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EFCC: No Case against Obasanjo, 31 Ex-Govs

Posted by By Kingsley Nwezeh and Olaolu Olusina on 2008/10/13 | Views: 1629 |

EFCC: No Case against Obasanjo, 31 Ex-Govs


The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mrs. Farida Waziri, has said former President Olusegun Obasanjo and 31 ex-governors, who were investigated by her predecessor, have no prima facie case against them.

•Ex-president rejects power probe report

The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mrs. Farida Waziri, has said former President Olusegun Obasanjo and 31 ex-governors, who were investigated by her predecessor, have no prima facie case against them.

She also said the commission has not received any petition against the former President.
But the former President also yesterday rejected the report of the House of Representatives Committee on Power and Steel, which probed the $16.9 billion spent on the power sector “without commensurate results.”

The report of the probe panel had indicted Obasanjo over the power sector funds.
Waziri said yesterday in Abuja at the 5th edition of the National Roundtable for Good Governance organised by the Faculty Board of Initiatives of the House of Representatives that EFCC has no case against Obasanjo.

Also at the forum, House of Representatives Speaker Dimeji Bankole said that over N3 trillion of revenue collected by ministries, departments and agencies (MDA's) of government in the last five years was yet to be paid into the Federation Account.

Bankole said the House has discovered that various MDAs were withholding over N3 trillion due for the Federation Account. "The House of Representatives' finanace committee investigation into revenue-generating agencies of government has revealed that, in the last five years alone, over N3 trillion of revenue collected by MDAs was not remitted to the Federation Account as they should be.

Farida who presented a paper entitled; “A Discussion of How Corruption Adversely Impacts on Achieving the Millennium Development Goals” said corruption kills and called on governments to open its operations to audit to enable the EFCC flush out corrupt practices and officials.

Responding to a question on why in spite of alleged petitions the former president and 31 ex-governors who were declared corrupt by Mallam Nuhu Ribadu were yet to be prosecuted, Waziri said there was nothing in their files with the commission to warrant prosecution.

She said: “Let me tell you truthfully. I got there, what I found is what I am working with. If there is nothing in the case file there is nothing I can do. I do not have 31 case files. There is no prima facie case against them to the best of my knowledge.

“I have not received any petition against President Obasanjo. There is no case file there.”
The EFCC chairman also attributed the inability of the agency to successfully prosecute some of the accused corrupt politicians on the senior lawyers who delay the course of justice by raising judicial technicalities.

Waziri said: "What is happening is, these are people who are rich and they engage the services of SANs (Senior Advocates of Nigeria) and they stall trials by raising jurisdictions. That is why we are calling for special courts. We are really disturbed by these cases.”

Meanwhile, former President Obasanjo has rejected the report of the House Committee on Power, saying its conclusion contained unsubstantiated allegations.

This was contained in a statement signed by his Special Assistant, Mr Adeoba Ojekunle, and made available to newsmen in Abuja.

The statement noted that the committee concluded its report “with wild, wicked, unsubstantiated and unsupported allegation of recklessness in the power sector during his time.

“Gen. Obasanjo rejects the allegation in its entirety and regards the report as working to a preconceived and afterthought conclusion reached by the leadership of the House and Committee before the so-called investigation took place.
“Nothing can be more reckless than casting aspersion on the person and the intention of the former President.”

“The former President pursued the issue of power, which had been previously neglected for 20 years, with high dedication, commitment, prudence, utmost integrity, aggressiveness and diligence required and the best judgement and in the best interest of the nation.”
The statement noted that there was no substitute for the programme left by that administration to move the power sector forward.

It said: "The programme was comprehensive to include government participation on its own, private participation on its own and public-private partnership.
"What is necessary for all concerned is to help the present administration to move forward expeditiously on the power programme."

It said that as one of the initiators of Transparency International and the chairman of its advisory council until he became President of the country, Obasanjo was one of those who defined "grand corruption" and fought it globally.

"Grand corruption, or any corruption for the matter, must have the 'giver' and 'taker' for it to exist," it said. "The fact that contracts were awarded does not in itself amount to corruption or grand corruption."

The statement said that the honourable committee could not establish a "giver" or a "taker", but went on wild allegation to support its publicly declared position taken before the investigation began.

The Committee on Power submitted its report to the House last Thursday
Also speaking at the roundatble, Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State urged the EFCC to consider seizing all stolen properties and monies from the culprits. He said many people were being attracted to public office in order to loot and covet public property.
He said: “I would advise that the EFCC convert stolen properties to whatever it could be used for to the benefit of the people.”

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

Actually translates to bravehearted.