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Bail granted to former governors does not exonerate them – EFCC

Posted by By GODDY OSUJI, Enugu on 2007/07/02 | Views: 505 |

Bail granted to former governors does not exonerate them – EFCC


The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has come out to explain that bail granted to the former governors does not in any way exonerate them from been culpable for the crimes committed while in office.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has come out to explain that bail granted to the former governors does not in any way exonerate them from been culpable for the crimes committed while in office.

It also affirmed that it stands firm by its interim reports since the Commission has not come out to say “we are no longer standing by it.”
The anti-corruption body said: “Instead we are amassing evidences that will make our cases water-tight in the courts.”
The clarification came on the heels of a massive demonstration in Enugu Wednesday where over 5000 men and women marched to the Commission’s Enugu zonal office along Federal Government College Road, Independence Layout, to demand for the prosecution of the former governor of the state, Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani.

The protesters, who literally sent fears to the people, even as the officials of the Commission secured their premises by locking the gates against the placard carrying demonstrators, were later addressed by the Head of Operations Enugu, Hyacinth Edozie, who commended them for the orderly and peaceful manner in which they conducted themselves.

Some of the placards says: “EFCC, stop Business as usual”, “Stand up Ribadu”, “Wake up EFCC”, “No plea bargain”, ‘Return our N60 billion and go to jail”, “Chimaroke worse than Alamieyeseigha”, “Chimaroke enemy of Enugu State.”

While addressing the demonstrators, Edozie assured them that the Commission is not losing tempo, but adopting a new strategy. He argued further, “The most important thing is that at the end of the tunnel, there is light. Investigations of Economic and Financial crimes of this magnitude are not something you start today and tomorrow you say you are going to court. In this kind of thing, you must dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s. You don’t just rush cases to court for the fun of it. If the Commission finishes investigation and discovers that a crime has been committed, we have a procedure,” he explained.
He noted that the principal party to the case (Nnamani) has made statement based on the charges and that “there are banks and organizations we need to meet for one or two documents and these things don’t come in a flash. So you have to be patient with us.”

The Head of Operations further advised them to forget some media reports that said “they should pay N20 billion or N10 billion since there has been no official pronouncement in respect of that”. Those speculations, he pleaded, should not be heard “until you hear my chairman or the Public Relations Officer of EFCC. That is when you can believe it. If at the end of the day we say Chimaroke is free, that is when you start to cast aspersions on us. For now, like I said, investigation of cases is not a child’s play, you have to be thorough.”

Earlier the demonstrators led by leaders of various civil society organizations had handed over their petition for onward dispatch to the EFCC chairman.
In the petition, where they stated their grievances, they accused the Commission of failing to make good a long standing threat to commence the prosecution of the affected persons, including Dr. Nnamani. Pointing out that the idea of a plea-bargain, which would involve the voluntary forfeiture of a substantial part of their loot “on the part of the accused former governors in lieu of light sentence or no sentence at all, had been thrown up as a compromise in the unfolding melodrama.” They insisted that any form of plea-bargaining is not at all an option in the present circumstances.

They further considered that it would be tragic if Dr. Nnamani was allowed to get off the hook with his corruption and sundry economic financial crimes against Enugu State and described his case as a litmus test for the anti-corruption war waged by the government of President Umaru Yar’Adua.

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