EFCC Reacts to Senate Allegation that Top Officials Shared 222 Assets Recovered by Maina
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has reacted to its indictment by the Nigerian Senate on Thursday for allegedly sharing about 222 assets recovered from pension thieves.
An ad-hoc committee of the senate set up to probe the controversial reinstatement of former Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abdul-Rasheed Maina, had on Thursday given an interim report indicting the EFCC and asked for more time to further investigate the agency.
Chairman of the committee, Senator Emmanuel Paulker, said the committee found that the assets kept in the custody of the EFCC were re-looted and shared by top officials at EFCC.
The EFCC in its reaction later on Thursday through a statement issued by its spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren however said:
“This sweeping allegation, coming from a Senate Committee is disturbing more so as no attempt was made to verify the information from the Commission. The EFCC was never invited by the Committee and given the opportunity to educate it on the status of assets seized from suspected pension thieves; yet the Committee was comfortable to scandalize the EFCC with the public disclosure of unverified claims by unknown interests”.
“For the avoidance of doubt, there are no 222 properties anywhere that were shared by anybody. The EFCC did not receive a single property from Abdulrasheed Maina”.
“All the pension fraud assets that are in the recovered assets inventory of the Commission were products of independent investigation by the EFCC, for which Maina and his cohorts had no clues. If Maina or any government official witnessed the sharing of any recovered pension assets by any official of the EFCC, they should be willing to name the official, the assets involved; when and where the ‘sharing’ took place,” Uwujaren said.
The EFCC spokesman also stressed that as far as the agency was concerned, there was no controversy regarding the status of assets recovered from suspected pension thieves as the record of all the recovered assets from both the Police Pension and the Pension Office of the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation had been communicated to the relevant organs of government.
Paulker had on Thursday stated that the task force led by Maina worked with the EFCC, ICPC, DSS, police and paramilitary agencies who executed the recoveries and thereafter, the EFCC took over custody of the recovered assets as it had statutory powers to impound and take custody of assets.
It will be recalled that the senate on different occasions refused to confirm the appointment of the EFCC acting chairman, Ibrahim Magu, citing reports that indicted Magu of failing to live above board as required of his office and acquiring assets outside the country under questionable circumstances.
Magu’s predecessor, Ibrahim Lamorde was also forced out of office amidst accusations that he misappropriated funds recovered by the anti-graft agency.
The new development may be expected to lead to a new war of words between the senate and the EFCC which has possibly begun with the agency’s reaction published by The Nation. It therefore remains to be seen what steps the senate will be taking when Paulker’s committee submits its final report.