2011: EFCC TO BAR CORRUPT POLITICIANS

POLITICIANS standing trial for alleged corruption will not be allowed to contest next year’s elections, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said Thursday.

Besides, the anti-graft agency will work with other security outfits to ensure effectiveness of the war against corruption and stop the participation of suspected rogues in politics.

EFCC chair Mrs. Farida Waziri, who spoke Thursday in Abuja while receiving the boss of the Code of Conduct Bureau, Mr. Sam Saba, said the agency’s action is backed by law.

Although she did not mention names, some former governors standing trial for alleged corruption are Orji Uzor Kalu (Abia); Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa); Rashidi Ladoja (Oyo); Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu) and Boni Haruna (Adamawa). There are also many ex-ministers and other elected public officials.

Mrs. Waziri noted that she would be faced with huge challenges to implement the decision, saying: “One of such challenges will surely come during the forthcoming elections when some corrupt elements will want to deploy illicit funds to gain access to public offices, we are ready for them; we are watching and waiting. This has been our responsibility as contained in our establishment and the Money ‘Laundering Act and we will not shirk away from it.

“I have told our operatives that we will all have to justify the huge investments of the nation and foreign support for us through proactive measures and in our operations. “We have no nation other than Nigeria and, as such, all hands must be on deck to ensure that the nation is better and greater than we met it.

This responsibility is not solely for us as agencies of government but that of the entire citizenry.”

Asked if the EFCC and other agencies have the legal backing to prevent parties from presenting suspected corrupt elements from contesting election, Mrs Waziri said: “Legally, I will say we are empowered to look into this issue.

“Even though in the law court, someone is not convicted until after the trial but we know that some of these elements are responsible for the cases being stalled in court and for obvious reasons.

“You see, if we are to work in concert, I mean if there is cooperation among the police, the Code of Conduct Bureau, the State Security Services and the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC), there is no way corrupt persons would be fielded.

“We would be networking and pass information. And then based on security reports, these elements could be checked.

“So you can imagine what is happening. How do we allow these people to come back and say that they are going to be the leaders, the world will laugh at us,” she said.

She added: “So, we will use the issue that they have a pending case and that they are standing trial for obvious reasons and we are not going to allow them.

‘I have seen some of them producing posters and their hand bills, we will see how they will work that one out. It is not fair, it is not just fair. Some of the cases are internationally known, assets have been seized in the United States (US), United Kingdom (UK) and you come up to say that you want to be a senator or a governor. It does not just work like that. We should not make ourselves laughing stock.

“If you have conscience, you should be happy. If you are innocent, when we charge you to court, you should be happy to go and clear your name once and for all. Instead, you get these lawyers, mostly Senior Advocates of Nigeria, and they know what to do. They dilly-dally, they challenge jurisdiction of the court, even though they know the High Court has one jurisdiction. They go to the Court of Appeal to ask for stay of proceedings.

“It is only in Nigeria that I have heard of perpetual injunction. And some go to court that they should not be investigated or invited by the EFCC. This is a mockery of the system. It is only here that people feel they can get away with murder. And most times they do. We hope and pray that things will not continue that way. And the only way is that we should elect men of integrity whose words are their bond and who will have the interest of Nigeria and the Nigerian people at heart. Not those who will come and receive bribe.”

The CCB chairman said: “Although anti-corruption war is very difficult to wage, it is not difficult to win. We have decided to partner with the three anti-corruption agencies more than we have ever done. That is why I was telling the EFCC that we want to come and sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).”

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