Rivers Govt Blasts EFCC On Selective Probe | Independent Newspapers Limited
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POLITICS

Rivers Govt Blasts EFCC On Selective Probe

Ibrahim Magu, acting EFCC Chairman
Posted: Jun 27, 2016 at 4:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Augustine Adah

Lagos  – There is a growing concern over the allegations that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) created over 12 years ago has degenerated to become an organ doing the bidding of government of the day.  The Rivers State government has expressed disappointment over the manner the EFCC has allows itself to be used by APC led government in the country.

Dr. Austin Tam-George, commissioner for Information, Rivers State has stated that there is no truth in the publication which the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) directed the EFCC to probe the withdrawals by one Kingsley Fubara on behalf of Rivers State government.  Last Friday, a newspaper report (not Independent) carried a report that Mr. Kingsley Fubara, director of finance and administration, Rivers State Government House, made repeated withdrawals from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Zenith Bank to the tune of N11 billion.  According to the report, the “suspicious withdrawals” on behalf of the Rivers State government were made between December 2015 and February 2016.
However Dr. Tam-George,  in a statement made available to Independent on Saturday, said “the government categorically denies this fabricated and irresponsible publication.”
Tam-George stressed that the Rivers State government never conducted such financial transactions, even as he described the report as patently false.
He stated the government had no record of any staff known as Kingsely Fubara, who he described as “a fictional character” created by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the newspaper to embarrass the government and deceive the public.
Tam-George stated that the report also indicated that the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) had directed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to probe “these so-called withdrawals”, stressing that such a directive, if true, would be “a manifestly illegal and ridiculous proposition.”
According to him, “by law, the Rivers State government is accountable to the Rivers State House of Assembly and the people of Rivers State, not to the Attorney General of the Federation.
“This is a totally fictitious report typically orchestrated by the APC and its media allies. But, the story raises fundamental questions about the moral horror that confronts a nation where an anti-graft agency becomes openly partisan in all its intentions and actions.
“There is universal concern that the EFCC is playing an extremely corrosive role in the current political dispensation. Rather than fight corruption in a professional and dispassionate manner, the EFCC behaves shamelessly like an integral organ of the APC.”
He described the anti-graft commission as a national embarrassment as he claimed that the agency had been targeting only opposition politicians and “critics of the failed policies of the APC government.”
Tam-George asked: “Has the EFCC ever heard of one Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, the former governor of Rivers State and current Minister of Transport? Despite receiving over N3trillion in eight years as governor, Amaechi left the most abandoned projects in the history of Rivers State, since 1967. Several petitions against Amaechi, supported by sworn affidavits, have all been summarily ignored by the EFCC.
“Even chieftains of the APC have publicly acknowledged Rotimi Amaechi’s stupendous financial contributions to the party’s presidential campaign in 2015. These financial contributions, estimated to be in billions of naira, constitute serious financial crime against the people of Rivers State.
“The government and people of Rivers State will resist any politically motivated targeting of its leaders by any agency of the Federal Government, by whatever name it is called.”
It is because of this problem that many Nigerians including Dr. Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, founding director, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre, (WARDC) in an interview with Independent recently advocated for an independent agency that would handle corruption related cases in the country. According to Akiyode-Afolabi, the present agencies have appeared to be doing the bidding of every government in power since it was created.  She said, “I think we need to have an effective institution that is not in any way biased. A lot of people talk about EFCC been biased because we saw them shifted during the time of Obasanjo, we saw them shifted during Jonathan’s time and it appears they have their loyalty to any government in power.”
Similarly, Alhaji Musa Iliyasu Kwankwaso former commissioner and a member of Peoples Democratic Party in Kano State in an interview recently said,   “My appeal is that let EFCC investigate all. In Kano here, we know that there is a petition on an APC member to the EFCC; we petitioned EFCC over the former administration but one year after, they have not taken any action. That is the reason we are saying that this issue of investigation is just selective and it is political.
“The big question is how come EFCC’s investigation is just about PDP and nothing is heard about APC? How come it is only the leaders of the PDP that are called to make statements or are detained at EFCC offices across the country? Are all the APC members’ saints? That is why I said that it is all injustice.”
Kwankwaso is not the only person that perceive the war against corruption is one sided. The founder of Odua Peoples’ Congress and national chairman of Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), has accused the present APC government of fighting corruption in one sided manner. He said.  Until the government stop arresting only members of opposition parties for alleged corruption cases, we would regard the current war against corruption as one sided and intended to weaken opposition parties in the country.” He stated that even though APC was not the party in power at the centre before 2015, the party has produced some governors in the country which they cannot claim to be innocent of corruption charges.