- Category: Law, Crime & Judiciary
- Published on Wednesday, 31 March 2010 05:01
- Written by Admin
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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday, challenged the Bayelsa State governor, Chief Timipre Sylva, to prevail on officials of the state government to honour the commission’s invitation, instead of engaging in a fruitless blackmail campaign against the anti-graft body.
Besides, the commission said affected officials of the Bayelsa State government invited for clarifications on financial transactions in the state had shunned such invitations in the last six months.
The commission also confirmed the widely publicised report about the financial transactions of the Bayelsa State government.
The EFCC’s spokesman, Femi Babafemi told the Nigerian Tribune that the most honourable thing for Sylva to do was to ensure that those connected with such transactions were made available for the commission in order to fast track investigations.
Babafemi, who spoke on telephone, was reacting to some paid adverts in a few national dailies that the commission’s boss, Mrs Farida Waziri, was making herself available for use in order to keep her job.
All the same, the Bayelsa state government took a swipe at the EFCC, saying it was economical with the truth, even as it reiterated its condemnation of the actions of the EFCC in the last three weeks.
Special Adviser to the governor on Legal Matters, Mr Dennis Otiotio, also speaking on the telephone, threw back the challenge at the EFCC to check its records and be specific on the particular officials who had evaded arrest or shunned invitations by the commission.
“Unless there is something they are trying to hide, they should be bold enough to tell us which particular official of the state evaded arrest or disregarded the commission’s invitations; on several occasions, officials of the state government have been invited to Abuja to make statements and they have been returning; they must come up with facts and figures.
“In most cases, the EFCC invites people personally or does that through the secretary to the state government, who in turn ensures that the affected persons are contacted for necessary action; even in the case of the accountant general and the two officials now in the custody of the EFCC in spite of valid court order, the SSG ensured that they were invited to the office for a chat with the operatives of the EFCC who came from Abuja.
We have always cooperated with them, they can confirm that if they are sincere” he said.
But according to the EFCC’s head of Media and Publicity, the latest allegations bordering on N2.5billion were a tip of the ice berg as far as the investigations were concerned.
He declined further details, but disclosed that more arrests would be made in Bayelsa State.
“In the first place, the commission is not surprised that they are waging a media war against it; specifically, no one in the commission, let alone the chairman of the commission is doing the bidding of anyone. What they deliberately refuse to tell the world is that these investigations have been on for a little over a year now.
“And on each occasion the commission tries to engage in meaningful and civil dialogue to get clarifications, officials of the state either shun such invitations or give flimsy excuses. To be honest with you, some officials indicted by our investigations, particularly one Reginald Dede, who is the chairman of the state Environmental Sanitation Authority as well as the six assembly members have been evading invitation in the last six months since the completion of our preliminary report on the alleged fraud.
“But we are not worried at all because we will get to the root of every allegation, they still remain allegations until they have been tested and proved in court, all they need to do is to cooperate with the commission and volunteer useful information that will guide us further not to castigate us on the pages of newspapers.
“What however, remains a surprise is the fact that they know the latest one leading to the arrest of the accountant general is just a tip of the ice berg; but since the matter involving the accountant general is now in court, we wont say anything on that, let the court do its job.
“The commission hopes that rather engaging in an orchestrated blackmail of the commission, the governor has a duty to clear himself of all these allegations by prevailing on his aides and officials cooperate with the EFFC, we think that would have saved us all of needless recourse to abuse and blackmail”, Babafemi said.