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Probe Fever: Jittery Efcc Publishes Disclaimer On Ex-nfic Director, Detective

By The Agenda
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Denis Fanto
Reports that the immediate past Director of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Center-NFIC, Barrister Juliet Ibekaku may possibly be the arrow-head of the anti-corruption war of the incoming APC Administration is already sending shivers to the spines of many.

Investigations revealed that the leadership of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission-EFCC, an anti-corruption Agency in Nigeria adjudged the country’s most corrupt public institution in 2013 is one of the jittery Organisations, as the ex-NFIC Director is believed to have a lot of information on the criminal activities that go on in the Commission, having worked in the system.

On Friday, the EFCC bought virtual space on two national daily newspapers, disclaiming Ibekaku, announcing that she is no longer in the Service of the Commission, a publication that attracted outrage from several quarters.

When contacted, Ibekaku declined comments on the matter, but promised to speak at the appropriate time.

Impeccable sources however reveal that the present EFCC leadership is very worried with political developments and suspects that Ibekaku may be in the Panel that will probe the Commission, hence, the decision to discredit her.

Confirming the report, a staff of the Commission, who spoke on the grounds of anonymity, said there is uneasy in the Commission’s headquarters, as the Chairman, Mr. Lamorde is visibly worried about his fate, considering series of shoddy deals he may have been involved in.

“My brother, you should understand the game. Our Chairman is worried. He knows that his days in the Commission are numbered, as those that have been shielding him are all going with the PDP administration. There are so many concerns, as some of the cases are obvious and difficult to cover up. Lamorde is afraid that the former NFIC Director, Barrister Ibekaku, whom he fought out of the Commission, may be in the Panel that may be constituted to probe him. What he has simply done is to see if he can put a question mark on her person, so that when the report of the panel is released and he is indicted, it will look as if it is vengeance. That woman, Ibekaku is Lamorde’s greatest nightmare at the moment.”

It would be recalled that Barrister Ibekaku, while in office, had a battle with Mr. Lamorde, following her move to secure Independence for the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit-NFIU, through an Act of Parliament.

Our findings further show that Ibekaku, in a bid to ensure the strengthening of the legal framework against corruption in Nigeria, initiated various reforms in the anti-corruption sector.

She initiated and drafted the bill to set up the Nigeria financial intelligence center-NFIC in compliance with international standards. While working as the manager for anti-corruption section of the DFID’s Justice for All Programme and as an Advisor to the Attorney-General of the Federation, she also initiated the review of the terrorism bill, the mutual legal assistance bill, and the Proceeds of crime bill.

She is believed to have fallen out of favour with the EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde following her insistence on the operational independence of the NFIC, in conformity with international requirements and standards. EFCC’s major problem with the independence of the NFIC is that the bulk of the foreign donor support that comes to the Commission is simply because of the NFIU, which it houses presently as a Department.

Her office was attacked in November 2013, by the EFCC operatives for insisting that the NFIC must have a legal status and operational independence in order to perform optimally.

She however approached the Court, to challenge what pundits described as gross illegality and criminal intimidation. The matter is still in court.

Since leaving EFCC about two years ago, Ibekaku had long joined politics and contested as Deputy gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the April 11 gubernatorial election in Enugu State, a situation that many see as making the disclaimer suspicious.

The NFIC bill seeks to provide a sustainable and credible legal framework for the Financial Intelligence Center-FIC, Nigeria. The Bill seeks to provide the FIC with operational independence and autonomy, and greater ability to provide financial intelligence to all relevant competent authorities in order to strengthen anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) measures, as is the accepted practice in other jurisdictions.

The NFIC Bill was a subject of controversy, following what pundits describe as “several misconceptions caused by distortion of facts by those opposed to its passage.”

Also affected by the disclaimer is a former investigation officer with the Commission, Barrister Mike Nzekwe, who was allegedly dismissed for his knowledge and attempt to raise a query in a case of alleged bribery in the Pension scam case by one detective Aliyu Habibu Adamu and his brother-in-law, the EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde.

Nzekwe had dragged the Commission to Court and petitioned the authorities over wanton corruption and bribery in EFCC and “wrongful dismissal on account of my knowledge of a case of abuse of office, extortion, bribery in the Pension scam.”

Source: The Agenda ( www.agendang.com )