AMAECHIGATE! EFCC In Shocking Silence

By Ikenga Chronicles April 16, 2017

The Acting Chairman of the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC
Boss, Ibrahim Magu has refused to speak on the controversy trailing the
recovered N15 billion from a flat in Ikoyi, Lagos last week.

Recall that EFCC had on Thursday stormed a luxury apartment in Ikoyi,
Lagos, where it discovered cash in three currencies stashed in fire-proof
safes.

Although, the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, had claimed that the
recovered money was allegedly stolen from the state coffers by his
immediate predecessor and current Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi.

Majority of prominent Nigerians have insisted that EFCC must speak on the
intelligence that led the agency to the building, the result of its
investigation and the ownership of the money.

Afenifere leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, who claimed the development was a
reflection of the rot in the President Muhammadu Buhari government,
insisted it was a problem created by the government itself.

He said: “Government set up commissions by law to fight corruption and they
are fighting each other, is that not corruption? What is happening now
shows the rottenness in the government.

“Those who rejected the DSS report on Magu, what have they to say? Is that
not the body empowered to investigate any public officer and this agency
sent a report to the Senate that Magu was not credible to lead EFCC and you
declined their report and yet, you still keep them. The moment you have
lost confidence in them, you sack them since you no longer believe in them?

“That’s the responsibility of a responsible government. The moment you are
no longer confortable with an agency or its recommendations, you sack them.
In fact, this is the first time in the history of government in this
country that the DSS recommendation was turned down and when you don’t
believe in it anymore, you sack them. You can’t continue to keep the DSS
there because you have shown that you are not comfortable with them. If a
permanent secretary doesn’t perform, what do you do? You sack!” he said.

Former Ogun State governor, Chief Olusegun Osoba said, “The whole thing is
a total disgrace of the highest order and there’s a total display of sordid
incompetence. A whistle-blower should have told them the owner of what he’s
blowing the whistle on. EFCC too should have taken the trouble to monitor
the place and catch whoever owns it red-handed. I say it is a disgrace
because a body claims to have recovered a huge sum of money and within
three hours, they touted four names as the owners.

“It was first Muazu. Muazu denied and said he was not the owner and in any
case, Muazu is not in the country. They now went on to Esther, and Esther
denied. Then, they went to Anenih’s daughter and that one too denied. Then,
then said it was Amaechi and Wike now came out of the blues to say it is
Rivers’ money. I cannot believe that a serious body would run itself into
such a situation, where its credibility is being questioned. I am really
not impressed at all.

“EFCC has made the mistake of confirming that the internet bloggers are
their agents because all these names were being touted, not by major
newspapers but internet bloggers, who are not themselves in any way
professional. EFCC has to go and search itself, clear its name and stop
this trial by the media.

“I say this because of the recent happenings. For instance, up till now, we
don’t know the owner of the N49 million found in Kaduna. Did the money fall
from heaven like manna? You went to a market and you said you found N250
million and so what? Are we not a cash society? Do we politicians not throw
money around and pay cash to our agents during campaigns? Does that turn us
into money launderers? During elections we pay our agents cash. We don’t
send money to them by bank transfer or cheques. Nigeria is still largely a
cash society. It is not a big deal at all. There’s no law that says it’s a
crime to keep cash in your house.

“To compound it all, two major agencies of government – NIA and EFCC –
started to wash their linen in the public, giving the impression of lack of
cooperation. NIA now lays claim to the money and we are yet to have the
reaction of EFCC. It is a disgrace to our country that two sister agencies
are now working against each other with inadequate cooperation. I feel
ashamed as a journalist that the information coming from our agencies is
through the bloggers.”

The scribe of Afenifere, a pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, Mr. Yinka
Odumakin, also described the development as “The greatest embarrassment for
the anti-graft war in Nigeria. That the EFCC will rush to the public and
make a scene about its discovery, in any case, that’s even the first
tragedy. Initially, EFCC told us that $38 million was found. But
immediately there was a claim that the money belongs to NIA and they went
to court, the money became $43 million dollars.

“So, what was going to happen to the $5 million differential if the NIA had
not allegedly claimed the money? And I think this speaks to the integrity
issue which the DSS raised in its letter to the Senate. If a whole
$5million suddenly surfaced after NIA claimed the money, that’s the first
test of EFCC’s integrity. The second thing is that if you go to Alausa
today, as a lawyer, to verify the title of that property, in a day, you can
do that, to know the title of the house, who owns it and if it has been
transferred to another person.

“So, if a whole EFCC cannot confirm the title or the identity of the owner
of that property, then, there is problem. Now, we have this forth and back:
oh, the money is owned by NIA; NIA said the money is…and up till now we’ve
not heard from NIA – NIA has not made any statement, which raises a lot of
concern and I think how EFCC handles this will determine whether Nigerians
will continue to take it seriously.

“I think the EFCC integrity is seriously being challenged here just like
the DSS wrote to the Senate that there is integrity issue in EFCC, so the
integrity of EFCC is being challenged over this recovered fund,” he said.

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