Written by Taiwo Adisa:
Acting President Goodluck Jonathan has given the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) the marching orders on the renewed fight against corruption. Sources said that the order was handed over to the commission’s Chairman, Mrs. Farida Waziri, shortly before she embarked on a
recent trip abroad.
It was gathered that the acting president had been miffed by reports that the United States of America (USA) has downgraded Nigeria’s efforts at fighting money laundering and financial crimes.
It was gathered that a report by the US agency in charge of financial crimes and corruption had indicated that Nigeria’s battle against corruption and money laundering has nosedived in recent years and that there could be a link in government’s lukewarm attitude to fighting illicit sources of wealth and the December 26 failed terrorist act of Nigerian youngster, Abdumuttalab Farouk.
The US had since blacklisted Nigeria as one of the countries to be placed under watch for terrorist activities. The classification caused uproar in the country, with several segments of the country condemning the classification.
The acting president was said to have carefully studied the situation since he assumed office and had concluded that renewed efforts at fighting corruption could enhance Nigeria’s image and ensure development.
Sources said that the acting president had called the chairman of the EFCC immediately he assumed office and assured her of his government’s readiness to fight corruption.
It was gathered that he renewed the calls last week when he summoned the EFCC boss to his office. A source quoted Jonathan as telling Waziri to get cracking or risk losing her job.
The source quoted the acting president as saying that he was ready to remove all impediments in the way of the nation’s anti-corruption war.
A source also quoted the acting president as saying that he was ready to support the EFFCC with all logistics, even if his brother is involved in matters before the commission.
Said the source: “The acting president did not mince words when he summoned the EFCC boss last week. He told her to get busy, get cracking and get results. He told her that: The alternative is to remove all of you from the commission, and all impediments working against the classification of our country as a hugely corrupt nation.”
Waziri was said to have gone back to her office in a pensive mood after admonition. “But the EFCC has since taken up the challenge,” a source said, adding that the commission has indicated its readiness to cooperate with the London Court trying associates of the former governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori, for money laundering.
A source in the commission said that the EFCC would collaborate on all lawful fronts with sister agencies to help in the fight against corruption in Nigeria.
Besides, sources said that the EFCC has reopened the case files of former governors who were undergoing trial or investigation. They include former Abia State governor, Chief Orji Kalu, his Bauchi State counterpart, Alhaji Adamu Mua’zu, former Delta State governor, Chief James Ibori, who is being investigated afresh for other allegations, while trial of former office holders, including former governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State and former Nasarawa State governor, Alhaji Abdullahi Adamu are among other high profile cases.
There has also been a clampdown on officials of Bayelsa and Kogi States since the marching orders were handed to the EFCC.
The development has, however, stoked further enmity between loyalists of the Bayelsa State Governor, Mr. Timpre Silva and the acting president.
Silva’s men alleged that the EFCC was working out a script of the Presidency by hounding its officials who are already being prosecuted. The Commissioner for Finance in the state has also been declared wanted by the EFCC.
Loyalists of the Bayelsa governor also claimed that the series of prosecution by the EFCC were aimed at denying Silva a shot at the Government House for second term.
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