BY OKEY NDIRIBE& Oscarline Onwuemenyi
ABUJA—THE Presidency, yesterday, dismissed claims by immediate past Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mrs Farida Waziri, that she learnt about her sack on television broadcast just as she has commenced the process of handing over to her successor, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde.
The letter indicating Waziri’s sack made available to journalists late yesterday in Abuja was signed by Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Pius Anyim.
The SGF said: “Another letter appointing Ibrahim Lamorde as the Acting Chairman of the Commission was also forwarded to him by the SGF.”
Both letters were apparently circulated as a reaction to Waziri’s statement in some national dailies that her sack was faulty as it was communicated to her through television broadcast. Part of the letter reads: “Relieve of your appointment as Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
“I write to inform you that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, has relieved you of your appointment as the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission with effect from Wednesday 23rd November , 2011.
“Consequently, you are to hand over the affairs of the commission to the Director of Operations, Mr Ibrahim Lamorde. I also wish to express Mr President’s appreciation to you for the services you have rendered to the commission and indeed our dear country.”
Lamorde’s letter read: “I am pleased to inform you that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, has approved your appointment as the Acting Chairman of EFCC with effect from Wednesday, 23rd November 2011.
“Consequently, you are to take over the handling of the affairs of the commission from erstwhile chairman Farida Waziri until further notice.”
Waziri commences hand-over to Lamorde
Ousted Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mrs Farida Waziri, yesterday, began the process of handing over to her successor, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde.
Waziri, who was removed from her position by President Goodluck Jonathan, Wednesday, was said to have “met briefly” with Lamorde on the same day to begin the process of handover.
Lamorde’s appointment, according to the statement read by the Special Adviser to the President, Media and Publicity, Rueben Abati, began “with immediate effect,” although it did not expatiate on the reason why Mrs. Waziri was sacked.
According to the Head of Media and Publicity in the EFCC, Mr. Femi Babafemi, though the former Chairman had not got any official communication of her sack on Wednesday, she had wasted no time in arranging a meeting with Lamorde to begin the process of a formal handover.
Babafemi told Vanguard: “She met briefly with the Acting Chairman on Wednesday to initiate the process, but we would have to wait until Monday for a formal handover of documents, including cases that the Commission is currently working on.”
He added that the time lag was to enable “major departments in the Commission to prepare their own contributions that will be eventually handed over to the Acting Chairman to guide him on the activities of the Commission, especially on on-going cases and other investigations being handled by the Commission.”
He explained that although Lamorde, who until recently served as Director of Operations of the EFCC, was very versed in the investigations being handled by the Commission, and was equally experienced about the management style within the anti-graft agency, it was only proper to do things according to routine.
Meanwhile, Lamorde arrived work early yesterday on his first full day as the Acting Chairman of EFCC and resumed without much drama.
According to sources at the EFCC, the new helmsman had quickly entered a closed-door meeting with directors of the Commission to discuss operational strategies. He is expected to meet with the media next week after the formal handover to discuss his plans to steer the foremost anti-corruption agency in the country.
Fear of mass re-deployment, sack looms at EFCC
There have also been fears about possible sack or re-deployment of some staff and officers within the Commission.
A source said that the mood within the Commission following the sack of Waziri has been somber, mixed with trepidation over the possibility of mass re-deployment or even sack for some of the staff considered to be loyal to the former boss.
He said: “Of course, many have cause to worry because of their loyalty to the former chairman. Some of the staff were brought in during her time at the Commission. In fact, she single-handedly employed some of them, and she was very close to some of the staff whom she worked closely with.”
He pointed out that the worries of some of the staff were well-founded, noting that Waziri herself had embarked on such an action after she was appointed as head of the EFCC.
“She did it herself; she made it clear that she could not trust some of the staff and operatives that worked under the previous Chairman, Mallam Nuu Ribadu, and had proceeded to sack or re-deploy most of them. It was so heated then that many people believed she was carrying out a personal vendetta against her predecessor,” the source noted.