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Police, SSS begin fresh plot against Ribadu, others

Posted by By Musikilu Mojeed and Francis Falola on 2008/08/17 | Views: 1412 |

Police, SSS begin fresh plot against Ribadu, others


The travails of the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, appears unabated as indications emerged on Sunday that he is being investigated by the State Security Service and the Police over a laptop recovered from the Lagos residence of a former Head of the commission’s Governance Unit, Mr. Ibrahim Magu.

The travails of the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, appears unabated as indications emerged on Sunday that he is being investigated by the State Security Service and the Police over a laptop recovered from the Lagos residence of a former Head of the commission’s Governance Unit, Mr. Ibrahim Magu.

Also being discretely investigated over the matter are the former EFCC Acting Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, a former Chief of Staff to Ribadu, Mr. Dapo Olorunyomi, and some other ex-officials of the anti-graft agency.

The Toshiba laptop, officially issued to Magu in 2002 by the anti-graft agency, was recovered alongside a GSM handset, some charge sheets and his handover note on July 28, 2008, by some EFCC operatives.

Investigations by our correspondents revealed that the decision to carry out the investigation followed the claim by the leadership of the EFCC that documents containing some high-profile cases were missing and that an intelligence report suggested that some of them might be in possession of the former EFCC officials.

A source said, “Let me tell you that the investigation of Ribadu over the laptop is just one of the ways the Federal government and the Police is trying to rubbish him. They have demoted him from the post of an Assistant Inspector-General of Police in order to punish him for being bold enough to arrest and prosecute the hitherto untouchables that looted the treasuries of our states.

“Remember that some of them had vowed to deal with him and that is what they are doing now by making unsubstantiated allegations aginst him. Just ask yourself why he(Ribadu) should be linked with a laptop that was assigned to somebody else; a laptop that was not in his possession.”

Another source quoted a top official of the Federal Government as having claimed that some sensitive correspondences between the Ribadu-led EFCC and United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigations were among the documents found in the computer.

In one of the said letters, the EFCC, through the FBI, allegedly reported President Umaru Yar’Adua to the American government as bereft of the necessary political will to prosecute the war against corruption.

Investigations revealed that the leadership of the EFCC had since passed the six-year-old laptop to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mike Aondoakaa (SAN), whose ministry has supervisory powers over the commission.

Aondoakaa, it was further gathered, directed that the computer be passed on to the security agencies for further investigations.

As part of the investigation, Magu, our source confirmed, had for the past two weeks, been detained by the police.

On August 5, 2008, there were reports that the SSS made an unsuccessful attempt to arrest Ribadu in Kuru , near Jos where he is attending a course at the Nigerian Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies.

It was gathered that some government officials had expressed concern that any attempt to arrest Ribadu might further drag the administration into disrepute and portray it as desperate to nail the former EFCC boss.

However, efforts to speak with Aondoakaa on Sunday were unsuccessful as calls made to his mobile phones were not picked. As at 9pm on Sunday, he also did not reply to an SMS to his telephone line at 5.46pm.

When contacted on Sunday, Force Public Relations Officer, Mr. Akpoebi Agberebi, confirmed that an investigation was indeed on but said he was in Osogbo, Osun State, preparing for the August Police conference.

On when Ribadu is likely to be invited for questioning, Agberebi said, “The man is now on course. That will be done at the appropriate time. We do not need to be in a hurry because matters like that don’t end just like that.

“But for now, he is on course and he will be allowed to finish his course first.”

When our correspondent sought the comment of the spokesman of the SSS, Mr. Tony Anaeto, he said he was attending a course outside Abuja, and could not respond.

Responding to our correspondent’s enquiries, the Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Femi Babafemi said, “You know very well that the EFCC handles only economic and financial issues. Issues bordering on state security are handled by other agencies of government.”

Ribadu and Magu could not be reached on Sunday but a source close to the two men said it was untrue that any letter was written to the FBI disparaging Yar’Adua on Magu’s computer.

The source, who pleaded not to be named said, “Ribadu could not have written such a letter. Even if such a letter is to be written, that would not have been done by Magu.

“We are surprised that they are so desperate to nail Ribadu and other former officials of the commission. Initially, they claimed that they saw documents linking the EFCC to SaharaReporters (an online news agency) on the laptop. Now they are talking about a letter to the FBI.

“It is all in desperation but we are confident that all these shadow-chasing will come to naught. If they are sure of their facts, they should charge Magu to court.”

When contacted, Olorunyomi said, “I am not aware that any such letter was written to the FBI and nobody has told me that any such document was found on Magu’s laptop. It is not in Ribadu’s character to write such a letter.

“I am not aware that I am being investigated. Nobody has asked me any question.”

The Police Service Commission had on August 5, demoted Ribadu to the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police.

Also demoted were 139 other police officers who were said to have enjoyed rapid promotions during the reign of Mr. Sunday Ehindero as Inspector-General of Police.

Meanwhile, the EFCC has started investigating the finances of all the 774 local government areas in the country.

The spokesman of the commission, Babafemi, during a telephone interview with one of our correspondents in Minna, Niger State on Sunday, said the probe was ordered by the commission’s Chairman, Mrs Farida Waziri.

He said that the visit by the commission’s operatives to Niger State was not as a result of petitions against the chairman of the councils in the state.

Babafemi said, “The visit of the commission’s operatives was not necessarily based on petitions as the commission through the directives from its chairman, had ordered its operatives to beam their searchlights on all local government areas in the country.

“So, it is an exercise across the country as we are visiting all local government areas one after the other to verify their accounts. The decision was not necessarily based on petitions as the commission has decided not to wait for petitions before embarking on such investigations.”

He added that the commission’s action followed an intelligent report before it.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.