- Dep Senate President insists he was made commission’s anti-graft envoy
Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) has distanced itself from its declaration naming the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekwerenmadu, as its anti-graft ambassador.
EFCC in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, noted that the purported decoration carried out by the EFCC National Assembly Liaison Officer, Suleiman Bakari, was not supported by the EFCC management as claimed.
According to Uwujaren, Bakari’s action was way beyond his mandate as a liaison officer, as the EFCC management did not instruct him to decorate Ekwerenmadu or any other person.
“EFCC totally dissociates itself from the purported action of Bakari as he acted entirely on his own. He clearly acted outside his brief as a liaison officer as the management of the commission at no time mandated him to decorate Ekweremadu or any officer of the National Assembly as Anti-Corruption Ambassador,” he said.
Uwujaren added that the statutory mandate of the EFCC is the investigation and prosecution of all economic and financial crimes cases, which does not include the decoration of individuals as anti- corruption ambassadors.
“The commission is not in the habit of awarding titles to individuals. And those enamoured of titles, know the quarters to approach for such honours, not the EFCC,” he said.
A statement issued by the Special Adviser to the Deputy Senate President, Uche Anichukwu, on Tuesday stated that the purported decoration was carried out by Bakari who was quoted to have said: “On behalf of my acting Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Mustafa Magu, and the entire management and staff of the EFCC, I decorate you as an Anti-Corruption Ambassador and formally present this medal as a token of our appreciation to your person and office and as a symbol of the institutional partnership between the EFCC and the National Assembly.
But Ekweremadu, yesterday dismissed the claim by EFCC that the agency did not decorate him as an anti-corruption ambassador.
In a statement by his Special Adviser, Media, Anichukwu, said EFCC Liaison Officer to the National Assembly, Bakari, voluntarily decorated him when he paid a courtesy visit to his office last Tuesday.
According to him, Bakari solicited the support of the National Assembly for the anti-graft war and thereafter decorated him as an Anti-Corruption Ambassador of the EFCC.
He quoted Bakari as saying: “It is, therefore my honour, your excellency, to, on behalf of my Acting Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Mustafa Magu, and the entire management and staff of the EFCC, decorate you as an Anti-Corruption Ambassador and formally present this frame as a token of our appreciation to your person and office and as a symbol of institutional partnership between the EFCC and the National Assembly.”
Ekweremadu said he was baffled by the subsequent denial, wondering if Bakari could solely take such decision without the blessing of his superiors.
He also dismissed the claim by the agency that it is an anti-corruption agency and hence, it is not in its tradition to give award to anyone as he cited instances in the past when EFCC had conferred awards on some persons.
The statement added: “We want to put it on record that the EFCC Liaison Officer to the National Assembly, Bakari, and his team, applied for and subsequently paid a courtesy call on the deputy president of the Senate in his Office on April 19, 2016.
“Bakari, among other issues he raised, solicited the support of the Senate and National Assembly towards the anti-corruption crusade of the present administration, and even presented a frame with a bold picture of President Muhammadu Buhari, bearing the inscription: ‘If we don’t kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria.’
“Bakari also, on behalf of the Acting Chairman, management, and staff of the EFCC decorated Ekweremadu as an Anti-Corruption Ambassador of the EFCC. It is also a fact that the visit and decoration were captured in both pictures and video.”
“As for the purported claim by the EFCC spokesperson that the agency had 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.”