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COMMENT

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8. (SBU) The EFCC recently revamped its strategy for investigating
and prosecuting anti-corruption cases. The financial crimes court
initiative appears viable if officials establish and implement
proper procedural rules to expedite cases while sustaining the rule
of law. The initiative to adopt Internet fraud detection software
and to warn victims is also laudable, assuming the implementation
of proper legal and technical frameworks. EFCC's request for USG
assistance provides a new opportunity to re-engage with the agency.
Any assistance should be reserved for permanent staff, and we would
seek EFCC commitment to retain trained personnel in their positions
for at least three years to provide continuity and promote
effective use of acquired knowledge and skills. END COMMENT.
SANDERS

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