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Will the real Ribadu stand still?

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By Dele Sobowale
0805-631-3867: Why did you blackmail Ribadu like that. It is time you rest this your column, you are not sincere

It is a measure of the shamelessness of our elite and the institutions that fuel their values that Chief George could be awarded a national honour in our country and he could later sue some newspapers on account of the indictment report I prepared against him —Malam Nuhu Ribadu

IT is understandable that die-hard fans of Ribadu would not give up on their idol irrespective of the facts. In fact, they, like Ribadu, never allow facts to get in their way in order to make a self-seeking point. Ribadu’s fan quoted above obviously does not know the meaning of blackmail.

He should go and look it up in any dictionary then he can call back to let me know when I demanded anything from Ribadu except that he should stop maligning Nigeria, the president and others for his benefit. Ribadu sent in the statement above to several newspapers shortly after Bode was sentenced.

What he failed to mention were the following. First, after charging Bode with 163 counts, Ribadu himself had backed away from the charges. When asked towards the end of Obasanjo’s administration why he had not prosecuted the case, he challenged anyone who had evidence to come forward with it. Indeed, he had given the impression that a mistake had been made to charge Bode at all. Now he wants to claim credit for the first solid achievement of the EFCC. Yet some people had evidence.

Secondly, Ribadu knew that Bode was given national honours long before the investigation into NPA contract scam. Still, he deliberately creates the wrong impression that it was done after.

He even failed to mention the president who awarded the national honours, Obasanjo, because till today Ribadu still maintains that the former president did no wrong. But, Obasanjo sat on two audit reports – the first in August 2003; the second in October of the same year as Ribadu was aware.

Incidentally the same Obasanjo honoured Tafa Balogun and at least two of the bank managers now charged with various crimes.

Third, Ribadu, a lawyer (or so we are told) uses the word ‘indictment’ frequently either out of ignorance or mischief or both. The EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004 passed on June 3, 2004 and certified by the Clerk to the National Assembly, Ibrahim Salim, CON, does not empower the Commission to indict anybody.

That function still remains that of the courts or judicial panels specifically granted such powers. One expects Ribadu, a lawyer, to know both the law empowering his Commission as well as the limitations of that law. But, he pretends not to know. May be he does not know enough law.

Fourth, in a Witness Statement filed by Ribadu on March 26, 2009 in London, he declared as follows: “In April 2003, I was appointed executive chairman of the EFCC, based in Abuja. I was appointed by the Nigerian president, Obasanjo, having been approved for the position by the Senate.” The question is: Is it possible for the Senate to have approved the appointment of someone for a position that did not exist in law in April 2003?

And if indeed that was done, was the appointment not illegal and of no effect. It is noteworthy that Ribadu did not give a date in April 2003 when the appointment took effect because from that day until June 3, 2004, he was a ghost worker.

Fifth, his friend El-Rufai, claimed, and Ribadu has not contradicted that claim, that Yar’Adua’s name was initially on the list of corrupt governors, but once Obasanjo decided to impose Umoru, his name was removed.

According to El-Rufai, “Nuhu Ribadu said Umaru’s name was initially on the list (of corrupt governors) but he was persuaded to remove it by Lt-Gen Aliyu Mohammed Gusau because Umaru’s corruption was not personal, and was productive relative to other governors.”

Since Ribadu has not contradicted the statement, it would appear that the former EFCC chairman was not only selective in his fight against corruption but employed corrupt practices, including nepotism, as well. He had helped impose on us a possibly corrupt president by unilaterally deciding that Umaru’s corruption was ‘productive’ – whatever that means.

Who is blackmailing who now that Ribadu has taken it upon himself to insult, at will, the president he helped to impose on Nigeria? Only blackmailers, of the Ribadu type, attack, with impunity, those on whom they believe they have a dossier. Yet he will never return to the EFCC as long as Yar’Adua is president.

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MEANWHILE, his case of attempted bribery against Ibori will be difficult to prove – unless Andy Uba testifies for the EFCC. Otherwise, it becomes Ribadu’s words against those of Ibori.

The Federal government might be $15 million richer but a conviction will be difficult to obtain under the circumstances. That is the painful truth. Perhaps the readers will benefit from a short lesson in law. Money laundering involves not one charge but at least two.

The money to be laundered must first and foremost be illegally acquired. So, at least, one previous crime had been committed. You cannot launder your own money legally earned.

This is vital, especially for reporters who accept at face value allegations about this crime. There is no need, at this stage to disclose all my findings on this matter. What is most important is to register the fact that my colleagues in the media should be more careful when dealing with stories, which if proved to be untrue, in part or wholly, could turn out to be defamatory.

LAST LINE: It is remarkable, is it not, that Tinubu and Attah, who would have had no dearth of defenders, when in office, were destitute of such supporters at this time – particularly when the allegations were whole loads of horse manure. Whatever happened to the old saying: “A friend in need is a friend indeed”? That tells us a lot about ourselves, doesn’t it? Pity!

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