The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Tuesday dismissed media reports that its officials were deliberately dragging the corruption case of Kingsley Kuku, who served as Special Adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan on Niger-Delta Affairs.
The two newspapers cited the alleged SSS source as telling them that the EFCC was pretending to be prosecuting Mr. Kuku when, in actual fact, it was deliberately stalling the case and providing a shield for him.
The two dailies quoted the alleged source in the secret police as accusing the EFCC of “criminal connivance” with Mr. Kuku.
Although the purported source did not directly name the EFCC as the agency, the tone set by the two newspapers sharply indicated that the anti-graft agency was the target of the allegations.
Mr. Uwujaren acknowledged that the anonymous attacks were aimed at the EFCC in his statement tonight.
“The EFCC ordinarily ought not to dignify the reports with a response given that it was not directly named by the ghost sources.
“However, the stories are dripping with innuendos that left little to the imagination regarding the agency under reference. While Vanguard stayed within the script of the game of ostrich handed to it by the purveyors of the unsubstantiated report,
“The Punch took a further step to identify the EFCC as the agency that is known to be investigating Kuku.
“Punch’s allusion is a fact known to everybody but the authors of the malicious story were either scared of the Commission or too embarrassed by their infantile gambit to name the EFCC,” Mr. Uwujaren said.
The EFCC had traced alleged mismanagement in the Niger-Delta amnesty funds to Mr. Kuku, who also served as the chairman of Presidential Amnesty Programme under Mr. Jonathan.
In debunking the reports, Mr. Uwujaren highlighted some of the actions that anti-graft detectives had taken against Mr. Kuku within the last two years in their efforts to prosecute him.
The spokesperson recalled that Mr. Kuku was declared wanted by the EFCC in July 2015 after he failed to honour a previous invitation from the agency.
“Rather than appear before the team investigating the allegations of fraud against him, he sent a letter, through his counsel, Karina Tunyan, claiming that he “is currently in the United States of America to keep an appointment with his doctors”, with a promise to appear on September 30, 2015.
“He never did, and his last known place of abode has remained the US, a different territorial jurisdiction,” Mr. Uwujaren said.
The EFCC stated that, in February 2016, Mr. Kuku approached a Federal High Court in Lagos to block detectives from arresting him, a request that was dismissed by the trial judge, Okon Abang.
Moreover, Mr. Uwujaren said, anti-graft officials arrested two associates of Mr. Kuku, interrogated them before slamming corruption charges against them.
Henry Ugbolue and Lawrence Pepple are still standing trial before a Federal High Court in Abuja for alleged “criminal conspiracy and fraudulent acquisition of property while in office.”
Mr. Uwujaren also denied that Mr. Kuku instigated EFCC against an ex-lawmaker, Chibudom Nwuche, as part of the allegations from the unnamed source quoted by The Punch and Vanguard newspapers.
“How logical is it that the Commission would be taking instruction from a man it has declared wanted and who has remained a fugitive?
“The nation should be saved this ‘Dugbe Intelligence’, as the EFCC is fired only by professionalism and would not be sucked into the apparent political battle between Nwuche and Kuku.
“Nwuche is perfectly aware of the outcome of the Commission’s investigation as it affects him and it will serve his interest to direct his energy to dealing with the other issue of alleged illegal possession of firearms currently being investigated by the Nigeria Police,” Mr. Uwujaren said.
Consequently, the spokesperson implored Nigerians to disregard the “concocted tissue of lies,” aimed at defacing the EFCC, saying the anti-graft was being targeted because it had become “the shining light of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration’s war against corruption.”
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