EFCC Denies Bribery Allegation Against Officials

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has denied allegations which were widely reported in the media on Monday alleging demands for bribes by officials of the agency in connection with the Gbaran Ubie Gas Project in Bayelsa State.
The commission made the denial in a statement issued by its head of media and publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, saying that the reports which were said to be based on a petition to the House of Representatives by a Chidi Adebanya ought to be disregarded as the motive was to muddle a case pending against the petitioner at the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Uwujaren further said that the commission was forced to respond in the interest of Nigerians who might have been deceived by the reports..
“For the avoidance of doubt, there is no truth in the claim by Adebanya that officials of the Commission demanded gratification from him to throw the case. It is inconceivable that any official of the Commission will ask for a bribe let alone promising to make returns to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke. This is preposterous! According to Adebanya, the bribes were demanded in 2011.
The important question is, why has it taken him three solid years to go public with the allegation?”Uwujaren queried.
He stressed that the media report was a deliberate attempt to put in disrepute the case instituted by the commission against the accused.
Adebanya is presently standing trial before the Federal High Court, Abuja on charges of obtaining money under false pretence.
The statement said the petitioner allegedly used his position as Interface Manager of Shell to defraud his employer through a deceptive consultancy in connivance with officials of the Bayelsa State Ministry of Urban Development.
It further stated that he allegedly awarded himself a consultancy contract using his company named Forstech, adding that the company exploited Shell in a total sum of N1.9billion in consultancy charges for the Gbaran Ubie gas project.
The commission is prosecuting Adebanya on the basis of the fraud at the Feferal High Court, Abuja.
The EFCC spokesperson stated that it was regrettable that a section of the media accepted the ruse by rushing to publish without any attempt to verify the veracity of the purported claim or even seek the views of the commission on the allegation.
“If this omission is part of an agenda to embarrass and distract the EFCC from pursuing the case against Adebanya, it has failed. No amount of sponsored publications on unfounded allegations will stop the Commission from diligently prosecuting the case against Adebanya,” Uwujaren said.
He said further that If the petitioner, indeed, had any case against the Commission, “he is free to seek redress in court.”

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