EFCC wans politicians: Don’t use us for your political propaganda

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has warned Politicians
to desist from attempting to use the agency as a tool to fight their
opponents during this election period. In a statement released this
morning, the EFCC said in recent weeks it has received overwhelming
petitions from politicians against their opponents alleging financial
impropriety. The EFCC says even though it is important for citizens to
be whistle blowers, they should not wait till election time.

Find the statement below It is another
season of politics. With the general elections fast approaching,
politicians of all hue are traversing the country in desperate bid to
woo the electorates for their votes. Such is the beauty of democracy
which is founded on healthy contest with the electorate as the ultimate
decider. Unfortunately, not all the actors in our nation’s political
arena understand the rudiments of a free electoral contest.

For some category of politicians, elections are nothing short of
open warfare where any weapon that can swing the tide in their favour is
fair. It does not matter whether such weapons deviate from the
acceptable norm. In recent weeks the Economic and Financial Crimes
Commission, EFCC, has been alarmed by reports in a section of the media,
accusing it of failure to act on certain petitions supposedly sent to
it through the pages of the newspapers.

According to the petitioners, the Commission’s failure to act had
reduced their chances of success in the political arena. While it is
puzzling how the Commission’s action or inaction could confer political
advantage on any aspirant, it is important to educate petition writers
that the EFCC have standard operating procedures, which clearly state
the irreducible minimum standards which officers must uphold in
evaluating petitions for investigation. Where petitions fall short of
such standards, the EFCC is not obliged to proceed.

The Commission wishes to sound a note of warning to politicians not
to attempt to use it as a tool for political warfare, In recent weeks,
the EFCC has received many frivolous petitions alleging high crimes
against leading political figures. Some of them came from the opponents
of such individuals. While it is important for citizens to be whistle
blowers, it amounts to self help to attempt to instigate the EFCC
against a political opponent. Citizens do not have to wait until
election time to report alleged financial malfeasance.

It is equally important that members of the public realize that it
is an offence under the EFCC Establishment Act to write false petitions
or supply misleading information to the Commission. Also, the trend
where persons engage in acts of criminality and attempt to blackmail the
EFCC from going after them by imputing political motives to the
Commission’s enforcement activities is most unfortunate. Nobody is above
the law.

The fact that a politician is the standard bearer of any political
party for any political office does not amount to immunity from
investigation or prosecution for any acts of criminality. The core
mandate of the EFCC is fighting all forms of economic and financial
crimes. Crimes of this nature have no political or religious

It is therefore important that Nigerians, indeed all stakeholders,
appreciate that the Commission has a responsibility to take on all
perpetrators of economic and financial crimes irrespective of their
political, ethnic and religious affiliations.

 The point which all stakeholders need to take to heart is that the
Commission is a professional organization which will resist any attempts
to, overtly or surreptitiously, drag it into the political arena ahead
of, during or after the forthcoming general elections.

We appreciate the sentiments which all the political leaders have
expressed about strengthening the anti corruption institutions. That is
the way to go. If anything, it shows there is a common ground in the
understanding that fighting corruption in Nigeria is a national
emergency and distracting agencies saddled with such responsibility is
hardly an incentive for addressing the emergency.

13th January, 2015

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