Crisis Rocks Senate As PDP Senators Kicks Against Probe Of EFCC Boss

The 8th Senate may be locked in another fresh of crisis as the planned probe of the chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Lamorde, over allegation of diversion of recovered loots has unsettled the upper house.

EFCC

According to The Punch, the line of division in the Senate is between the Senate leadership and the members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the upper chamber. While the leadership of the chamber is in support of the probe, the PDP caucus is against it.

The petition before the Senate alleged that the anti-graft boss diverted N1 trillion that was recovered from Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, former Bayelsa state governor and Tafa Balogun, a former inspector-general of police.

Dr. George Uboh, the chief executive officer of Panic Alert Security Systems who petitioned the Senate through a senator representing his constituency, Peter Nwaoboshi, alleged that EFCC boss, with full knowledge of other officials of the commission, short-changed the federal government in the remittance of funds and properties recovered from Alamieyeseigha and Balogun.

The probe of Lamorde is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, August 26, by the Senate committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions.

But in swift move, the PDP caucus led by Senate minority leader, Godswill Akpabio; his deputy, Emmanuel Bwacha; minority whip; Philip Aduda; and his deputy, Biodun Olujimi, kicked against the planned probe.

In a signed statement, the PDP said: “It has come to the notice of the PDP leadership in the Senate that the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions would begin a public hearing on Wednesday, August 26, 2015 and the committee has invited the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to appear before it.

“The PDP leadership in the Senate is not against any committee of the Senate performing its oversight duties and or functions but we feel that this is not the appropriate time to embark on the most important assignment, particularly since the same action was mooted and had failed at previous plenary session.

“We therefore urge the committee to suspend its public hearing on this particular matter until further notice.

“The PDP senate leadership reassures the Nigerian public of its support for the war against corruption by the Federal Government of Nigeria but hastens to add that such fight against corruption should be total and not selective.

“Nigerians need peace at this period of economic challenges precipitated by the falling of oil prices and actions that will overheat the polity and generate unnecessary friction between the executive and the legislature should be avoided.”

“The PDP senate leadership reassures the Nigerian public of its support for the war against corruption by the Federal Government of Nigeria but hastens to add that such fight against corruption should be total and not selective.

“Nigerians need peace at this period of economic challenges precipitated by the falling of oil prices and actions that will overheat the polity and generate unnecessary friction between the executive and the legislature should be avoided.”

Reacting to the planned probe, the spokesman of EFCC, Eilson Uwujaren, in a statement said that they are not afraid of probe. He described the petition as mischievous ploy intended to drag the name of Larmode and the commission into the mud.

The statement read in part: “The EFCC as an agency that is founded on transparency is not afraid of any ‘probe’ or request for information regarding its activities by individuals, groups or organs of government; so far as such requests followed due process of law.

“Even if the EFCC had not returned a kobo of recovered assets in its 12 years existence in addition to the yearly appropriated funds from the Federation Account, it will be nowhere near a trillion naira.

“It (the petition) was sent, not to the Senate but to a member, Senate Peter Nwaoboshi, a first-term senator from Delta North.

“Under the Senate rules, petitions meant for consideration by the red chamber are sent to the Senate, not to a member of the Senate.

“Also, petitions meant for the Senate are tabled at the plenary, before they are referred to the relevant committees for further consideration. In this instance, the Senate has been on recess and there is no evidence that the so-called petition was considered at plenary and referred to any committee.”

Ibrahim Lamorde was appointed as the EFCC chairman in 2011, after then chairman, Farida Waziri was relieved of her appointment by former president Goodluck Jonathan. He was until his appointment the Director of Operations of the commission.