*EFCC’s position contradictory —Ekweremadu
By Soni Daniel
ABUJA — The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has dissociated itself from claims that Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, was now its anti-corruption ambassador.
EFCC National Assembly Liaison Officer, Suleiman Bakari, had on Tuesday said he was honouring Ekweremadu with the position, on behalf of the Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, as a token of the commission’s appreciation to his person and office, and as a symbol of the institutional partnership between the EFCC and the National Assembly.
But Ekweremadu, in a swift reaction, described the EFCC stance as contradictory, saying the former chairman of the commission, Malam Nuhu Ribadu, had once conferred some Nigerians with honours.
However, the EFCC in a statement, yesterday, by its spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, denied the claim, describing the development as a manifestation of “corruption fight back.”
The statement read: “The EFCC totally dissociates itself from the purported action of Bakari as he acted entirely on his own and clearly outside his liaison officer brief as he was never instructed by the acting chairman nor mandated by the management and staff of the commission to decorate Ekweremadu or any officer of the National Assembly as ‘Anti- Corruption Ambassador’.
Corruption Fighting Back
“The commission views this highly unprofessional conduct of the officer as yet another manifestation of ‘Corruption Fighting Back.’ This leg of the despicable campaign, which is unfortunately being carried out by a staff of the commission, had been foreshadowed in recent weeks by other questionable acts.
“For instance, all through last week, some courts issued a string of anti-EFCC rulings looking like calculated attempts to derail the anti-corruption war, even as there were indications of the capture of a prominent section of the media by dark forces.
“The picture of organized corruption marshaling its evil forces to launch a sustained fight-back becomes clearer, if cognizance is taken of the bewildering insistence of the Senate to carry on with the ill-advised amendment of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Code of Conduct Tribunal Act as well as the inexplicable provisions proposed for amendment of the Anti-Money Laundering Act.
“Let it be underscored that the statutory mandate of the EFCC is the investigation and prosecution of all economic and financial crimes cases, which does not include phoney decoration of any individual as ‘Anti-corruption Ambassador’.
“That award and title are unknown to the EFCC and could not have been invested as purported on behalf of the acting Chairman, Management and staff of the EFCC.
‘’Further, the commission is not in the habit of awarding titles to individuals. Those who seek titles for reasons of waging a counter-onslaught against the war on corruption, in addition to massaging inflated sense of influence, know the quarters to approach for such dubious honours, not the EFCC
“Members of the public and stakeholders in the fight against corruption are enjoined to disregard the so-called decoration, while stern administrative action is being taken on the clearly misdirected officer who acted entirely without authorization.”
EFCC’s position contradictory—Ekweremadu
Meanwhile, Senator Ekweremadu has described as contradictory the EFCC’s claim that it had never honoured any Nigerian in its existence, saying he did not ask for it.
Ekweremadu, in a statement signed by his Media Adviser, Uche Anichukwu, said: “As for the purported claim by the EFCC spokesperson that the agency has never and could not have decorated anybody as an Anti-Corruption Ambassador, since, according to him, the commission is not in the habit of awarding titles to individuals, we wish to refer him to December 7, 2007, when the Nuhu Ribadu-led EFCC conferred the Role Model Award in the fight against corruption, on certain persons, including a former President of the Senate, a taxi driver, and a former Justice of the Federal High Court at the Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja.
“That the said denial by the EFCC is coming in two different statements all within a few hours is, therefore, baffling, inexplicable, and contradictory.
“Taking cognisance of the command structure of the agency, we also wonder whether Mr. Bakari could have acted on his own or read from a prepared text without recourse to the commission which he represents, especially as the visit and decoration were never solicited for in the first place.
‘’We leave the rest to discerning members of the public to read in-between the lines and make their own judgments.”