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Files on ex-governors missing, says EFCC

Posted by By John Ameh, Abuja on 2008/10/13 | Views: 1621 |

Files on ex-governors missing, says EFCC


The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mrs. Faraday Waziri, on Monday said that the former state governors investigated by the commission were still walking about freely because files on their alleged misdeeds were either “missing or distorted.”

The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mrs. Faraday Waziri, on Monday said that the former state governors investigated by the commission were still walking about freely because files on their alleged misdeeds were either “missing or distorted.”

Waziri, who spoke at a national round table on “Millennium Development Goals and Challenges of Anti-Corruption, ”organised by the House of Representatives Faculty Board of Initiatives in Abuja, also said the commission had no evidence against a former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.

Her predecessor, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, had once told the Senate in 2007 that the EFCC had concluded investigations into the corrupt activities of about 31 former and serving governors.

Only a few of the former governors – Chief James Ibori (Delta), Chief Orji Kalu (Abia), Chief Lucky Igbinedion (Edo), Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu), Mr. Ayo Fayose (Ekiti), Chief Joshua Dariye (Plateau), Mr. Jolly Nyame (Taraba), Alhaji Saminu Turaki (Jigawa), Mr. Boni Haruna (Adamawa), have since been arraigned by the anti-graft agency.

But at the rountable, Waziri stunned the audience that included the Speaker of the House, Mr. Dimeji Bankole, lawmakers and some governors, when she said, “I don’t have 31 files ( on the former governors); there is no prima-facie case against them.

“It is trite law that we must hear all sides, but here we have distorted files and statements.”

She said that the commission’s predicament was worsened by the unwillingness of people to assist it with vital proof that would have hastened the effort to bring the former governors to justice.

Waziri cited one major bottleneck as the uncooperative attitude of witnesses who refuse to appear in court and testify against those under the EFCC’s watch.

The EFCC chairman also said that she neither met any petition against Obasanjo when she assumed office nor had any been sent to her since she became the head of the commission early this year.

“I am working on what I have found; I have not received any petition against Obasanjo and there is no case file there (at the EFCC’s office),” she stated.

But the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties, disagreed with Waziri when it pointed out that she was merely making excuses.

The CNPP’s representative at the roundtable, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, drew her attention to three petitions the conference sent to the EFCC calling for the probe of Obasanjo’s administration.

Okechukwu said, “We sent petitions to the EFCC, Madam; they are there before you.

“The EFCC didn’t do anything about those petitions. How can you be talking about fighting corruption when you have consistently ignored the petitions we sent to your commission calling for the probe of Obasanjo’s tenure?”

Instead of admitting or denying the claim, Waziri rather spoke elaborately on the agency’s new anti-corruption “proactive” style, which she said was to prevent an act of corruption before it took place.

She explained that ex-public officers had learnt smarter ideas of making the agency’s prosecution and recovery of stolen money more difficult.

She stated that prevention and prosecution of established cases would go hand-in-hand, contrary to the public perception that the EFCC under her, was not interested in arresting and prosecuting suspects.

Waziri defended the agency’s desire to have the Nigerian Civil Forfeiture bill passed by the National Assembly to empower the agency to confiscate the assets of public officers protected by immunity even while in office.

She told the gathering that the commission was already turning its searchlight on state and local governments as a mark of its concern over how the billions of naira allocated monthly to them from the Federation Account were utilised.

She said, “Enough is enough; we are also communicating the MDAs (ministries, departments and agencies) to provide us with the list of companies they have awarded contracts.

“We are checking whether the companies are registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission. We want to know so that if there is a problem with a particular contract, we can begin to ask the right questions immediately.

“We hope that together, we will win the war against corruption.”

Bankole, in his remarks, observed that the collapse of basic infrastructure in the country was a testimony to the fact that the funds appropriated over the years to revive them were “diverted into private pockets or stolen.”

The speaker noted that the revelations that came out of the probe of the power sector by the House and the ongoing investigations of the oil sector had told the story of how the country had been run aground.

He, therefore, urged the Presidency to summon the courage to implement the reports on the various probes by the House when debated and passed over to it.

Bankole also appealed to Nigerians to ask questions on the status of unspent funds held by states and local governments.

He said, “Nigeria is facing monumental corruption; this year, we recovered about N450bn unspent funds at the Federal level.

“The question to ask is why have we not had cases of unspent funds from the states and local governments, especially when the two collect about 48 per cent of our allocations?

“If the money appropriated to the power sector had been utilised, we would have gone a long way in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.”

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Comments (3)

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Abieyuwa(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Otasowie means evening life is better than morning life. There is an error in your “evening life is better than evening life”?

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Naija g(Houston, Minnesota, US)says...

Sokari doesn’t mean joy. Joy is Biobela. Go to the village and ask the meaning of the name.

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

Actually translates to bravehearted.