lamurdeSince the Senate Committee on Ethics and Privileges Committee commenced probe of a petition by one Dr. George Uboh, accusing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde, of fraudulently diverting over N1 trillion, being funds recovered from several individuals, including the former Governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha and former Police Inspector General, Tafa Balogun, the boss of the anti-graft agency has failed to totally debunk the allegations.
Dr. Uboh, who is an anti-corruption crusader and Chief Executive Officer of Panic Alert Security System, PASS, in the petition to both President Muhammadu Buhari and the Senate, alleged that Lamorde started hiding away these funds from 2003 when he was the Director of Operations of the EFCC till now that he is the chairman of the commission.
According to Dr. Uboh, “EFCC confirmed that several cheques and drafts valued at N1,577,815,942 and $1.3 million seized and forfeited by DSP Alamieyeseigha were deposited in the commission’s recovery account.
“An agent appointed to manage and dispose six real estate property forfeited by Alamieyeseigha, confirmed that N1.9 billion was remitted to EFCC between 2008 and 2009 as proceeds from the sales and interests from the property.
“The agent confirmed remitting N60 billion vide Intercontinental Bank draft in 2008 as balance of rent while N3.7 billion was confirmed by the EFCC as the amount received from Alamieyeseigha seized assets.”
According to the petitioner, the EFCC traded with N3.7 billion from March 2009 to February 2010 with 12 per cent interest per annum, alleging that Lamorde failed to remit the interest of N1.1 billion to government, the sum which contains the N467.7million interest gotten from the actual N3.7 billion that was used to trade with.
“EFCC continued to trade with the balance of N1.1 billion from January 2010 to October 2013 with the interest rate of 12 per cent per annum. This money yielded N474.2 million which should have accrued to Bayelsa State government but EFCC is not only keeping it, but is still trading with it,” he added.
Uboh, who also alleged that Lamorde failed to account for 95 per cent of offshore assets and funds, said, “EFCC declared a fraction of what was seized from DSP.”
The naira recovery, he alleged, was different from offshore recoveries, adding, “in a December 02, 2011 letter, EFCC sent to the chairman, House Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes, it stated that the aggregate recoveries from 2004 to 2011 was N1.3 trillion. EFCC did not mention where the N1.3 trillion recovered was remitted to.”
Uboh zeroed in on what the EFCC recovered, explaining that former EFCC chair, Farida Waziri told the then President, Goodluck Jonathan that naira recovery was N1.9 trillion, while offshore recoveries stood at $316.1 million, €32.1 million and £1.2 million respectively, adding that Lamorde should have remitted N2.051 trillion to government.
“EFCC diverted and concealed N779 million of recoveries from Tafa Balogun in its record (aggregate should be N3.037 billion and not N2.258 billion).
“Instead of transferring N3.3 billion from Spring Bank to its Access Bank recovery account, EFCC transferred only N2.2 billion and concealed it by understating the summation of the balances in the various accounts hence the Access bank statement had N2.2 billion after concealment,” he alleged.
“EFCC would be compelled to pay Bayelsa the remittable amount due now with interest and the commission should be compelled to declare all offshore assets and funds seized from DSP and others.
“EFCC should be compelled to remit N2.051 trillion to the Federal Government while Access Bank should be forced to bring complete and unadulterated statements from 2004 till date.
“Aminu Ibrahim and co, auditors of the EFCC, should be compelled to come and shed light on the discrepancies.”
The failure of Lamorde to personally honour the invitation of the Senate to defend himself has turned the searchlight on him as more Nigerians are now demanding that he come out clean on the allegations leveled against him by Dr. Obuh.
The main defense Lamorde has provided so far, which Nigerians say falls short of the comprehensive response they are expecting from him, was aired by the BBC in an interview he granted the foreign media.
Lamorde was reported to have denied allegations saying Nigerians should not take it seriously because it was a smear campaign, as the EFCC was prosecuting the man making the allegations.
He told the BBC, “This showed that the case should not be taken seriously” and stressed that even if all the money recovered by the EFCC was added up, together with its funding from government, it would not total the alleged missing amount. How can we divert an amount we don’t have?” he asked.
He added that the exact figures of seized assets were in the process of being audited by a reputable firm.
“We want to have a comprehensive report that could stand the test of time… from the day the commission was created in April 2003 to date… so that we can put it in [a] public space and any person who has issues with that can challenge it.”
Lamorde’s response did not receive any applause from Nigerians who are demanding that the EFCC chairman should be specific on which government account recovered loots were paid into.
Granted that Lamorde took complete charge of EFCC from November 2011 after the exit of Farida Waziri, Nigerians are asking that if he cannot give account of funds recovered by the agency during the tenure of his predecessors, he should at least be able to give account of his stewardship since he came into office about four years ago.
This is the only way Lamorde can reassure Nigerians that looted funds that were recovered on his watch were not again re-looted into private bank accounts.
The report of President Buhari’s Transition Committee headed by Ahmed Joda, indirectly indicted Lamorde, who is supposed to keep corruption at bay, as he told Mr. President that corruption was pervasive everywhere he turned in the course of preparing his report for the President.
Ahmed Joda said, “We saw corruption everywhere” despite the huge amount that is spent on the anti-corruption agency to detect, prosecute corrupt officials, recover funds looted by corrupt officials and also prevent funds from being looted by corrupt or potentially corrupt officials.
Also, Lamorde has not been able to exculpate himself from the grievous allegation against him which suggests that he is selective in the treatment of petitions submitted to the Commission based his personal relationships and how powerful the suspects are.
Issues of some recovered choice property that were seized by EFCC from corrupt individuals and allegedly handed over to relations and friends of the EFCC boss, have not been cleared by Lamorde.
In a bid to restore the EFCC’s credibility, Nigerians have called on Lamorde not to wait for the Senate or any probe panel before he goes public with his response on every issue that has been raised by his traducers.


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