The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has denied media reports that it is witch-hunting the former Head of Service, Steve Oronsaye, over his perceived support for the Financial Intelligence Agency Bill, currently before the National Assembly.
It would be recalled that the commission had commenced investigation on Oronsaye for diverting N6.2 billion pension fund through the award of bogus contract meant for biometric enrollment and payment for computer accessories that were never supplied while he headed the federal civil service.
The EFCC had closed investigations in the Pension case in 2010, but in a twist on December 7 reopened the matter saying it has fresh evidence of Oronsaye’s involvement in the fraud.
The commission said that as a law enforcement agency, it can determine when to commence investigations on anyone it finds wanting, adding that it was not the place of interested parties outside the EFCC to determine when an investigation is closed in a particular matter.
“Let it be made manifestly clear that the EFCC is a responsible and responsive law enforcement agency and has no scores whatsoever to settle with Mr. Oronsaye or any other person for that matter,” it stated.
According to the EFCC, “the pension scam investigation is an ongoing exercise and if anyone is mentioned as having played a role in it at whatever stage (as indeed Mr. Oronsaye is alleged to have done), he or she will be invited to shed more light on his/her alleged involvement (as indeed, Mr. Oronsaye has done).”
It noted that what it has done is in line with standard practice in the best tradition of law enforcement worldwide, stressing that “time does not run out on criminal investigation or prosecution and if fresh information is brought to the attention of the EFCC at any time on any matter the Commission is handling, we are duty bound to look into it.”
It urged Nigerians not to be misled by attempts to divert attention from unravelling those behind the theft of N6billion belonging to pensioners.
Oronsoye is the chairman of the Presidential Committee on the Financial Action Task Force and he had recommended the merger of the EFCC with Independent Corrupt Practice and Other Related offences Commission, ICPC.
He is also a strong supporter of the autonomy of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, a unit presently under the EFCC which has been battling the Commission for autonomy.