The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and the Ministry of Justice have denied having any rift despite internal documents that show that all is not well between them.
In a statement by its spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, the EFCC denied having any rift with the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.
The agency also said it complies with relevant laws in the discharge of its functions.
The commission however kept mum on a specific letter by Mr. Malami where he accused the EFCC of failing to abide by its enforcement regulations. Mr. Malami said based on the regulation, the EFCC is supposed to send outcomes of major cases it is investigating to his office.
“I am directed by the Honourable Attorney- General and Minister of Justice to refer to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Enforcement) Regulations 2010 (the Regulation) published in the Federal Republic of Nigeria Official Gazette No.61 Vol. of 21st September 2010, particularly the obligations of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC/the Commission),” Abiodun Aikomo from the AGF’s office said in the letter to the EFCC sourced by The Cable newspapers.
“I am directed to refer specifically to Section 10 (1) which mandates the Commission to forward to the Attorney- General, in respect of a case of complaint which is serious or complex within the context of the Regulation, the outcome of its investigation(s) with its recommendations on whether there are sufficient grounds to initiate prosecution.
“The Honourable Attorney-General observes that the Commission has been in breach of the above cited provision of the Regulation for some time, hence this reminder to the Commission to ensure compliance going forward.”
According to the Section 10 of the compliance regulation referenced by the attorney general, the cases regarded as serious include the following: cases that have a significant international dimension; cases that involve a cost of N50 million and above, cases that involve allegations of fraudulent activities against numerous victims, among others.
When asked on Thursday about the content of his letter to the EFCC chairman, Mr. Malami simply said, “there is no rift,” between his office and the EFCC, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.
In his statement on Thursday, Mr. Uwujaren did not specifically respond to the attorney-general’s claim but said the EFCC was complying with “all provisions of the law.”
“For the avoidance of any doubt, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, wishes to categorically state that it is compliant with all provisions of law and has no intention to stoke a misunderstanding over requests from the office of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice,” he said.
“Furthermore, the Commission’s mandate, operational philosophy and the conduct and pronouncements of its officials do not countenance any activity on the fringes of the law. It is therefore untenable for there to be any suggestion that the EFCC or the Commission’s principal officials are either in conflict with or readying for a “showdown” with the AGF or other officials of government.
“Any such “conflicts” being paraded in the media exist only in the apparently fertile imaginations of corrupt elements angling to knock heads together in furtherance of their own pro-corruption agenda.”
The anti-graft agency added that “The Commission wishes to underscore that the EFCC is a creation of statute and is operations and officials being as they are, guided by the firm, unambiguous provisions of those laws and regulations, are not and can never be in contravention of the law or opposition to constituted authority.”