Why We Have Not released Olisa Metuh – Ibrahim Magu, EFCC Chairman

EFCC Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu
EFCC Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu

The chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has said that the agency has not released the national publicity secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Olisa Metuh, because he has refused to answer questions  relating to the N400 million he collected from former National Security Adviser, NSA, Sambo Dasuki, or make any commitment to refund the money.

Magu, who spoke at an interactive session with journalists in Lagos on Monday, was reacting to accusations of partisanship in the arrests so far made by the EFCC, with a reporter giving the example of the release of Isa Jafar, former military governor of Kaduna State and a close associate to President Muhammadu Buhari while Metuh remains in detention.

The EFCC chairman explained that while Jafar cooperated with investigators and had returned N100 million of the N170 million he collected from Dasuki in addition to making a written commitment to refund the remaining, Metuh had even refused to make any statement to the EFCC or accept that he collected the money, rather preferring to go on hunger strike.

Magu said that the intention of the anti – graft agency is to recover all the money illegally handed out by Dasuki for political purposes in order that they might be returned into government treasury.

The EFCC chief also absolved thecommission from blame in the delay in the conclusion of cases being prosecuted by the commission, saying that its job was to investigate and prosecute corrupt public officials and that the rest depended on the courts.

He used the occasion to reiterate his earlier call for the establishment of special courts to try anti-corruption cases to speed up the process of trying corrupt public officials.

Part of the delay, the EFCC chairmanobserved, is caused by antics of corrupt persons, whom he said have stolen a lot of money and can afford to hire lawyers who use all kinds of legal tactics to delay the trial of their clients.

“They have a lot of money. Somebody who stole N10 billion will be ready to set aside N5 billion to fight the justice system and escape. They can afford to pay lawyers to frustrate our cases,” he stated.

Magu, who was accompanied to the function by Ilyasu Kwarbai, the head of operations at the commission’s Lagos office, also said that the EFCC had learnt from the mistakes of the past and no longer file unending charges against suspects. He said that the commission has consciously worked at reducing the charges it files against suspects to less than 10, noting that that would help it focus on its strongest charges.

Kwarbai, who also fielded questions from journalists at the interactive session, explained that the former Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Patrick Ziadeke Akpobolokemi, was re – arrested after being granted bail by the court because the EFCC had new evidence concerning another allegation against him.

Kwarbai said that there was new evidence that Akpobolokemi had been involved in the misappropriation of another sum of N34 billion and a separate N600 million apart for the initial N2.3 million for which he was charged to court.

“What the EFCC did was to invite him based on new evidence but as you all saw in the video he resisted arrest,” he said further.

The EFCC operations director said that the former NIMASA boss is being kept by the commission because he has since refused to be questioned and had also refused to accept the conditions for releasing him on administrative bail.

Speaking on the new impetus given to the anti-corruption campaign, Magu assured Nigerians that the commission will do its best to combat corruption and impunity, adding that “No one, no matter how highly placed, shall be spared if he or she infringes on the laws of the land.”






     

     

    Seeking the support of the Press in the fight against corruption, the EFCC chairman asked journalists to make available to the anti-graft agency any information that might help in its investigation of corruption cases.

    He also promised that the commission would help in building capacity for journalists who report corruption and related issues, noting that the EFCC had organised training workshops for that purpose in the past.

    Also reacting to accusations that the anti-corruption crusade is selective and that the government was deciding which cases the commission prosecutes, Magu said that no one in government influences decisions on EFCC cases.

    “EFCC is not an agency for witch – hunt and only those who have soiled their hands have reasons to be apprehensive,” adding that his actions would always be guided “by the fear of God, nstional interest and the rule of law.”

    Join the ICIR WhatsApp channel for in-depth reports on the economy, politics and governance, and investigative reports.

    Support the ICIR

    We invite you to support us to continue the work we do.

    Your support will strengthen journalism in Nigeria and help sustain our democracy.

    If you or someone you know has a lead, tip or personal experience about this report, our WhatsApp line is open and confidential for a conversation

    LEAVE A REPLY

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here


    Support the ICIR

    We need your support to produce excellent journalism at all times.

    - Advertisement

    Recent

    - Advertisement