The decision of the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to probe the Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Lamorde, is creating a division in the Senate as the Unity Forum has declared the move as illegal and unconstitutional.
At the commencement of the probe in the National Assembly yesterday, Lamorde who was represented by the Head of EFCC Media, Wilson Uwujaren, sent a letter to the committee, announcing his inability to attend the meeting and simultaneously requested to be given another date for appearance.
According to the letter, Lamorde was preoccupied with the audit of the commission preparatory towards the submission of EFCC ‘s annual report to the National Assembly as statutorily required. Lamorde therefore said he would be unable to attend the probe meeting until the audit is completed.
After reading the letter, the EFCC resolved to allow Uwujaren take his exit after an initial altercation had ensued between him and the petitioner, George Uboh, Chief Executive of Panic Alert Security Systems (PASS).
Uboh, while testifying before the committee yesterday, had alleged, among others, that over N800 billion of the sum of N1.3 trillion recovered between 2004 and 2011 by the commission was diverted from EFCC account.
According to him, EFCC in a letter to the Senate Committee on Drugs and Narcotics in 2011, reported that the commission recovered N1.3 trillion between 2004 and 2011.
However, he said in another development, EFCC claimed that between 2003 and 2013, it recovered N497 billion, wondering how the recovery between 2004 and 2011 would be higher than recovery between 2003 and 2013.
But Lamorde was not present when these allegations were made to defend himself.
However, hours after the petitioner briefed the committee on his petition, the Senate Unity Forum, a group which pursued the ambition of Senator Ahmad Lawan for Senate Presidency, declared the probe as illegal.
According to a statement signed by the quartet of Senators Ahmad Lawan, George Akume, Abu Ibrahim and Barnabas Gemade, the probe is a breach of Order41(1-3) of the Senate Standing Rules.
According to the statement, when a petition is sent through a senator, the Senate President will be notified of the petition at a plenary and consequently ask the senator to lay the petition before the Senate after which they said it would be referred to the committee for investigation.
“In this regard, nothing of such happened. Senate proceeded on recess on August 13 and it is not on record that the petition of Mr. George Uboh accusing Lamorde of diverting over N1 trillion recovered from some corrupt Nigerians including the former Bayelsa State Governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha and former Inspector General of Police, Tafa Balogun, was presented to Senate in plenary.
“The Senate Unity Forum do support the position earlier adopted by some of our colleagues that the Lamorde probe should be halted as it did not follow due process…We stand against this probe. It is illegal and unconstitutional because it did not follow our rules,” the statement read in part.
Source: This Day