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There is corruption in EFCC, Lamorde admits •As Senate confirms him

THE Senate, on Wednesday, confirmed the nomination of Mr Ibrahim Lamorde  as the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) after a two-hour grilling at its plenary session. Lamorde was, on November 23, 2011 appointed acting chairman of the commission by President Goodluck Jonathan, who thereafter sent his name to the Senate for confirmation in accordance with  section 2(3) of the EFCC Act 2004.

The President of the Senate, Senator David Mark, who put the question  for the confirmation after the two-hour question and answer session, asked the new EFCC chairman to perform to the satisfaction of all.

During the question and answer session, Lamorde admitted that corruption existed within the EFCC, adding that the commission was taking steps to arrest the situation.

He stated that three staff members of the commission  were currently  being prosecuted for alleged corruption.

Lamorde  stated that expectations of Nigerians and the international community from him  were high. He, however, said that he would live up to expectation.

He said: “I am aware of the expectations of Nigerians and the international community. I have a clear idea of what to do and I don’t think I’ll be overwhelmed by the challenges of the office.”

According to him,  “there is a conception by the people that there is corruption in the EFCC. To some extent, this is correct; three of our officials are in detention over corruption.

“I have decided to introduce lie detectors which will subject our staff to thorough screening, I assure the Nigerian people that there will be great improvement on the image of the commission and would not disappoint anyone.”

On the allegations that power  is concentrated on the agency, he  denied that;  “there is no too much concentration of powers on EFCC chairman; it’s just the problem of perception.” He added that, “EFCC and ICPC could work together and  complement each other.”

On the workings of the agency,  Lamorde, stressed that,   “we receive petitions from the public, but we also generate our own. But our people need to understand how EFCC works, which is not possible without the cooperation of the public. If people do not give us information, there is no way we can do our job effectively. Otherwise, they will accuse us of engaging in a witch-hunt.”

He regretted the  issue of plea-bargaining  on the case of  a former governor of Edo State, Lucky Igbinedion, saying  that  “everybody was not happy about what happened but the same individual is being charged in a Benin High Court. I think it depends on the execution of the plea-bargaining as it is being  done all over the world but I think the people have to sit down to determine how to go about it.

“I don’t think because of one incident that we should jettison the practice; it saves costs and time wasting. If we are going to continue  with the practice, we should be able to spell out the proper guidelines, assets alleged to have been acquired should be confiscated.”

On  why the EFCC had been concentrating on the National Assembly and the opposition and not the executive, Lamorde responded, “it was not only the National Assembly that the EFCC investigated, but most reports originated from the National Assembly and all those involved were members of the PDP”.

He said it was a matter of perception to claim that EFCC was used to persecute the opposition, saying, “I don’t think it was a matter of a party, but the information available to the EFCC. It is the perception of people that EFCC is used to persecute the opponents.”

On why the agency was planning to spend N17 billion to build its national headquarters, when the agency was complaining of funds to execute its programmes, Lamorde explained that the agency was currently operating from five rented apartments within the Federal Capital Territory, believing that it  would be cost effective for the agency to have its own headquarters. He maintained that having a building of its own was a priority if officials of the agency were to be effective in the discharge of their duty.

Looking at the number of convictions, Lamorde said, “It is not true that we don’t have enough convictions like  before. The reason why there is a clamour for special courts is because of the slow pace in trying suspects.”


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Posted by on Feb 15 2012. Filed under EFCC Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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