By Kayode Sesan
EFCC insiders revealed to BREAKING TIMES on Friday that the ordeal of former Head of Service, Mr. Stephen Oronsaye in the hands of the EFCC may not be unconnected to his recommenced merger of the EFCC with other anti-graft agencies. Lamorde, an informed source disclosed to this newspaper, vowed to “deal with” Oronsaye for “daring” to recommend a merger of the EFCC with other similar agencies in the report of the Committee the former Head of Service headed.
Oronsaye was also deemed to have hatched a mission to cripple the EFCC “financially” by pushing for the independence of the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU). This infuriated the Lamorde-led EFCC, which also accused the Oronsaye-led Presidential Committee on Financial Action Task Force (FATF) of undermining the Office of the then Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation by recommending that the secretariat of the NFIU be domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in line with best practices from around other global partners.
The NFIU Link
The EFCC, BREAKING TIMES gathered, is also using the current Director of the NFIU, Francis Usani to peddle unsubstantiated allegations against Oronsaye as a person.
After failing to succeed with Norman Sixth Wokoma and Juliet Ibekaku, Usani’s immediate past predecessors in office, the EFCC has found in Usani a willing to do a yeo man’s job.
When Wokoma refused to “play ball,” the EFCC leadership got him out.
“Ibekaku was forcefully and illegally removed from office and quickly replaced by Francis Usani and Mustapha Abdrahaman in 2013 under the directive of Mr. Larmode and the former Attorney-General of the federation, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke SAN, when she insisted that the NFIU intelligence cannot be used in a selective manner. This is because the Chairman of EFCC wanted her at that time to assist in suppressing intelligence related to ongoing investigations and assets of high-level officials, while at the same time directing his operatives to use the FIU intelligence to harass and intimidate those who have accused the EFCC Chairman of corrupt practices. Although she only advised that the NFIU should be made independent of the EFCC according to international standards and as set out by the FATF recommendations through the enactment of the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Center Act, the AGF approved Larmode’s request to remove her vide several memos, some of them back-dated in a fraudulent manner to achieve the purpose of bringing the NFIU under the control of Mr. Lamorde. The EFCC Chairman also threatened to deal with her by terminating her appointment. The case against her controversial removal is now pending before the Industrial court”, the source disclosed.
Pension Scam Connection
It is on record that the EFCC Chairman also removed another EFCC staff, Mr. Mike Nzekwe for questioning the corruption going on in EFCC and the extortion of money from pension suspects by EFCC officials and Larmode’s brother in-law, Habibu Adamu who is a serving EFCC official.
Mr. Mike had petitioned the Industrial Court on his removal and stated that “Mrs Uzoma Attang is one of the accused persons in the pension scam and in her petition to Mr. Larmode against Habibu Adam of EFCC, she clearly revealed that Mr. Habibu demanded and collected sixty-five million Naira (65,000,000) from her so that the charges against her will be dropped. Mrs. Attang also provided details on how Habibu Adamu collected and disbursed the money and how another pension scam suspect case, Mr. Mike Okoro’s charges were dropped after paying bribe to Habibu Adamu for onward transmission to Mr. Larmorde” an EFCC source told BREAKING TIMES.
If the emerging facts are anything to go by, the EFCC’s case against Mr. Oronsaye may be tantamount simply to an abuse of the rule of law, Jonathan Eze, a public affairs analyst told BREAKING TIMES on Friday.
“Oronsaye’s way out may be eventually rest in the hands of an uncompromising judiciary. The President and the Solicitor-General (in the absence of a Minister of Justice) may also need to intervene by taking away the pension case from EFCC and handing it over to another agency for diligent investigation and prosecution”, Eze said.