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There’s no plan to arrest Ribadu, says EFCC

Posted by From Yusuf Ali, Kamarudeen Ogundele, Dele Anofi (Abuja) and Pam Ayuba (Jos) on 2008/11/27 | Views: 1859 |

There’s no plan to arrest Ribadu, says EFCC


Former Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) chair Nuhu Ribadu yesterday told an Abuja Federal high Court that the Police have been threatening to sack him since he went to court over his demotion.

Former Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) chair Nuhu Ribadu yesterday told an Abuja Federal high Court that the Police have been threatening to sack him since he went to court over his demotion.

Ribadu’s counsel, Charles Musa, urged Justice Adamu Bello to come to his client’s aid and restrain the Police from harassing and intimidating him.

But the EFCC yesterday in Abuja said it had no plans to arrest Ribadu, saying all it wanted from him was information on 20 of the 31 former governors’ case files he claimed to have worked on before leaving office.

Ribadu was demoted from Assistant Inspector-General to Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) in September while he was attending the Senior Executive Course (SEC) 30 at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru new Jos, Plateau State.

He said Inspector-General of Police (IG) Mike Okiro, the Police Service Commission (PSC) and the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, were challenging his demotion.

In the Originating Summons, Ribadu urged the court to:

•determine if he is not entitled to seek and obtain judicial remedies against the defendants for his demotion without first seeking the permission of the defendants;

•whether his demotion is not against the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution and Section 6(1) and (2) of the PSC Establishment Act 2001 and;

•whether by Section 34(1)(a) and 36 (1) of the 1999 Constitution, he is not entitled to fair hearing.

The defendants have filed a preliminary objection challenging the suit.

Musa said Ribadu had been invited to face a seven-man disciplinary committee comprising all the Deputy Inspectors-General (DIGs) and the Force Secretary who is an AIG. It was set up by the IG.

Praying the court for an order dismissing the suit, the defence counsel, Anthony Malik, said the "action is improperly constituted; the case is not justiceable and constitutes an abuse of court process".

Besides, he said, the condition precedent to the institution of the suit had not been fulfilled; the reliefs not maintainable in law and the suit discloses no cause or reasonable cause of action.

"The plaintiff’s action is entirely speculative, vexatious and frivolous. The suit is incurably incompetent and or fundamentally defective and a fortiori the plaintiff’s case as constituted vests no jurisdiction in the court," he said.

In an affidavit, Ribadu averred that former President Olusegun Obasanjo upon the recommendation of the IG effected his promotions.

He said at the time of his promotions, the PSC had not been reconstituted.

"It has been the practice for Police officers in Nigeria to be promoted by the President as I was promoted or by the IG," he claimed.

Besides, he said "the IG’s (Okiro’s) promotion, from the rank of Commissioner of Police to DIG, was not done by the PSC. Indeed, he skipped the rank of AIG."

Ribadu averred that a permanent executive member of the PSC harboured "considerable resentment and hatred" against him because he (Ribadu) had once recommended his punishment and prosecution for alleged nefarious activities and gross misconduct.

Musa’s effort to obtain an interlocutory injunction was challenged by Malik.

Malik said the judge could not make any binding order since his jurisdiction was being challenged.

Justice Bello urged parties not to destroy the essence of the suit. He implored parties to be aware of the principles of lis-pendis (pending case).

He also directed the parties to exchange written addresses and come back for the adoption on January 27 next year.

Addressing reporters, EFCC’s Head of Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Babafemi, said the commission was not out to witch-hunt Ribadu.

He said: "For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to reassure Nigerians and all stakeholders in the anti-graft war that the EFCC leadership’s interest (under Mrs. Farida Waziri) in Mallam Ribadu is limited to his work as pioneer chairman of our organisation.

"The invitation extended to him, which is purely an administrative issue, was for him to clear the air on some issues pertaining to his tenure as chairman.

"It was never borne out of vendetta or an attempt to ensnare him as being speculated in some quarters."

He said Ribadu’s invitation would not have been a media issue if the former EFCC chair did not alert the press.

Babafemi added: "We invited Ribadu and a former acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde. Nobody knew that Lamorde was invited because he took it as purely administrative.

"When we invited Ribadu, he called Mrs. Waziri to let the audience hold on a Saturday and it was approved. Before his letter got to the EFCC, it was already published in the media. It is not even in our interest to be taking such an issue to the media."

Babafemi said Ribadu was invited over the purportedly prepared case files on 31 former governors; sale of forfeited assets and handover note.

He said Ribadu had told the National Assembly that 31 case files were ready against some former governors out of which he prosecuted eight.

Babafemi explained that Mrs Waziri had prosecuted three governors in the last six months, leaving about 20 outstanding case files.

He added: "Others are still being investigated because the information available at the time she took over was too scanty to sustain a charge. The commission needed the assistance of its former chairman to shed more light on those case files."

Babafemi went on: "The sale of the assets of some convicted corrupt persons and fraudsters have lately become the subject of controversy, with some of them questioning the valuation and manner of disposal of those properties in petitions to the commission.

"Some have even taken the commission to court. For the commission to explain the integrity of these sales and defend itself in court, it needed information regarding those transactions.

"We need to know who bought what and at what price. We need to have access to the relevant documanets covering all these transactions. There are legal provisions regarding the disposal of forfeited assets; were those provisions followed in all the transactions?

"Sadly, there are no records anywhere in the commission that provide answers to these issues."

He cited the case of Chelsea Hotel in Abuja owned by the former Governor of Bayelsa State Dieprieye Alamieyeseigha that was handed over to a firm to manage.

"There was no contract spelling out the terms of engagement and the expectations of the parties. What is more, no account was rendered by the firm in three years of managing the company. It was only when Mrs. Waziri took over that the company sent in a cheque of N50million. and soon after, they wrote a letter requesting for massive funds to renovate the hotel".

Babafemi said the invitation was extended to Ribadu because Mr. Larmode, who was earlier invited, could not assist the commission.

"Unfortunately, Larmode’s presence didn’t do much in addressing the issues. The handover note given to him by Ribadu lacked information that could resolve all the outstanding issues," he said.

Expressing hope that Ribadu would honour the invitation in the interest of assisting the institution he helped to build, Babafemi allayed fears of his arrest, saying: "We wish to state categorically that Ribadu has no cause to be scared of EFCC’s invitation and so the fear of arrest is baseless, unfounded and without merit."

According to him, the commission is more interested in moving on with the anti-corruption crusade as proved between June and September when the commission recovered over N10billion and prosecuted prominent individuals connected with economic crimes.

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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.