Lamorde: EFCC probing governors, ministers

By The Citizen

The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, said yesterday that the commission and the Metropolitan Police of London are probing governors, ministers and former heads of the civil service for corruption.

The list also includes members of the National Assembly and ex-ministers

He, however, said the agency was keeping the list under wraps until investigation was concluded.

Lamorde said the EFCC would confiscate assets of ex-Governor James Ibori in the United Kingdom.

He dismissed insinuations that the EFCC had abandoned  the trial of some  ex-governors like Saminu Turaki, Joshua Dariye, Jolly Nyame, Abubakar Audu and Governor Ayo Fayose.

The EFCC boss said the commission recently declared ex-Governor Saminu Turaki wanted.

Lamorde  made the disclosures in Abuja while hosting to confiscate Ibori's assets in the UK after a  meeting with a team from the Metropolitan Police of London, led by Detective Chief Inspector  Jonathan Benton.

He said: 'In respect of some of the new cases we have embarked upon, we are investigation sitting governors, some ministers that are serving, also ministers that have left office, some former heads of the civil  service of the federation and members of the National Aassembly.

'We will never mention names, since it's a joint investigation that we are doing. And you know unlike what we do here where some of our people here want sensationalism, that's is not the way it works with them. The  investigation has to be conducted properly first. It is when the matter is ready to go to court that publicity is  given to individual case.

'For the time being, they are here. We  are reviewing those investigations and when we are ready to go to court, then names and these cases will be properly mentioned.'

Although Lamorde said some of the cases might take time. He, however, said it was important for the public to know what EFCC had been doing.

He added: 'Another thing I also want to say is that some of these investigations will take a little bit of time. The Ibori case, the investigation lasted about six to seven years before he was again charged and arraigned in court.

'So, we cannot be in a hurry, the most important thing is that people should know a lot is going on.

'And any person either a man or woman occupying public office, who decides to put her hand or his hand in government coffers to steal, there is no hiding place, whether or not you take the money outside this country.

'There are machinery in place to trace this money and also bring such individuals to justice, and we also want to thank Mr Benton and his team, for the assistance they have rendered to us as an organisation and to Nigeria as a country.

'We believe the work they have done to assist what we are doing has helped tremendously in making us achieve a lot of results. It has also helped to discourage a lot of people from stealing money from Nigeria and taking it to the UK to either hide or invest, thinking that it will never be detected.

'That has helped the development of Nigeria because the less money is taken out of the country, the more it is retained here for development. Not only that they have done the investigations and confiscated assets and properties,  the United Kingdom has always found a way of returning this assets to Nigerians. And I believe shortly we would have more assets that have been confiscated in the United Kingdom being returned to the country.'

Lamorde said in a few months, assets of James Ibori in the UK would be confiscated.

He added: 'As you are all aware, we have had a very robust working relationship with the Metropolitan Police dating over 10 years now, and he has come with his team. The operational members of his team cannot appear with us in the press for obvious reasons, and we are here to review our activities over the years and the current activities we are working on.

'We  have a lot of ongoing investigations that we have been doing together. We need to review those cases and how we move them forward.

'You are also very much aware that the Metropolitan Police Proceeds of Corruption Unit is the unit that assisted us in the case of  ex-governors DSP Alamieyeseigha and Joshua Dariye in the past. And of course, the big one that everybody is aware of, James Ibori, who is currently serving jail term in the United Kingdom.

'In a few months,  there is also going to be a confiscation proceedings in respect of the assets of James Ibori in the United Kingdom which of course we have been working assiduously to make sure it will be successful.'

Asked what has become of some of the court cases against ex-governors and ongoing investigations of some Politically Exposed Persons, Lamorde said the EFCC was still pursuing them.

He said in six months, some of the serving governors would  lose their immunity to enable them face prosecution.

Said he: 'As I said, these investigations are ongoing. You don't arrest unless you have concluded the investigation and you are ready to go to court, or there is an evidence you want to get by effecting that arrest.

'On the  issue of immunity, in less than six months from now, the immunity will be gone, and not only those that are in office, even those who have left office.' The Nation