AN anti corruption group, the New Initiative for Credible Leadership (NiCReL) has raised the alarm over plots by some indicted directors of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to scuttle the ongoing investigation by the the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Addressing journalists in Abuja, Executive Director of NICReL, Patriot Gabriel Apeh said there is already a distortion of the facts and context such that the entire investigation exercise could be truncated.
He said, “We have, in the course of monitoring development around this saga, discovered that the investigation is already on the way to being jeopardized unless urgent steps are taken to get the perspective right.”
He therefore said the ongoing probe must therefore end in indicted persons being charged to court and convictions secured to act as deterrence for others who think it is okay to steal from the needy.
According to him, the Chairman of the NEMA Board, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo must not cave in to the blackmail by the ex-NEMA DG and the directors that have been indicted for fraudulently skimming off money belonging to Nigeria.
Apeh said attempting to rope in the incumbent Director General, Mustapha Maihaja, is aimed at roping in Professor Osinbajo, as Chairman of the Board, in the belief that he would call off the probe.
He said, “This plot, being executed by staff loyal to the indicted directors, was written as a petition to the various statutory bodies which investigated the activities of the Maihaja led executive of NEMA as Director General. These were all thoroughly investigated by the Board of NEMA and those indicted have been recommended to the EFCC as can be seen by the ongoing trial that many of these agents want to scuttle overnight.
“The over 700 vouchers, contract documents attached to their various petitions in an attempt to hit back at the Director General, Mustapha Maihaja for failing to cover their track is a clear indication that those behind it have unfettered access. Our finding is that the documents were questionably sourced over weekends and public holidays when the perpetrators used master keys to gain access to documents that were under the custody of other staff. The desperation to cast aspersion on the anti-corruption war is really high on their part.
“At a later date, Vice President Osinbajo, as the Chairman of the NEMA Board, should order a separate information into launching a separate probe into how these indicted persons unlawfully breached the internal security of the agency to steal documents.”
He said the group is also aware that the Ex-DG, Mohammed Sani-Sidi, who is at the middle of the entire saga has activated his contacts in the National Assembly to pervert a probe by the House of Representatives that should shed light on what truly happened at NEMA.
He said this is inspite of the fact that the House probe became derailed when the indicted directors and ex-NEMA DG started contacting the House of Representatives Members on the panel.
He said, “We are further at a loss as to why the House of Representatives did not allow the EFCC, as a statutory agency, to complete its investigations before usurping its powers. No Nigerian is in doubt as to the extent to which our members of parliament can behave and blackmail anyone that fails to play ball as usual. It is worrisome and remains a disgrace to our Democracy.
“We demand that the House of Representatives allow the EFCC to investigate the matter without undue interference since that is the agency that can prosecute those indicted. It will be against national interest to reduce this grievous theft of national funds into an issue for political investigation that will not go anywhere.”