…Stops controversial anti-EFCC motion
From: FRED ITUA, Abuja
In a shocking mov, on Tuesday, the Senate made a dramatic U-turn and withdrew a controversial motion, targeted at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The withdrawn motion tagged, “Undue Dramatisation of the Fight against Corruption in Nigeria,” and sponsored by Sen. Chukwuka Utazi, had lampooned the leading anti-graft agency “for its penchant for undue publicity of its body of evidence at the commencement of investigation.”
Leader of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, at about 1:00p.m, called on Utazi to read the contents of the motion. Incidentally, Utazi, who heads Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes committee, had already left the chamber.
Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the day’s legislative business, told his colleagues that the motion had been withdrawn.
Though no official explanation was offered on why the motion was withdrawn by its sponsor, findings by Daily Sun however revealed that, the leadership of the Senate, prevailed on Utazi to jettison it. It was learnt that the Senate did not want to start a fresh showdown with the anti-graft agency.
Utazi, in the withdrawn motion, a copy of which was obtained by Daily Sun, said: “EFCC’s approach tends to compromise the strength of the evidence that could be presented to secure conviction in judicial proceedings.
“I am disturbed about the string of losses of corruption and financial crimes-related cases in court in recent past. These losses, due mainly to insufficient and sometimes, shoddy investigation and the presentation of inadequate unconvincing body of evidence has cast a dark cloud on the efforts of the current government to reduce corruption in Nigeria to the barest minimum.
“The recourse of, especially the EFCC in blaming the judiciary whenever it loses its case in court is a failure to acknowledge the commission’s shortcomings in the build-up to each case.
“The EFCC’s emphasis on media trial before the conclusion of investigation weakens its case and gives the country a bad image in the comity of nations, discouraging the much-needed foreign investments.
“Nigeria is not the only country that fights corruption and related crimes with the requisite zeal, but we do not hear of putrid stories of sleazy discoveries put out by countries’ anti-corruption agencies to every medium of communication to portray the country in bad light.
“The sudden discoveries of abandoned loot, at airports, in septic and water tanks, in high-brow apartments and the dramatization of the process of the discovery of these orphaned monies paint the anti-corruption war in unpalatable colours, giving the world an impression of a group seeking applause through propaganda and engaging in a circus show to a rather grave national effort.
In his prayers, which were also withdrawn, Utazi urged the EFCC to de-emphasis propaganda and undue publicity in its operations and concentrate on the competent discharge of its core mandate.
As chairman of Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes committee, Senator Utazi can, without recourse to the Senate, sanction the EFCC.
Findings shows that Utazi did not at any formal meetings or through official communications, convey the displeasure of the Senate to the acting chairman of the EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Magu.
Since Magu’s second rejection by the Senate, the duo have been involved in a war of words, with the latter, accusing the anti-graft agency of sponsoring media propaganda against it.
Some members of the Senate, have also accused the EFCC of targeting some of its members, who are believed to have played vital roles in the rejection of Magu.