By Oscarline Onwuemenyi
ABUJA— There is growing discontent at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, over what is perceived as meddlesomeness by the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, and Minster of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, in efforts by the Commission to prosecute some high profile cases of corruption.
Many officials at the nation’s foremost anti-corruption agency are peeved over attempts by the AGF to emasculate the Commission in the performance of its mandate, and his recent efforts to discredit EFCC Chairman, Mrs. Farida Waziri, over allegations that she may not be qualified to head the agency.
Adoke, during his first coming, was accused of withdrawing more than 50 per cent of cases instituted by the EFCC in numerous law courts across the country, all in an effort to protect powerful and rich friends from prosecution.
Notable among these cases included the infamous bribery and corruption case against the Vaswani Brothers; the case against the former Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Mr. Ahmed Bello, and the former Chairman of the Police Equipment Fund, PEF, Mr. Kenny Martins.
Others were the N16 billion corruption case against the House of Representatives Chairman of Rural Electrification, Elumelu and N5 billion fraud case against a former Chief Executive of the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, Dr. Ransome Owan, 17 directors and members of his board.
Adoke was also alleged said to have arbitrarily withdrawn cases involving several multinational including Halliburton and Siemens, and the bribery case against construction giants, Julius Berger Plc.
Tsav warns against emasculating EFCC
In the meantime, a former Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, Mr. Abubakar Tsav, has warned against efforts to emasculate the EFCC in the performance of its duty of checking corrupt individuals.
Tsav said: “The allegation by the Centre for the Rule of Law against Mrs. Waziri is a grand conspiracy to shield corrupt politicians from prosecution.”
All along, no one has complained about Waziri’s rank; no one complained that she was very powerful and no one thought of merging the EFCC and the ICPC.”
Tsav observed that the former EFCC Chairman, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu was an Assistant Commissioner of Police, ACP, when he was head at the Commission, adding that what mattered was integrity and performance and not rank.
He pointed out that President Goodluck Jonathan had promised Nigerians zero tolerance for corruption, adding that, “If this is true, then the President must discountenance this conspiracy and attempt to frustrate the war against corruption.