Feb 16, 2012 – There is corruption in EFCC – Ibrahim Lamorde
The new Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, told the Senate on Wednesday that there were corrupt officials in the anti-graft agency.
Lamorde, while appearing before the Senate’s committee of the Whole House to defend his appointment by President Goodluck Jonathan, said the commission’s operatives were indeed involved in corrupt practices in their handling of corruption cases.
He said, “There is this perception that there is corruption in the agency, I want to tell you that to some extent that is correct. Since I assumed office as the Acting Chairman, I have been trying to address some of the issues.
“As I speak to you, we have three of our personnel that are in detention for acts that are unacceptable by the standards of our anti corruption agency. We have also initiated prosecution against two other officers. The cases are in court.”
Lamorde’s appointment was confirmed by the Senate. He has been heading the anti-corruption commission since his predecessor, Mrs. Farida Waziri, was sacked last November.
” We have asked him very deep questions and from the answers we got from him, we want to give him the benefit of doubt that he will perform and that the EFCC will do precisely what the Act has tasked them to do. At the end of the day, the country will be better off,” President of the Senate, David Mark, said in his remarks while confirming the appointment of the EFCC boss.
To tackle cases of corruption in the agency under his watch, Lamorde told the Senate that he had embarked on internal rearrangement to revamp the image of the commission.
He said, “Going forward, I have decided to establish an internal affairs department and the department of professional standards whereby every employee of the commission, including myself, will be vetted at entry into the agency and also periodically to see whether one’s lifestyle is commensurate with one’s income and if somebody is having a lifestyle that is unacceptable to the agency.
“I have decided to introduce a polygraph test for everybody. We are going to acquire machine and ask all of our staff to undergo polygraph test. There is no way an agency like the EFCC can go out and perform its functions when people out there are of the perception that corruption also has infested the commission.”
Lamorde also spoke on the need to strengthen existing anti-corruption agencies instead of establishing new ones. He however supported the establishment of a special court to ease the burden on regular courts dealing with corruption cases.
He said, “Considering our resources, I think what may be necessary is to strengthen existing agencies, to give them the tools to carry out their mandate. If we can do that and if all the agencies are doing what they should do, it will minimise corruption in our national life.
“The reason for the clamour for special courts for certain cases has to do with the processes of law. Judges have corrupt cases and other cases to attend to, but if we have special courts for corruption cases, it would facilitate the process. I don’t think it will be too much to ask that a special court be dedicated to corruption cases.”
According to him, the merger of the EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission is not necessary as both agencies could operate separately to curtail corruption in the country.
He however added that the EFCC was gathering intelligence on the management of the scheme.
Lamorde noted that the commission and the police often swapped cases of corruption, depending on the nature of the cases and the agency which stood a better chance of tackling the case.
On the controversial exit of the pioneer Chairman of the EFCC, Nuhu Ribadu, Lamorde noted that actions against him were taken as a result of his position as a police officer and not as the chairman of the EFCC.
He also noted that the list of politicians drawn by the commission was meant to serve as an advisory list to politicians that might need to examine the candidates before fielding them for elections.
On former Vice-President, Abubakar Atiku, he said, “This list that most people say suggested that the commission was being used by the then President (Olusegun Obasanjo) to go after his perceived enemies, I know people made mention about the matter involving the former Vice-President; what has not been said is that that matter involving the Petroleum Trust Development Fund was not initiated by the EFCC.
“It was a mutual legal assistance request from the United States; and as a responsible country and government we are bound to respond to the request by other judicial authorities with which we have bilateral agreements. It was triggered by an investigation of a member of Congress, William Jefferson, who is in jail and he said he had an associate in Nigeria and that was how the investigation started.” (punchng)
He said the commission had changed the method of over dramatisation of arrest of corruption suspects, noting that “such things no longer occur. We have changed that and I assure you it will not occur again.”