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Tuesday, July 19

Ex-governors under probe plant spies in EFCC

Ex-governors under probe plant spies in EFCC

Former state governors are plotting to infiltrate the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission by influencing the postings of some security operatives, who once worked with them during their tenure as governors, to the anti-graft agency.

Majority of the former governors are either currently undergoing investigations or had been arraigned by the anti-graft agency for alleged corruption.

The former governors, it was gathered, having failed to get the commission to either drop the cases against them or to frustrate the cases in courts, had come up with another strategy to make sure that they got hold of key aspects of the commission.

It was learnt that the ex-states’ chief executive officers had started lobbying the police authorities and the Police Service Commission to post their former police aides to the EFCC as investigators.

The Acting Chairman of the commission, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, was said to have been surprised to discover that a former Aide-De-Camp to an ex-governor from a North-Central, who is undergoing trial for alleged corruption, was working at a sensitive position in the commission.

The aide, a Superintendent of Police (name withheld), was posted to the commission and was made an investigator.

When Magu was said to have learnt of the officer’s past, and since his immediate boss was undergoing trial for alleged corruption, the chairman was said to have ordered that the affected officer be transferred to the Police for reassignment.

Though the operative was not queried for any misconduct, the commission was said to have been worried that the police officer could be used by his immediate boss to truncate the case against him.

A very reliable officer at the commission said, “The commission was surprised to know that such officer, who was just leaving such a position, would find his way to such a sensitive post.

“There’s no way your former boss, whom you have probably been loyal and still loyal to, could be undergoing trial for corruption and you will help in nailing him.

“That’s why we have to send the officer packing and we have no regret in doing that.”

Because of the discovery, it was gathered that the commission was planning an overhaul of its investigators by carrying out discreet investigations about their past.

“We are investigating them in order to make sure that our officers and investigators are above board and have nothing to do with those being prosecuted or investigated for now,” a source at the commission said.

One of our correspondents gathered on Monday that the anti-graft agency was working on the theory that since there were many former governors still being tried by the EFCC, many of the accused persons might have influenced the postings of their loyalists, especially security operatives, to the commission.

It was learnt that the agency, after detecting the SP planted by a former governor of one of the states in the North-Central, had begun discrete investigations into its operatives, with a view to uncovering some who might have been used to infiltrate the agency by suspected looters.

Meanwhile, the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal will, in October, after resuming from its annual vacation, hear the appeals filed by Senate President Bukola Saraki and a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.).

While Saraki is challenging his trial before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Dasuki had instituted a suit at the Federal High Court, Abuja, in connection with his trial for alleged money laundering and illegal possession of firearms.

The Justice Abdu Aboki-led five-man panel of the appeal court on Monday fixed October 6 for hearing in Saraki’s case.

The panel, however, said it would fix hearing date for Dasuki’s appeal after the Court of Appeal resumed from its annual vacation late September, when all the processes in respect of the cases, should have been filed.

When the appeal by Saraki was called on Monday, his lawyer, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), urged the court to adjourn the case till after vacation so that the justices would not have to be bothered about writing a judgment during their vacation, beginning next week.

Counsel for the prosecution, the respondent in the appeal, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), opposed the application for adjournment, saying he was ready to proceed with the hearing subject to the convenience of the panel members.

He said with Monday making the third time Saraki’s lawyers would ask for adjournment in the hearing of the appeal, it would be in the interest of justice to stop granting the appellant the indulgence of further adjourning the case.

Jacobs, however, agreed to the adjournment after he saw that the Justice Aboki–led panel was more disposed to hearing the appeal after the court’s vacation.

The lawyers to the parties later agreed on October 6 for the hearing.

Saraki is being prosecuted before the CCT on 16 counts of false and anticipatory declaration of assets which he allegedly made between 2003 and 2011 when he served as Governor of Kwara State.

Saraki is, by his appeal, challenging the jurisdiction of the CCT to try him, on many grounds, including that he was not invited by the Code of Conduct Bureau to deny or clarify the discrepancies in the asset declaration forms before he was charged before the CCT.

Dasuki, on his part, appealed against the ruling of Justice Adeniyi Ademola of a Federal High Court in Abuja, dismissing his complaint that his detention was a violation of the ruling of the court granting him bail.

Dasuki is being prosecuted before the Federal High Court on four counts of illegal possession of firearms and money laundering.

Before adjourning the case, the court granted an application moved by Dasuki’s lawyer, Mr. Adedayo Adedeji, for the regularisation of his client’s appellant’s brief of argument.

The court struck out the respondent’s brief filed by the prosecution following an application by its lawyer, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, to withdraw it.

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