By Henry Umoru
ABUJA- FORMER Federal Commissioner for Information and Elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark, yesterday called on President Goodluck Jonathan to as a matter of urgency sack the Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Lamorde.
He said that if the likes of Lamorde were still saddled with official responsibilities, the country was in trouble and doomed.
According to the Ijaw leader, Lamorde has compromised in the alleged $15million bribe offered to former Chairman of EFCC and now Chairman of Petroleum Revenue Task Force, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, just as he called on the President to put in place an investigative panel that will x-ray the activities of the commission, adding that the EFCC boss has disappointed Nigerians and has shown that he could no longer be trusted with such an exalted position.
Addressing Journalists yesterday in his Asokoro residence, Chief Clark stressed that one who had his hand in such a bribery saga as the then Director of operations of EFCC can no longer investigate others who may have engaged in corruption.
According to him, Lamorde was aware that the money belonged to the Delta State government from the very first day it was paid by the former governor, Chief James Ibori, but refused to say so because he knew that if the money went to the state, the 30 percent of the money that should have gone to the commission if the money was forfeited to the federal government will not be paid.
The Elder statesman who accused the anti-graft agency of ridiculing itself with the contradictory statements in its affidavit before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, said, “My attention had been drawn to the unnecessary and unwarranted controversy that had surrounded the above subject and wish to state the fact as they are as a major stakeholder while also calling on the Federal Government to investigate the strange roles and involvement of Senator Andy Uba, former Special Adviser to (Domestic Affairs to President Olusegun Obasanjo and his ally, Chibuike Achigbu and Ibrahim Lamorde EFCC Chairman in order to strengthen the anti-corruption crusade and act as a deterrent to other similar characters whose conduct continue to derail the anti-corruption crusade of President Goodluck Jonathan.”
According to Chief Clark, a staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN who was seconded to the EFCC however explained how the bribe was loaded in a brown big bag and dragged into a Toyota Avensis car and was taken to the CBN, adding, “however, the ownership of the said money was not in doubt, despite the fact that James Ibori denied giving the said sum. We stated how James Ibori gave the said money to Mallam Nuhu Ribadu and the Commission, through telephone discussion that the money was with Senator Andy Uba, the then Special Adviser to President Olusegun Obasanjo on Domestic Affairs and how he directed Ibrahim Lamorde (then Director of Operations) to collect the money, how the cash was collected at the Villa and deposited at the Central Bank.
“The statement made by Nuhu Ribadu, collaborated (sic) by Ibrahim Lamorde and James Garba, staff of the EFCC that collected the money and confirmed to me by Senator Andy Uba at my residence in Abuja on the 25th of September, 2012 at 11.30pm and in his press statement which he handed over to me puts to rest the present speculation and controversy”, he said.
Chief Clark also accused Lamorde of not saying the truth, said that he was being economical with the truth by saying that he does not know where the money came from in his sworn affidavit, adding, “As at today, the EFCC as presently constituted cannot fight corruption because it lacks the will, courage and determination, as the James Ibori $12million bribe had revealed. The EFCC should be made of men of Honour and Probity.
‘’Despite the opinion some may hold on Ibrahim Lamorde the present Executive Chairman of the EFCC, he should be investigated for the unholy roles he had played in the James Ibori saga”