The immediate past Governor of Katsina State, Alhaji Ibrahim Shema, has criticised the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for declaring him wanted over an alleged N76bn fraud.
In a letter addressed to the chairman of the commission, Ibrahim Magu, the ex-governor said it was untrue that he refused to honour the invitation since December last year. He said he was invited by the EFCC in June this year and he had to cancel his trip to Saudi Arabia to honour the invitation.
Shema said on getting to the Abuja office of the EFCC, he was informed by the anti-graft agency that the detective in charge of his case was not in town and the EFCC failed to reschedule.
He said, “Without any formal invitation to me, the EFCC purported, by a letter dated June 17, 2016, sent to a wrong address of Wole Olanipekun & Co. asking the law firm to make Dr. Ibrahim Shehu Shema available for an interview with the undersigned on Tuesday, June 28, 2016.The letter was signed by Hyecinth A. Edozie.
“Despite the incongruity in the way and manner the invitation was extended to me through a counsel – and also through a wrong address of the same counsel, and notwithstanding the fact that I was already billed to travel to Saudi Arabia for the lesser hajj (Umrah) on the appointment day, I cancelled all the engagements to honour the invitation with my counsel on the said June 28, 2016, only to be informed, around 10am on that day that the interview would no longer hold, as Mr. Hyecinth A. Edozie was out of Abuja, and that a new date, after Sallah, would be communicated.”
Shema said his lawyer wrote a letter to the EFCC on June 28, 2016 addressed to Edozie and copied the acting chairman of the EFCC
The letter was delivered, received, stamped and duly acknowledged at the EFCC office on the same day June 28, 2016.
“To date, the EFCC has not responded to the said letter, suggesting any date,” he said.
The former governor said he was therefore shocked to read in the newspapers on September 15 that he had been declared wanted by the EFCC.
He also accused the EFCC of being used by his successor, Governor Bello Masari, who is a member of the All Progressives Congress.
He said, “As a senior citizen of this country, a legal practitioner of 32 years post-call experience, and a two-time Governor of Katsina State, I not only feel seriously embarrassed, disturbed, surprised and confounded by the report sponsored by EFCC, but also feel sorry for our dear country.
“I feel sorry for the pitiable situation we have found ourselves as Nigerians where and when a sacred institution like the EFCC is pressurised and used to sponsor fake, false, malicious, misleading and unfounded allegations against someone like me, who the EFCC has not at any time accused of fraud, embezzlement, inflation of contract, or any misdemeanour at all.
“The EFCC deliberately embarked on false propaganda against me and my person by positing that I have ignored several invitations which it extended to me.”