…says commission recovered N1trn in 5 years
Senator Iroegbu and Godsgift Onyedinefu
The Presidential Advisory Committe against Corruption (PACAC), has raised alarm over what it described as a sinister and dangerous attempt to scrap the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at the National Assembly.
The presidential committe said a draft Bill intended to repeal the EFCC Establishment Act 2004, is being circulated by enemies of Nigeria, who are presently “too ashamed to put their names to the draft Bill.”
According to a statement signed by PACAC Chairman, Prof. Itse Sagay and made available on Wednesday by the Communications Officer, PACAC, Mr. Aghogho Agbahor, said the draft bill seeks; “repeal of the Current EFCC Establishment Act; Scrap the Commission and replacing it with a weak Agency; Replace the Executive Chairman of the EFCC with a Director General who is effectively to be appointed by the Attorney-General.
“This eliminates the EFCC’s freedom and autonomy and replaces it with an entity under the complete control of the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General. The replacement of the Board of EFCC with Directors who are effectively to be appointees of the Attorney-General.
“The Elimination of the position of the Secretary of the EFCC, a critical officer who serves as the institutional memory and the Administrative Head of the Agency”, the statement read.
“Under the proposed Act the Annual Report of the EFCC is not to be submitted to the National Assembly until it has been passed through the Attorney-General for onward transmission to the National Assembly; thus making the Attorney-General the reporting officer of the Agency rather than the Chairman or the Director-General, as the new Bill is proposing”, it added.
The Committe alleged that those behind the move are “the representatives of the corrupt establishment that brought this country to its knees and subjected us to humiliation as a result of an extremely negative reputation internationally.”
The PACAC, in an attempt to justify the relevance of the EFCC, argued that the commission has successfully prosecuted about 3000 persons, including high profile political office holders in the last 5 years whilst the whole of the Ministry of Justice has been underperforming during this period.
The Committe also informed that Assets worth about One Trillion Naira have been recovered by the EFCC during the period, while the recovery of Funds looted and taken abroad to different countries also amounting to about one Billion Dollars, has been due largely to the EFCC.
“All the evidence used in establishing fraud and corruption against P&ID in the recent London case which led to Nigeria being given the opportunity of challenging the 10 Billion Dollars award made against Nigeria in favour of P&ID was exclusively provided by the EFCC to Nigeria’s London Solicitors.
“This is fulsomely acknowledged by the London Court in its Judgment.
With all the above established facts, the gravity of the proposed change becomes overwhelming. When in addition to all this, we recall the well-known proclivity of the Attorney-General for entering nolle procequi in favour of major political and governmental figures, this move to effectively scrap the EFCC becomes more alarming.
“We therefore call on the National Assembly and all Nigerians to vigorously reject this attempt to perpetrate fraud on the Nation by effectively scuttling the EFCC and shutting down Nigeria’s anti-corruption war”, the statement read.