Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The brickbat between the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Senator Shehu Sani has continued with the anti-graft agency insisting that he had a case to answer while the embattled former lawmaker said the allegations were baseless and a failing attempt to silence him.
Sani was accused extortion, name dropping and misrepresentation by the anti-graft agency.
It said the senator was not arrested because he was a vocal critic of government but based on a valid court order following an ongoing investigation by the commission.
“The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has taken note of insinuations and phantom claims that the Commission is ‘prosecuting’ Senator Shehu Sani, because he is a known critic of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
“The Commission wishes to state that Senator Shehu Sani is currently facing criminal investigation, and he is being detained by the EFCC in very conducive environment, based on a valid court order”, it said.
The agency said “claims in some quarters of the breach of his fundamental human rights, is merely in the imagination of the purveyors of such claims.
“Let it be stated clearly, that Senator Shehu Sani has questions to answer as regards the alleged involvement in name-dropping, and particularly that he obtained $25,000 from Alhaji Sani Dauda, the ASD Motors boss, in order to help shield him from investigations being carried out by the EFCC”.
The commission said “for certain people to brazenly come out to defend a suspect, who is being probed for a serious offence as the one committed by Sani shows that they are not really conversant with his offence.
“It is unfortunate that certain people are ready to do anything to support evil for pecuniary gains. It is quite unfortunate!”
Sani said he would not be silent and that the allegations were aimed at smearing his name and justifying his persecution.
“The allegations of ‘extortion’ against me are baseless, fact-less, unfounded, hollow and unsubstantial. It is a scripted stream of mischievous concoctions and utter fabrications using a puppet state agent; all aimed at splashing faeces and mud on me. The extortion allegation is nothing but wholesale falsehood, packaged in a phantom anti-graft facade to taint, stain and mute me. That shall never happen if I am alive.
“I have made my statement and provided all my facts against their package of lies and I demand the EFCC to make public all the sheets of our statements and supporting documents for the world to see. My detention is unfair, unjust, prearranged and politically motivated. Fascism thrives in frame up of its critics.
“They claim extortion and here they are closing my bank accounts, searching my houses and offices and demanding I declare my assets, of which I have already done that at the CCB (Code of Conduct Bureau) last year when I left the Senate. Frame-up cannot silence me!
“I have never ever met with the CJN or any judge or judges or ever called directly or indirectly to offer to give or to give directly or indirectly any form of gratification from Alhaji Sani Dauda.
“I have never ever discussed with ASD on any form of bribe or gratification to be given to any judge or any EFCC official.
“The bribe story is phantom, the bribe story is a fake, imaginative work of fiction, cruelly crafted to smear me, to frame me and to justify my persecution.
“The bribe story is a heap of blatant lies and outright falsehood concocted and fabricated, using a front and the EFCC to premiere a state drama. ASD is a barely educated front for a state mission. Criminalising me or ‘framing me’ will not silence me, bend me or compromise me,” he vehemently denied in a statement.