A Northern civil rights group, Lovers of Human Liberty, LOHL, has questioned the sincerity of the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mrs. Farida Waziri, in fighting the scourge of corruption, accusing her of engaging in political subterfuge in an attempt to keep her job.
In a statement issued yesterday in Abuja, President of LOHL, Alhaji Saminu Mohammed, accused Waziri of playing politics with the war against corruption.
Citing the on-going case against the former governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori, the group challenged Waziri to tell Nigerians the truth on the status of the investigation already carried out before now by the commission on the alleged sale of Delta State government shares in Oceanic Bank by Ibori when he was governor.
It said:Â â€œThe commission told us that they declared Ibori wanted because of fresh petition written against him by some concerned indigenes. She was emphatic that this was a fresh case that had nothing to do with the other cases for which he was tried. The impression that the EFCC gave was that this case had never been investigated.
â€œSuddenly, in an advertorial published on Sunday in the Vanguard Newspaper by Ascot Offshore Nigeria Limited, the company alleged that the same Waziri had not only investigated the deal but also wrote a letter to Ascot lawyers, saying that there was no fraud in the deal.
â€œIf that advertorial is anything to go by, Farida herself wrote: ‘In view of the foregoing, there has been no nexus established between James O. Ibori or Delta State government with Ascot Offshore Nigeria Limited nor was it established that Ascot Offshore Nigeria Limited was used to launder funds for or on behalf of James O. Ibori and or Delta State government as the whole transaction was financed by Intercontinental Bank PlcÂ as evidenced in theirÂ offer letter of facilities dated 12 January 2007 in the sum of N19.5 billion, term loan, N1.3 billion overdraft facility and another offer letter dated 6 February 2007 in the sum of US$22 million.’â€
Mohammed insisted that Waziri must come out and say if she wrote the letter.
â€œIf she did, then the question will be, what is new?Â What has happened that would make the EFCC declare a man wanted over a deal which it had investigated and cleared him?
â€œBut if the letter was forged, then she knows what to do. If Waziri actually wrote the letter, the circumstance under which she wrote it does not matter, she does not deserve to be in that position a day longer.
It will be a veritable proof that she is not fighting corruption but using the agency to witch-hunt perceived enemies of the powers-that be. We have heard that Waziri is under pressure from the Presidency to ensure that Ibori is taken out of circulation before the 2011 elections.
But she should know better. Must she assassinate the character of a fellow human being just because she wants to keep her job?
What Ascot has done by releasing that letter is to cast aspersion on her integrity and she will have herself to blame if indeed she investigated this case over a year agoÂ and found nothing untoward, only to re-open it for reasons of political expediency.
If this is what has happened, we ask her to resign her job immediately because she has lost the moral authority to continue on that seat.â€