Could it be true that Abubakar Malami, the Hon. Attorney General and Minister of Justice may be connected to moves to frustrate anti-corruption investigations across the country?
No one is sure.
But the substance of a leaked audio tape which has revealed the voice of a police officer, seconded to the EFCC in a conversation with another person, suggests that the learned Silk who has been embroiled in controversies of late might be exerting a measure of undue influence and control in the way the anti graft agency is handling ongoing corruption cases.
Irked by the content of the leaked audiotape that has gone viral, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Thursday ordered an investigation to unravel the basis of a recorded claim by one of its operatives linking the name of the Minister to the suppression of corruption cases.
Wilson Uwajuren, spokesman for the EFCC who condemned Idris “without prejudice” to ongoing investigations revealed that the agency has embarked on an inquiry.
“The attention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC”, the statement said, “has been drawn to a trending audio tape in the social media, where Mohammed Idris, a lawyer and seconded police officer with the commission, purportedly made unsubstantiated claims regarding the influence of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, on the commission.”
The statement further stated, “The commission wishes to state that it has commenced investigation into the content of the audio tape and will activate its internal mechanism to deal with the issues arising therefrom.
”For the avoidance of doubt, the EFCC does not condone acts of corruption. Abuse of privilege for financial gratification by personnel of the commission is a serious offence against discipline.”
”Without prejudice to the outcome of the investigation” Uwajuren noted, “snippets of the audio recording clearly showed an abysmally compromised “officer” dropping names to ingratiate his benefactor, a relative of a crime suspect.”
“By the alleged action, the said officer is no more than a corrupt fifth columnist with scant regard for the values of the commission.
“The action is contemptuous of the established Standard Operating Procedure of the EFCC. Such professional indiscretion has no place in the new EFCC.
“The commission encourages citizens who encounter any such unprofessional conduct by personnel of the EFCC to report to the commission in support of our quest to build a better agency.”
According to the EFCC, “Reporting such conducts has been made easy by the Eagle Eye App, a financial crimes reporting application which was launched earlier in the year.
“We encourage members of the public to download the App from the Apple and Google Play Store and put it to use.
”Finally, the commission wishes to assure the public that its operations are guided by established professional precepts which do not support the kind of discretion that could allow for manipulation by external actors.”
Sahara Reporters, an online publication reports that “Idris, who is a lawyer, was also heard giving Yusuf’s brother hints on how to defeat the anti-graft commission at the Court of Appeal.”
It quoted Idris as saying, “If he has money in any account linked with his BVN (Bank Verification Number), he should quickly evacuate them. And if he makes transfers, EFCC will still trace it. He should only withdraw and then deposit into another account,” he had said.
“Malami now controls the EFCC. The commission is in his hands. Once Malami speaks, the account will be unfrozen. They are unfreezing suspects’ accounts, including the big cases,” the EFCC operative was heard saying on the audio tape.
“What a country we have!”, a lawyer told the Port Harcourt Telegraph in Port Harcourt, “it is good that the EFCC has launched an investigation into the matter. Nigerians would wait for the outcome.
“It is becoming increasingly commonplace to accuse Attorneys General of the federation of undue interference in the handling of corruption cases. Malami will not be the first”, the lawyer added.
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