Friday, 18 December 2015

Okonjo-Iweala, CBN Officials Face Interrogation Over Fraud

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) plans to interrogate the former Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy in the last administration, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, according to a high-level source.

The source, speaking anonymously in Abuja on Wednesday, said that the commission would also look into the activities of three officials who presided over the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in relation to the ongoing arms purchases probe, Sahara Reportes informs.

They are the former governor of the CBN and current Emir of Kano Muhammadu Sanusi II; former Acting Governor of the CBN Sarah Alade, and the current governor, Godwin Emefiele.

Minister Ngozi Okonjo Iweala

The source, however, did not say when the top figures involved in the release of funds would be spoken to.

“I will find out and get back to you. These cases are very many; several of them are ongoing but I will get back to you on this issue,” the source said.

The source also said the EFCC was preparing to reopen the investigation into alleged fraud cases that have been put on hold due to permanent injunctions secured by the accused against such cases.

The top management staff of the EFCC said the commission would no longer be deterred in its mission to investigate allegations of corruption by such injunctions.

Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II

According to the source, the EFCC is empowered by the constitution to investigate allegations of corruption without hindrance.

The operative said the commission would rely on Section 15 of the new Administration of Criminal Justice Act to investigate all such corruption-related cases in the interest of the people.

Refusing to disclose the cases to be reopened, the source did however hint that some celebrated fraud cases against former governors and ministers would be reopened for fresh investigation and prosecution.

The source also said that the commission would intensify legal efforts towards lifting the apparent judicial embargo on some high-profile corruption-related cases.

Sarah Alade
 “Let it be clear that the EFCC will go after all cases that are deserving of investigation. There is nothing like a permanent injunction now.

“We have a duty to investigate all cases; we are empowered by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to investigate all such corruption-related cases and that is what we are asked to do,” the source said. “We are empowered by Section 15 of the new ACJA to investigate all cases irrespective of injunctions. We cannot be stopped.”

Meanwhile, Chairman of the EFCC Ibrahim Magu, has disclosed plans to establish a Procurement Fraud Unit (PFU) in the commission to strengthen the fight against corruption in the country.

Godwin Emefiele

The head of media and publicity of the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, quoted the EFCC acting chairman as having made the comment while hosting a coalition of civil society organisations on Wednesday.

Uwujaren said Magu expressed concern over the increasing rate of procurement fraud and told his guests that the PFU would contribute immensely to the anti-corruption battle when it became operational.

“I am so concerned about procurement fraud. I am thinking of establishing a unit, purely on procurement fraud. When put in place, it will go a long way towards checking corruption,” Magu said.