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Author Name: Murya Lema
Number of articles: 3
It is absolutely imperative to, as a matter of fact, save Nigeria's public from falling into the tricks... (0) Comment

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NPA contracts and the EFCC's Hypocrasy
Author: Murya Lema | January 20, 2010

It has now become a common knowledge, the rampant interference made by the anti graft agency, the EFCC, in the activities of some government agencies in this country, jumping from its original duty of being a watchdog as the main thrust of its operation. This attitude attracts a lot of negative reactions and challenges as to competence of the incumbent chairman, Frida Waziri. These attacks debuts from different quarters including the international organizations. This is because, apart from becoming a watch dog in assuring sanity, transparency and accountability as par as the financial transactions and activities are concerned in both private and public organizations in this country, EFCC doesnât have any stake as to how the organizations and other governmental agencies run their affairs. Therefore rating Nigeria low recently by the Transparency International, may not be unconnected with this attitude of the anti corruptions agencies such as the EFCC of making a u-turn from anti corruption to fully corrupt agencies. EFCC shamelessly participated in a kangaroo payment committee of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, which supposed to be dissolved for long, being an adhoc one. The committee named, âNPA/EFCC JOINT COMMITTEE ON PAYMENT, OUTSTANDING CONTRACT BILLS FOR THE PERIOD 2001 â 2003â which does not hesitate to invite contractors that were supposed to be paid long ago, but for EFCCâs unwarranted interference, their hard earned monies were held till this time around. This situation costs a lot of them many loses, ranging from high interest rate build up, close of business due to tied capital and many more. Even though, the committee was named âJointâ, but does not specify the role the EFCC was to play and the reasons of becoming a party to paying the already scared and intimated contractors. As I already stated the legality of the committee was questionable, the EFCCâs present too was suspicious, but to those who do not know. In the first place, these are contracts, if I could remember upon which Bode George and others were convicted in a court of law by one Justice Oyewole of a Lagos High Court, for âcontract splittingâ and âLawful Order Disobedienceâ. They are indeed, because the charges were on contracts awarded between the year 2001 and 2003, the same period the committee announced for contracts to be paid. This obviously shows that, the contracts were legally awarded as against the purported allegation of splitting and lawful order disobedience. Secondly, it clearly indicates that the contracts were of mutual benefit to the NPA in particular, and the nation as a whole. It further proves that, those allegations leveled against the Bode and others are baseless, untrue and found to be an attempt to politically ruin the support these gentlemen massively enjoyed. If not, why paying the contractors? By virtue of the constitution, as we know, it is the duty of the Finance Ministry to verify payments such as these, not EFCC even if we are being made to agree that it is there for verification. Federal Ministry of Finance should therefore quickly take over, other wise, some other forms of financial impropriety might get a space considering some disgraceful attitudes of the EFCC in the process. Secondly, the contractors have exhibited a lackadaisical attitude that assist the EFCC in making unnecessary deductions from their hard earned incomes. This is by deducting illegally 35% of the contract sum, claiming that the contracts were inflated to that tune. One may therefore ask, were these contracts awarded verbally without any form of awarding letter? If not, why on earth would they allow some mischievous individuals make these unwarranted deductions? Is the allegation that the contracts were inflated true, even though Justice Oyewole himself did not agree with that accusation during his judgement? Allowing this kind of injustice to go scot-free without any challenge, is in fact what builds stronger corruption than expected. You people are now telling the whole world that you are guilty of a crime by virtually keeping quite on this issue. There is a saying, Silence is Acceptance. Thirdly, Justice Oyewole supposed to be invited into that committee to accomplish the mission behind that judgement of his to the last. He did their own wish, but the EFCC ignored him when it comes to collecting its service fee of 10% of the contract sum. This is, but nothing, the reason why EFCC struggled vehemently and smuggled itself into the kangaroo payment committee, an action that clearly confirms the suspicion the general public has on the extra judicial activities, this anti graft agency involved itself in, more especially on issues that are at parallel with its duties and functions. If not, why is EFCC in that committee? This indicates clearly, how the anti graft agency has turned itself into executing a function entirely different from its original duty of fighting financial crimes and corruption, to a newly decorated home for corruption, settling scores, witch hunting perceived government enemies, contracts 10% negotiation etc., through a wide spread of extra judicial activities and power abuse. Many Nigerians, have since become victims of the EFCCâs extra judicial activities. Ranging from unfounded allegations, unsubstantiated evidences, unwarranted claims, unordered arrests, uncleared accusations etc., all in the name of fighting financial crimes and corruption. While on the other hand, I can attest in my personal opinion that, there is no agency as corrupt as EFCC in nowadays Nigeria. The least reason I can advance is that, it over uses its powers and intentionally scared individuals and organizations and extort huge amount of money through that process. An activity such as these being executed by the EFCC indicates that, lack of transparency and accountability eroded the legitimacy of the agency. Many of the biggest investigations that are supposed to be pursued instead, have been dropped, while the agency has been completely discredited and turned into an instrument of corruption. Under Farida Waziri, the agency pursues at best a dozen cases only with the permission of the presidency, most of which are political prosecutions. It is a tremendous disappointment for both Nigeriaâs citizens as well as international partners, to see these institutions of justice become overrun by incompetence and graft. Let me finally call on the authorities concerned, the Federal Government, the Senate and House committees in charge of EFCC, whom I think are not aware of the presence of all these image denting activities, to as a matter of urgency, look into the allegations being made into the agency of aiding the growth of financial crimes and corruption, rather than fighters instead, so that the image of the whole country be saved and corruption be reduced to the barest minimum, other wise the public will be left under the molestation of the undesirable elements under the cover of fighting corruption within the society.

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