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- Category: Society
- Published on Saturday, 13 November 2010 12:32
- Written by National Daily
- Hits: 2479
IN recent times, several petitions written by Nigerians on various allegations have found their ways to the desk of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, but of all the names mentioned in these documents containing damning accusations, the name of a certain official of a federal government agency has cropped up the most and the name belongs to the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mrs. Farida Waziri.
The hot memo
But a certain petition on the same person is generating the most ripples in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and this is because the petition in question came from a very authoritative source, the office of the Federal Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Bello Adoke. The said document, according to competent sources contains several bribery allegations against the anti-graft boss.
For some time now, there has been little love lost between the two highly placed government officials, and the reasons were obvious, National Daily gathered from reliable sources that Adoke is not all that comfortable with the way Waziri has been handling cases and petitions forwarded to her desk. He was said to have been greatly disturbed when the EFCC chief released the list of cases the agency was handling to the public. Adoke was said to be of the opinion that such an act was too frivolous.
Informed sources noted that when Adoke was appointed the Minister to oversee the operations of the agency she is heading, Waziri was said to have approached him, intimating him of the fact that she delivers a princely sum of N1.3 billion to the former Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Michael Aondoakaa, every month and was said to have asked Adoke the amount he would want the agency to package for him as personal returns.
The AGF was said to have simply told her to go and do her job. He, however, reportedly demanded for all cases being handled by the agency. Adoke was said to have found out that the cases formerly handled by the former boss of EFCC, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu were stronger in content, in terms of investigation and prosecution approach than those of waziri, which he described as watery. The cases in question were said to be cases considered by the AGF as poorly investigated and lack substance. The AGF was said to have chided the EFCC Chairman on an occasion challenging her to learn from how Ribadu investigated matters. Ribadu, according to him, never took a matter to court until he was sure he had a case.
He was said to have made his observations known to the Presidency through a memo.
Adoke's submissions, National Daily gathered, were also based on reports filed against Waziri by governments of the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK), which detailed Waziri's corrupt antecedents.
The memo, insiders disclosed, stressed that according to obtained reports, Waziri was bringing a bad image to the country's anti-corruption campaign.
Waziri's EFCC was, among other allegations, said to have charged a dead person to court despite knowing the suspect was dead.
The President was said to have penciled her down for removal, when she was attending the International Bar Association Conference in Canada when she raced back to the country and fought back through, the First Lady, Dame Patience, who reportedly prevailed on Mr. President from removing her.
To pay back her boss for meddling in the affairs of her agency, Waziri was said to have initiated a war in the media to run down the AGF.
National Daily was able to lay hands on some petitions against the EFCC boss presently before the President.
One Mr. Emmanuel Ehirim, petitioned the President over the refusal of Waziri to prosecute Dr. Daniel Maddo, the Registrar of the Veterinary Council of Nigeria over an exposed massive fraud perpetrated by the Registrar at the Veterinary Council.
Some time on the 30th of April 2009, Mr. Ehirim authored a petition to the anti graft agency detailing the sharp practices going on at the council and called for an investigation into the affairs of the Council. He was invited by the agency to throw more light on his petition which he complied with and provided documentary evidence to show that the Council's management led by the Registrar; Dr. Maddo and the Accountant; Mr. Hilary Ibe, had inflated the number of the Council's staff in the Consolidated Payroll, from the actual employee list from 23 to 75 giving a false indication that the Council's staff strength is 75 against the actual 23 persons who were then employed by the Council.
The fictitious list of employees was tendered by Mr. Emmanuel Ehirim to the EFCC during his interrogation by operatives of the Commission at the Headquarters of the anti graft agency. The list shows that 52 ghost workers were added to the actual list of employees in the Council and placed on senior staff schedule with grade levels ranging between 15 step 9 and level 9 step 4. The implication of this fraudulent manipulation was that huge amounts were paid to the 52 ghost workers as salaries and other entitlements put were pocketed by the duo of Dr. Maddo and Mr. Ibe.
Mr. Ehirim also provided information regarding the criminal conversion of a large portion of the Council's land in Kubwa, a satellite town in Abuja, by Mr. Ibe. The land was meant for the construction of staff quarters. Mr. Ibe later constructed thirteen houses on the plot of land which he leased to tenants.
Following the additional materials provided to the EFCC by the petitioner; Mr. Emmanuel Ehirim, the anti graft agency swooped in on the Council and confiscated relevant official documents and salary advises conveyed by the Council to their bankers and found Mr. Ehirim's allegations to be true. Maddo and Hilary Ibe were subsequently arrested and briefly detained at the Commission's headquarters at the Wuse 11 District of Abuja metropolis alongside other staff that the Commission felt may have collaborated in the scam.
These ghost workers were given official designations, date of first appointment, date of last promotion and file/ ID numbers as if they were real employees. The Council's Registrar; Dr. Daniel Maddo and the Accountant; Mr. Hilary Ibe confessed to their crimes at the EFCC but defended the scam on the guise that the council, whose main job relates to training and practice of Veterinary professionals in the country, needed to fix the ghost workers in the Council's nominal payroll, to enable it accommodate many of its Resource Persons who they claimed were scattered in the Councils’ Centers in various locations within the country. That the fraud they perpetrated was for the interest of the Council as that was the only way they could generate money to pay their ad hoc staff.
Mr. Ehirim's joy at helping to stop a fraud which cost the Federal Government about 27 million Naira monthly, from February 2003 to June 2009, was however short lived as Maddo and Ibe were later released by the EFCC and they both resumed work at the Council; to the petitioner's surprise.
A group, Public Accountability League, as represented by one, Mr. Joseph Amadi wrote the President to intimate him of the massive fraud going on in the EFCC since Waziri took over as its Chairman.
The reported fraud centered on the recovery of debts for the failed banks.
The group noted that, “When Waziri took over at the EFCC; she inherited several cheques of funds recovered by her predecessor which were not disbursed to the beneficiaries.
On assumption of office, Waziri advertised that beneficiaries of the cheques should come forward to claim their recovered funds. Waziri immediately set up an extortionist committee headed by one Mohammed A. Bako.
The committee negotiated and collected on behalf of Mrs Farida Waziri in excess of 35 per cent for funds recovered before beneficiary's cheques were released. Several beneficiaries reluctantly parted with these commissions while those who rebuffed are yet to receive their funds. Our investigation revealed that those who refused to part with any bribe compelled EFCC to discount their cheques with the issuing bank.
These banks were quick to accept EFCC request just to remain in their good books thereby violating laid down procedure by paying cash to EFCC for a cheque that belongs to another individual or company.
These funds ended up in the coffers of Mrs Farida Waziri.”
Waziri was also said to have negotiated for 10 per cent from banks as administrative fee for all funds recovered. Banks have not been able to complain due to threat and intimidation from the Waziri led EFCC. Most debtors like Henry Imasekha, Peter Ololo have parted with several millions to Waziri.