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Alleged N2.3 Trillion Fraud Investigation: Senate Kick EFCC Officials Out Of Chambers

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Some officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) were on Wednesday, August 26, 2015 walked out of the public hearing session of the trillion Naira scam investigation after a petition was filed against the EFCC Chiarman, Ibrahim Lamorde by a certain George Uboh.

The EFCC had earlier sent a request to the Senate, requesting that the hearing be delayed as renowned aidit firm, KPMG was already carrying out an audit of EFCC accounts and would cover the period of stipulated in the petition.

As predicted, Lamorde failed to show up

Leading the EFCC  was the Head of its Legal Services Chile Okoroma, spoke up without prior introduction to the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petition.

Chairman of the Committee, Senator Samuel Anyanwu then sought to know who they (EFCC officials) were and after they had identified themselves, Anyanwu and other members, visibly dissatisfied with their presence especially as Lamorde failed to honour the invitation of the Senate.

Not to be intimidated, Okoroma enthused that  “it is very wrong for a petitioner to be heard publicly in the absence of the person the petition is against.”

An angry member of the committee, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, moved the motion that the EFCC officials be sent out of the session.

He said: .“Mr Chairman, in line with our tradition and relevant rules governing this type of session, since Okoroma and the other EFCC officials here , are not known to have been here in the first place, but decided to be here and even went ahead to start commenting without being administered oath for that purpose, I move that the Chairman walk them out of the session.”

Anyanwu immediately asked the three EFCC officials and other lawyers with them to leave the venue of the hearing.

Undeterred, Okoroma said the committee’s decision to hear the petitioner was illegal and unjustifiable.

He posited thus: “This committee is a committee of the Senate, known as one of the lawmaking institutions in the country but what we are seeing today, is law breaking because it is wrong for a petitioner to be heard in the public in the absence of the person, the entire petition is against.”

They were finally walked out of the venue.

After their exit, the petitioner, Mr. Uboh went on to reel out series of submissions alleging that lamorde and the EFCC may have stolen as much as N2 trillion from seized property and funds.

Uboh went on to allege that Lamorde gave some choice properties recovered from former Bayelsa State Governor, DSP Alamieyesigha and others, to Usman Lamorde, his younger brother.

On Naira recoveries alone, Uboh alleged that “In a December 02, 2011 letter EFCC sent to the Chairman, House Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes, EFCC stated that the aggregate recoveries from 2004 to 2011 (8 financial years) was N1,326,754,554,482:80. EFCC did not mention where the N1.3 Trillion recovered was remitted to. EFCC’s claim that it did not recover up to a Trillion is complete false.”

He went on to give a breakdown as follows:
2004—N7,070,693,130:00
2005—N965,651,737,039:00
2006—N6,622,261,783:79
2007—N7,700,150,381:20
2008—N18,141,628,546:98
2009—N130,885,187,726:83
2010—N52,877,464,867:00
2011—N137,805,431,008:08

Speaking further, Uboh said: In EFCC’s “SUMMARY OF EFCC MONETARY RECOVERIES 2003-MARCH, 2013” (11 financial years), EFCC stated that the aggregate recoveries for eleven financial years is N497,385,427,485:63; EFCC did not mention where the N497.3 Billion recovered was remitted to, going by the following breakdown:

2003—N974,783,213:06
2004—N21,018,557,263:28
2005—N71,053,996,008:60
2006—N8,199,908,189:03
2007—N41,479,032,319:70
2008—N44,542,822,622:30
2009—N255,306,693,033:55
2010—N10,559,513,355:91
2011—N11,117,460,717:88
2012—N27,844,769,688:19
2013—N5,287,891,074:13

Uboh also enthused that the documents being submitted were prepared while Lamorde was chairman of the anti-graft agency, adding that the total recoveries to be remitted, as confirmed by the EFCC are 1.995 Trillion + 48.9 Billion + 7.3 Billion + .4 Billion = N 2.051 Trillion.

He queried how the funds “melted away” after it was recovered.

Uboh also accused Lamorde of doctoring bank accounts and diverted already seized booty.

He said: “Two Access bank recovery account statements tendered herein show Opening balances of -0- as of 1, July 2004, but no transaction occurred until June/July 2008 respectively. These transactions are expunged Where are the funds deposited between July 2004 and June/July, 2008?

“EFCC diverted and concealed N779 Million Naira of recoveries from Tafa Balogun in its record (aggregate should be 3,037,255,521.60 – not 2,258,100,516.98); Instead of transferring 3.3 billion from Spring bank to its Access bank recovery account, EFCC transferred only 2.2 billion and concealed it by understating the summation of the balances in the various accounts hence the access bank statement had 2.2 Billion Naira after the concealment”

While concluding, he urged the committee to make sure the Federal Governmeent recovers the unremitted N2 trillion.

He added: “Access bank should be compelled to bring complete and unadulterated statements from 2004 till date.

“Aminu Ibrahim and co, Auditors, should be compelled to come and shed light on discrepancies in its records and that of the already traced EFCC accounts.”

Senator Anyanwu on his part, said the allegations were weighty and the committee would seriously look into them, adding that they are on a facts-finding mission and not out to run down anybody or agency.

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