- EFCC storms commission, 7 suspended
From James Ojo, Abuja
OPERATIVES of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) last week stormed the corporate headquarters of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) in search of documents relating to companies owned by high profile politicians being tried for corrupt practices.
The missing files, according to a source, were those placed on caveat on the request of security agencies and kept in the office of the Registrar, Mr. Bello Mahmud, for strict protection from public access.
Some of the files were said to contain details of directors and owners of companies believed to have been registered by politicians facing corruption trials.
The disappearance of the files has led to the suspension of seven members of staff by the CAC Registrar, an action which almost degenerated into industrial dispute as other workers threatened a showdown with the management.
The workers, it was learnt, vowed that they would not allow their colleagues to be used as sacrificial lamb.
“Any file or document placed on caveat can only be accessed with a clearance from the registrar. No other staff or members of the public can access it, so why punish people who have nothing to do with such missing files,” an angry staff asked.
The visit of EFCC operatives caused a stir as several lawyers and members of the public who were at the CAC office to transact business were ordered to vacate the premises.
“The EFCC officials were polite and orderly, they pleaded that we leave as they were on special duty at the premises and would not want any obstructions in carrying out their official duty.
“There was no disclosure of what they came for, but we had to move out of the premises because they were civil and courteous, we just packed our files and left the place,” the lawyer said.
Spokesman of EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren denied knowledge of the visit of the commission to the head office of CAC.
“I am not aware of any visit of EFCC to CAC,” he stated when contacted on phone.
Efforts to get the CAC side of the story also failed as calls to the line of Mr. Williams Churchill Kambo, the agency’s spokesman on Sunday evening was diverted to another line.
But a CAC source said that Wednesday’s visit of EFCC investigators was the second within 24 hours, noting that a team of EFCC officials had visited on Tuesday evening and quizzed some directors for hours before they left.
CAC, it was gathered, had resorted to manual registration of companies following the crashing of its server since 2014, thereby making files and other documents easily reachable to members of staff.
As part of its investigation, EFCC and other security agencies always frequent CAC to trace shareholders and owners of companies allegedly linked to corruption.
In furtherance of President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption crusade, security agencies launched massive onslaught against several former and serving public holders including politicians, civil servant and military top brass thought to have corruptly enriched themselves.
A host of persons including Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Mr. Alex Badeh, former Chief of Army Staff, Sambo Dasuki, former National Security Adviser, Olisa Metuh, former National Publicity Secretary of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), among others are currently undergoing trials.