Anti-graft War: EFCC Faults UK Agency over Alleged Lack of Cooperation

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Alex Enumah in Abuja

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has faulted reports by a United Kingdom Agency on anti-corruption, which alleged that the commission had been working at Cross purposes with other agencies in the fight against corruption in the country.

The anti-graft agency in a statement signed by its Acting Head of Media and Publicity, Tony Orilade, said the report credited to the Programme Manager of the Rule of Law and Anti-corruption (RoLAC) Programme of the British Council, Mr. Uche Emmanuel, was full of “several illogicalities,” capable of misleading both Nigerians and the international community.

Orilade remarked that most of the claims by Emmanuel were not only unsubstantiated but underserving of the office he occupies.

“Without the slightest of attempts to cross-check his claims, Emmanuel alluded that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other anti-corruption agencies in the country were frustrating the corruption fight by an alleged lack of synergy among them, and their inclination to operate as islands unto themselves.

“It is striking to note that the General Manager, Public Affairs of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, in the same forum where Emmanuel threw caution to the wind with his unsupported allegation disclosed that the corporation through the combined efforts of the Department of State Security (DSS), EFCC, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), recently recovered assets worth over N771million from oil marketers, who had under-paid it for petroleum products supplied to them.

“As a commission, we are horrified that a ranking official of the British Council, in charge of rule of law and anti-corruption programme, who ordinarily should be abreast of the robust interface that exists between the EFCC and various local and international law enforcement organisations is the one we are painfully subjecting to this type of schooling,” the statement said.

Orilade said contrary to the claims of Emmanuel, facts abound as to the level of cooperation among Nigerian anti-corruption agencies, which the programme manager cannot comprehend.

“The commission as the designated financial intelligence unit, until recently, regularly shared intelligence with all other relevant agencies. Beyond the statutory requirement to synergize, we have a persuasion that no agency can go it alone, which is why, over the years, the Commission absorbs officers from sister agencies who come on secondment to it.

“The local inter-agency collaboration, Nigeria’s anti-corruption agencies so much needed saw to the establishment of the Combined Inter agency Task Force, (CITF), domiciled in the Lagos Office of the EFCC.

“The CITF, which has its personnel, drawn from all the sister agencies has since its inception, remained a very active Unit within the Commission”, the EFCC’s spokesperson said.

He added that the result of such partnership is partly responsible for the illustrious outing of the commission in the past 15 years.

The statement denied knowledge of any situation that would warrant the British Council or its agent to flay the commission over lack of local inter-agency synergy and collaboration.

Orilade, noted that in the international front, in the U.K particularly, the EFCC and the DFID, (United Kingdom government’s department, responsible for administering overseas aid), the National Crime Agency (NCA), which leads UK government’s fight against serious and organised crimes and similar UK agencies have existing collaboration in the fight against corruption in Nigeria.