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N1trn scam: House of Reps commences probe of the EFCC without the baggage of the Senate

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N1trn scam: House of Reps commences probe of the EFCC without the baggage of the Senate

Two months ago, the senate launched an investigation of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and its chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde, over allegations by Dr. George Uboh, the chief executive officer of Panic Alert Security Systems, that over one trillion naira recovered from corrupt officials like former Gov. Diepreye Alamieyeseigha and former Police IG Tafa Balogun, were diverted by the commission.

However, not many people took the senate probe seriously because it came only a few weeks after the EFCC invited Toyin Saraki, the wife of the senate president, for questioning over allegations of money laundering. The efforts of the senate were viewed as a power move to make the EFCC back down, and the fact that the senator who pushed for the probe of the EFCC, Sen. Nwaobaoshi, is one of the strongest backers of Saraki in the senate negatively tarred the senate probe.

The senate committee on ethics and privileges headed by Imo senator Sam Anyanwu conducted a hearing in which the petitioner alleged with documentary evidence that the anti graft agency might actually have robbed the nation of N2.051trillion from seized properties and funds of individuals. The story however died down as the senate was bogged down by allegations of vindictiveness. Even though senate spokesman, Dino Melaye, says the probe is ongoing, not much has been heard about it since then.

It appears now that the House of Representatives is ready to take up the challenge and probe the EFCC without the credibility baggage which hindered the senate. In the current assembly leadership, the House seems to be more suited to take up the issue as its leadership does not have corruption allegations dangling over its head unlike the senate leadership. The House has asked its committee on financial crimes to investigate the matter following a motion by Minority Leader Leo Ogor (PDP, Delta), asking that the alleged non-remittance be investigated to ascertain its authenticity.

Ogor in his motion said: “The past and present leadership of the EFCC is being accused of diversion of funds worth billions of naira meant to be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation as stipulated by Section 31 subsection 2 and 3 of the EFCC Act of 2004… By the powers conferred on the House by Section 88(I) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, the House, just like the police and the ICPC can investigate the diversion of funds by Lamorde, past and present leaders of the EFCC.”

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