The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Lamorde, has denied diverting N1trillion of assets recovered from corrupt officials, saying he is prepared to face probe.
Following a petition by the Chief Executive of Public Alert Security Systems, George Uboh, the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, had summoned Mr. Lamorde to appear Wednesday when an investigation into the matter begins.
Mr. Uboh said the EFCC diverted about N1 trillion in recovered assets, operates hidden accounts to warehouse recovered funds which do not reflect in EFCC’s audited accounts.
He also said the EFCC trades with recovered funds through bank deposits and placements; manipulates bank accounts to conceal diversion of funds; and colludes with real estate companies in order to grossly undervalue seized assets before there are sold to their cronies.
Over half of the assets seized from convicts are not reflected in EFCC exhibit records, Mr. Uboh said. He also informed the Senate that over 95 per cent of EFCC’s recoveries in foreign currencies, other than those from multinational companies, have been diverted.
In his reaction through a statement signed by the Head of Media and Publicity of EFCC, Wilson Uwajuren, Mr. Lamorde said he had no fear for the Senate probe or “request for information regarding its activities by individuals, groups or organs of government; so far as such requests followed due process of law”.
The EFCC said even if it had not returned a kobo of recovered assets in its 12 years’ existence in addition to the yearly appropriated funds from the federation account, it would not be nowhere near N1 trillion.
The EFCC said it had earlier, without any prompting, commissioned KPMG to carry out a comprehensive audit of exhibits and forfeited assets in 12 years of its existence. The commission promised to make the report public.
“The EFCC as an agency that is founded on transparency is not afraid of any ‘probe’ or request for information regarding its activities by individuals, groups or organs of government; so far as such requests followed due process of law,” the statement said.
“The EFCC under Lamorde did not need the prompting of anyone, when it commissioned a reputable international audit firm, KPMG to carry out comprehensive audit of exhibits and forfeited assets of the Commission from 2003 to date. The report of the audit will be made public once it is ready.”
Were the Commission to be jittery about its records, it would not have embarked on such audit, the statement said.
Coming in the wake of EFCC probe of Toyin Saraki, the wife of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, over allegations of fraud committed when her husband was the Governor of Kwara State, the anti-graft agency questioned the motive and procedure of the planned Senate probe.
“More sinister is the discovery that the so called petition did not follow the procedure for consideration by the senate. It was sent, not to the senate but to a member, Senate Peter Nwaoboshi, a first term senator from Delta North.
“Under the senate rules, petitions meant for consideration by the red chamber are sent to the senate, not to a member of the senate.
“Also, petitions meant for the senate are tabled at the plenary, before they are referred to the relevant committees for further consideration. In this instance, the senate has been on recess and there is no evidence that the so called petition was considered at plenary and referred to any committee,” it said.
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