- Category: Politics
- Published on Wednesday, 14 April 2010 05:47
- Written by Admin
- Hits: 1749
Former Delta State governor, Chief James Ibori on Tuesday said his being declared wanted for allegedly not honouring invitation from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has exposed the anti-graft agency to be embarking on a political witch-hunt.
Ibori placed an advertorial showing a letter issued by the EFCC inviting him for an interview over a case in which his name featured on April 17, 2010 in Abuja. Although the letter was dated March 22, it was only delivered on Tuesday to the Lagos home of Ibori by one Mike Anigbogu at 16.20hrs.
The embattled former governor noted that he was declared wanted four days ahead of the day he was scheduled to appear at the EFCC in Abuja.
Ibori also decried what he called ‘Gestapo tactics’ being employed in his matter by the EFCC, He said his travail in the hands of the anti-graft agency was a “political harassment that demands vigorous legal challenge so that Nigeria is not ruled like a fiefdom – and that is what I will give.”
In a press statement signed by his Media Assistant, Mr. Tony Eluemunor, Ibori described the claim by the EFCC that “letters of invitation have been sent to his known addresses in Lagos and Abuja while a court warrant has equally been obtained for his arrest,” is a wicked lie as no such letter was ever received. Ibori asked his supporters not to panic because as at the time he was declared wanted, no letter inviting him for questioning from either the EFCC or any other security agency, has been received in any of his houses both in Abuja or Lagos. “EFCC knows this to be the truth that is why it did not mention the dates of those alleged invitations – because no such letters of invitation were ever sent to Ibori.
“Instead, it is on record that Ibori’s counsel, Mr. J. B. Daudu (SAN) wrote a petition to both the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Chairman of EFCC, dated Monday 12th April, 2010, (and this was reported in some national and internet publications of 13th April 2010) over the unsubstantiated media reports of the past two weeks that Ibori had been on the run from the EFCC. Also, it is on record that Ibori has instituted a suit against the EFCC over this same issue.”
The statement said surprisingly, after receiving Ibori’s petition and also learning that Ibori had filed a suit against the agency in court, the EFCC applied its ‘Gestapo tactics’ and rushed to the media saying Ibori had been invited for questioning..
Ibori maintained that “EFCC’s action is just political and not criminal, and it shows that the arm-twisting that defaced the final years of the last administration has been allowed back into Nigeria as the country enters an election year.” According to the statement the counsel to the ex-governor had explained in the petition to both the Attorney-General and the EFCC that the matter had been thoroughly investigated in the past and the case rested.
The statement quoted excerpts from the petition thus: “It is a matter of public record and judicial decisions that you have on behalf of the Attorney-General vigorously investigated every aspect of our client’s tenure as Governor of Delta State and failed to find any crime committed inclusive of allegations of conspiracy, official corruption, diversion and misappropriation of public funds, stealing and money laundering for the period 29th May, 1999 to 29th May, 2007. The said investigation covered among other issues the purchase of Wilbros by Ascot and the role of the applicant in respect thereof.
“It is also a matter of record that the head of the investigators, Yahaha Bello, and contained in his counter affidavit filed in Suit No. FHC/B/CS/862/2007 AG Delta v. EFCC& Ords, admitted that all these facts have been investigated and the matter charged to court. In very simple elementary terms what your organisation is doing is seeking to reinvestigate a matter you have already investigated and discharged (which in this instance amounts to an acquittal) amounts to not only a complete infraction of the Nigerian Constitution but as a breach of our client’s fundamental human rights. Nowhere in the world except of course in some notorious Banana Republics is the rule of law and the constitutionalism trampled upon so aggressively as you are doing in this instance.”
“It is neither fair nor decent to criminalize our client on the pages of the newspapers without any formal invitation to clear his name, which the courts have already done for him.”
“Take notice therefore that if there is any attempt to interfere with our client’s liberty merely because you control the coercive forces we shall have no option but to have recourse to judicial redress before the courts which is the last hope for the defenceless man such as our client"