By Emman Ovuakporie
The Economic and Finanical Crimes Commission, EFCC, insisted yesterday that it sent an invitation letter to former Delta State governor, Chief James Ibori,Â saying he was not declared wanted same day he was invited.
The commission was, in a statement issued yesterday, reacting to claims by the former governor that no letter of invitation got either to his Lagos or Abuja home.
â€œWe, therefore, wish to state as follows: Chief James Ibori knows quite well that the EFCC has been looking for him for interrogation for over four weeks.
â€œWhen it was becoming increasingly difficult to locate him, the commission decided to get in touch with officials of Delta State government to extend our invitation to the former governor through them.
â€œPrecisely on 22 MarchÂ 2010, our operatives investigating the case involving Chief James Ibori, visited Delta and met with state officials at Government House, Asaba, to help the commission get in touch with Chief Ibori to honour our invitation.
â€œThrough the same state officials, Chief Ibori got back to our operatives on 25 MarchÂ 2010, to ask that our operatives should return to Delta to interview him at Government House instead of him coming to the EFCC office, Abuja .
â€œThe leadership of the commission rejected the trap and insisted Chief Ibori should honour our invitation by coming to our office in Abuja .
“It is obvious that Chief Ibori has gone into hiding since then. And as such, our decision to declare him wanted was based on our previous contacts with him and not on the letters being referred to in the advertorial.
â€œWe also like to state that it is presumptuous to express concerns about the commission re-investigating a matter for which Chief Ibori had earlier been discharged by a court in Asaba.
â€œOur invitations to Chief Ibori have nothing to do with the case decided by the Asaba court as the commission has already appealed that ruling.”
We need him to answer questions based on fresh allegations bordering on official corruption and money laundering.
â€œWe, therefore, want to assure Chief James Ibori that the commission respects the rule of law and individual rights and we will treat him with decorum as demanded by the law.
â€œWhile assuring him that our action is not in any way dictated by any political consideration, we implore him that what is important to us and cardinal to the course of justice at this moment is that he should come out of hiding and honour our invitation.â€