The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has faulted a report that tagged it as one of the highly corrupt agencies of the Nigerian Government. In its response, the anti-graft commission also challenged the authors of the survey that led to the publication of the report to publish the parameters used in arriving at their “sweeping conclusion”.
Below is the text of the text of the EFCC statement that faulted the report:
“The attention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has been drawn to a news publication on page 8 of Thisday and page 4 of Leadership Newspapers of October 22, 2013 that lumps the Commission among agencies of government touted as highly corrupt. The report was said to be the result of a 2013 National Crime Victimization and Safety Survey conducted by CLEEN Foundation in collaboration with the MacArthur Foundation.
Ordinarily such a report ought not to be dignified with as response save for the fact that it is misleading and impinges the integrity of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. Without mincing words, the Commission considers its integrity as a core value and has toiled relentlessly to sustain its reputation as an effective law enforcement organisation with zero tolerance for corruption. It will therefore not fold its hand while some arm chair researchers desperate to justify a grant, use the result of a spurious survey to cast aspersion on its integrity.
While not trying to speak for other agencies, the EFCC challenges the authors of the survey to publish the parameters used in the exercise to arrive at the sweeping conclusion and stigmatisation of an agency as corrupt. If we may ask, how many people in Borno, Ekiti , or Cross River states have come in contact with operatives of the EFCC to be able to make informed opinion as to whether they are corrupt or not? Which towns, local governments and wards did the survey cover? What questions were asked; what response evaluation methods were used?
For a country with a population of over 160million, it is the height of irresponsibility for some NGO to sit in their cosy offices, design survey questionnaires and administer to their friends and cronies only to publish the result as a national aggregate of opinion.
EFCC is proud of its record when it comes to integrity. The mere fact that operatives of the Commission cannot easily be induced is one reason why cases of impersonation of operatives of the Commission by fraudsters are rampant. While some of these fraudsters have been arrested, prosecuted and convicted, others are still on the prowl.
A few examples will suffice: One Muhammad El Ameen Al Haleel, who was prosecuted by the EFCC and sentenced to three years imprisonment for obtaining N60million from Dr. Shuaibu Sani Teidi, a governorship aspirant in Kogi State with a promise to facilitate a meeting between him and the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammad Namadi Sambo, to ensure that he, Teidi, got nominated as the governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Al-Haleel also promised to give N10 million of the money to the then EFCC Chairman, Mrs. Farida Waziri to get clearance for Teidi from the EFCC to enable him stand for the 2011 election.
Teidi, a former Director, Pension Administration in the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation who is currently in Kuje prison, is being prosecuted by the EFCC alongside 39 others persons over a N4.56 billion Pension scam.
Similarly, a former Kogi Central Senatorial candidate, Alhaji Abdulazeez Bello- Azeez, was arrested at the Sheraton Hotels and Towers, Lagos, for allegedly impersonating the Director of Operations of the EFCC, Mr. Olaolu Adegbite.
He was at the hotel premises to further an advance fee fraud scheme targeted at Mrs Mercy Orji, wife of the Abia State Governor, Mr. Theodore Orji. He reportedly posed as the EFCC’s Director of Operations with a fake identity card bearing the name of E. Adegbite. Bello was arrested on January 27, 2013 while negotiating with some aides of his would-be victim.
A few weeks ago, a self styled Assistant Commissioner of Police, a Dr. Kunle Adeshola who has been parading himself as an operative of the Commission and defrauding officials of government agencies under the guise of conducting phantom investigations was arrested. He was nabbed on Thursday October 10, 2013 in the course of trying to brow beat the Chief Executive of a federal government agency to write a letter supposedly to the Inspector General of Police to second him to the agency.
This is just a tip of the iceberg of how fraudsters have and still use the name of the Commission to obtain gratification from members of the public who are all too willing to pay because of their morbid fear of the agency.
Were these cases not reported and the fraudsters arrested and prosecuted, the impression would have been the EFCC is a very corrupt anti-graft agency that has agents out there that liaise with the corrupt elements for settlement.
The EFCC does not treat matters of discipline and integrity of its officers with levity. There is a full fledged directorate of the agency, the Department of Internal Affairs that is saddled with the responsibility for ensuring that staff of the agency abide by it code of ethics. Members of the public who claim to have encountered any officer of the Commission that requested for gratification can report such matters to the department and be rest assured that such an officer will not be spared. Such complaints can be forwarded to the Director, Internal Affairs Department at Block C, EFCC headquarters, 5 Fomela Street, off Adetokunbo Ademola crescent, Wuse 2, Abuja, or call any of these numbers: 097831798, 097831799, 08036076316, 08191534236 and 09-4604628 or send an email to: [email protected]. They could as well send a message through the EFCC facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Official-EFCC/509762239046271.
More importantly, It is not longer sufficient for any faceless person to claim they have come in contact with some bribe-seeking operatives of the Commission, such claims must be justified by naming the operatives in question and the circumstance under which the gratifications were demanded and received, the objective being to clean up the system, if it requires cleaning.
The question to ask therefore, what did any of these people who say they encountered cases of corruption in EFCC do to stem the tide? If they did not feel comfortable coming back to the EFCC with the details, did they pass on the information (and any evidence) to CLEEN and MacArthur Foundation to challenge the Commission with?
Until they do so, the Commission is of the opinion that the so-called National Crime Victimization and Safety Survey, at least the aspect concerning the EFCC, should be thrown into the waste bin, where it rightly belongs.