A petition has been written to President Muhammadu Buhari by “Concerned Staff of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC),” calling for the investigation of the EFCC boss Ibrahim Lamorde.
The letter, which is dated October 7th, raises allegations of “impunity, screening of offenders, aiding and abetting of criminals, interfering with criminal investigations, and stealing” against the two-time Chairman’s.
Offering a summary of some of the cases allegedly compromised by Mr. Lamorde, the petitioners urged the President to constitute a committee of experts with proven integrity from the law enforcement and intelligence community to take a second look at the cases with a view to finding out if they were compromised or not, and if found to be so, recalling the investigating officers for complicity.
It further alleges that under the leadership of Mr. Lamorde, corruption and corrupt acts are not only tolerated at the EFCC, but even celebrated. “One is free to do whatever he wants to as long as he belongs to the clique. There is no reward for hard work and no punishment for wrong-doing.”
The letter states that under Mr. Lamorde’s control the EFCC has become “a haven for criminals who know their ways around the system.”
It accuses the Executive Chairman of conniving with the former Comptroller General Nigeria Customs Service, Mr. Dikko Inde in a grand conspiracy to milk Nigeria dry through a certain joint task force. In addition, it is widely known within the Commission that Mr. Inde was giving Mr. Lamorde money for the running of the EFCC despite a budgetary allocation for that purpose, which he had converted to his personal use.
Among others, the petitioners cite the case of one John Ibiteye, who was arrested by the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) at the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos, as he traveled to Abuja with over $2million (US), a case the NDLEA transferred to the EFCC Lagos office.
“However, a few days after the transfer of the case to EFCC, a written statement by the current acting Executive Secretary NHIS who claimed to be the rightful owner of the money was forwarded to the Lagos office from the Executive Chairman’s office instructing the Head of Operations Lagos to release the money to him without further delay. Despite the fact that he is a civil servant no investigation was carried out to authenticate the source of the money.”
According to the petition, several police officers previously sent back to the police by the former chairman were brought back to do the chairman’s dirty jobs. They were placed in strategic positions and are being assigned cases involving large amounts of money or cases involving politically exposed persons which“are considered juicy.”
The petitioners also identified officers such as CSP Bello Yahaya (Economic Governance Abuja), SP Mohammed Baba Azare (Head Counter Terrorism and General Investigation Abuja), CSP Suleiman Abdu (Head ISOS Abuja), Ibrahim Yidi (Head Subsidy Investigation; now Extractive Industry Investigation Unit). The most troubling issue is that the corruption in EFCC does not stop with the police officers seconded to the Commission, but it has spread like wildfire among the core staff.
The petition declared that the Executive has crippled the agency so much that commission operatives use their personal money to buy [stationery] for official day to day work in their various offices, especially in the Abuja Office.
“The Executive Chairman Sir, since his assumption of Office in November, 2011 has never paid the staff allowance which forms part of the Commission’s consolidated salary structure duly approved by the Salaries and wages Commission and this [has brought] untold hardship to the staff and exposed them to the potential danger of engaging in corrupt practices,” the letter says.
In the petition, which was also copied to the National Security Advisor; the President of the Senate; the Speaker, House of Representatives; and the Director General of the State Security Service, the writers urged President Buhari to thoroughly investigate Mr. Lamorde for his complicity in the cases which were compromised during his tenure as EFCC boss. The letter also called for the investigation of all six zonal heads of the EFCC, as well as the general staff of the organization. Finally the letter noted the importance of investigating the unpaid allowances of several staff members since Mr. Lamorde became the Executive Chairman of the EFCC in 2011.
It would be recalled that last July, a similar petition against Mr. Lamorde was sent to the Senate by George Uboh, a security expert, alleging that the EFCC boss had fraudulently diverted over N1 trillion proceeds of corruption recovered by the agency.
In his petition to the Senate, Mr. Uboh offered to produce “overwhelming evidence” to back his claims against Mr. Lamorde.
In August, the Senate invited Mr. Lamorde to appear before a committee investigating the allegations, which included the claim that “over half of the assets seized from suspects are not reflected in EFCC exhibit records.”
Mr. Lamorde did not honour the invitation, but he subsequently published advertorials denouncing the petition.