By Oscarline Onwuemenyi
ABUJA — The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has denied Wikileaks reports that it investigated President Goodluck Jonathan for alleged corruption during his tenure as Governor of Bayelsa State.
It also debunked reports that the First Lady, Patience Jonathan was indicted for money laundering, adding that at no time did the Commission recover the said sum of $13.5 million from her.
The Chairman of EFCC, Mrs. Farida Waziri, who stated this when she hosted a non_governmental organization, Women Empowering and Enriching Lives (WEEL), in the Commission’s Wuse 2 headquarters in Abuja, said it was criminal to malign the names of the first couple in the manner reported in the web whistle_blower.
She noted, “Let me state clearly that the Commission will not allow itself to be used to drag innocent people’s names into crimes, cases or allegations they know nothing about.
“In this particular case, I have read my predecessor (Nuhu Ribadu) say in the media in September, 2010 that Mrs. Jonathan was not in any way involved in any case of money laundering investigated by the EFCC under him.
“I have thereafter checked our records and cannot find any case of money laundering against Mrs. Jonathan or the President himself. So, each time I get an enquiry or read about this, I often wonder where this is coming from.”
According to the EFCC boss, if Mallam Ribadu who was said to have investigated the first lady during her days in Bayelsa State had disclaimed the allegation, there was no need to refer to it by anyone.
She added that, “The Commission does not have in any account or records where the $13.5 million was recovered from Mrs. Jonathan in 2006. We should learn to separate the truth from blackmail.
“Our society can only thrive on justice and fair play if we uphold the right values and shun politics of pulling innocent people down.”
“The truth is that we did not inherit any such record or any case against the President or his wife, even as Governor of Bayelsa state; if there had been any such case or interception, there would have been a record of such. Moreover, we have exhibit rooms and exhibit records where lodgments are made and whoever we received such exhibits from are made to sign our records, but no such records exist about Mrs. Jonathan,” Waziri added.
Waziri warned the public and the media to desist from sensational reporting and blackmail aimed at pulling innocent people down, adding, however, that the Commission would diligently and objectively investigate any petition or case brought before it as long as it has merit and the petitioner can be identified.
“What we usually see around here is the pull_him_down syndrome, which is often done with a lot malice. People who have worked hard all their lives are unjustly maligned in the media and their names dragged through the mud because of sensational reporting in the press.
“Sensational reporting has done a lot of damage to our image as a nation, and when the person of the President of Nigeria and his wife are being dragged into such malicious blackmail, it is the entire nation of Nigeria that suffers in the view of the international observers,” she stated.
Waziri praised the commitment of WEEL to empowering women towards sustainable economic development, adding that when women are empowered, they contribute more to the nation through supporting and caring for the future generation.
She added that, “Without sounding feminist, I am bold to say that women in positions of authority are not only achievers but their empowerment secures the future of children, families and the society as a whole.”