1st June, 2011
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Wednesday accused the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, CDHR, of compromise in the struggle for the enthronement of a better Nigeria.
The accusation was made at a media briefing where the EFCC pointedly alleged that leaders of the group had offered their platform to fight a proxy war by defending a high profile suspect in a case of fraud which the agency is currently investigating.
This latest development followed an earlier alert made by the anti-graft agency, on the fraudulent antics of some groups to defend someone who has been in a battle of wits with the agency.
Some leaders of the CDHR, according to the EFCC, have already come out as key actors in the unfolding drama of compromise meant to malign the leadership of the agency.
According to Mr. Femi Babafemi, the image maker of the agency, â€œbarely 24 hours after the EFCC alerted the nation that some elements hiding under the cloak of civil rights groups had been heavily paid by a high profile suspect in a corruption case we are currently investigating, one of the masquerades has come to the open to dance naked.â€
He added that some compromised leaders of the CDHR have mobilised some civil society groups in the guise of holding an anti-corruption forum to blackmail the present leadership of the EFCC.
â€œMany of the groups and persons that have been invited to the forum certainly do not know the motivating force propelling the brains behind the forum. Since deceit has been employed by the organisers of this forum to lure other good intentioned groups and individuals to rubber stamp their pre-determined agenda, we believe we have a responsibility to further inform the public especially sincere members of the civil society community that the elements behind the forum are nothing but hired hands who are taking advantage of the good reputation built over the years for CDHR by the likes of Beko Ransome-Kuti, Mrs Ayo Obe and others to line their own pockets.â€
He challenged credible members of the CDHR to investigate the source of the funds some of their compromised cadres are using to convene the Anti-Corruption forum while in the same breath taking them to task to controvert what he termed the momentous achievements of the present leadership of the EFCC.
Babafemi stated that while the Commissionâ€™s record of recoveries stood at about $4 billion in 2008, today it is in excess of $11 billion; while the commission had about 10 high profile cases in court in 2008, today there are over 65 high profile cases at various stages of prosecution in courts; this is in addition to over 1500 other cases in courts with a record of conviction already above 600.
He admonished the CDHR and other civil society groups to demonstrate their zero tolerance for corrupt practices by lending a voice to the clarion call for the establishment of Special Courts to try corruption cases, a crusade the EFCC has been championing since 2008.
On the acquittal of a former governor of Edo State, Chief Lucky Igbinedion by a Federal High Court sitting in Benin City, the EFCC spokesman confirmed the commissionâ€™s readiness to appeal the court ruling.
ByÂ Nnamdi Felix / Abuja