N7.1bn Fraud: We’re Still Behind Senator Kalu—EFCC

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Thursday said it was still investigating the N7.1bn fraud case against a former Abia state governor and current Senate chief whip, Senator Orji Kalu.

EFCC Chairman Abdulrasheed Bawa revealed this to House correspondents at the 62nd session of the House of Representatives ministerial briefing hosted by the Presidential Communications Team in Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.

the punch reported that Kalu had sought an order from the Abuja Federal High Court to bar the EFCC from retrying him.

Kalu argued that the Supreme Court decision ordering a new trial in the fraud case did not include him as a party to the new trial.

Granting Kalu’s guilty plea, the court ordered the EFCC to exclude him from the retrial of a case for which he had been tried and convicted.

But answering questions on the subject, Bawa argued that the former governor has not been fired or acquitted.

He said the EFCC was still investigating the matter.

“The accusation lasted about 12 years and he was convicted by the court. He went to the Supreme Court and the court said yes because he was elevated to the Court of Appeal, he cannot go back to the lower court and he must be tried again in Lagos.

“So we wanted to prosecute him almost immediately in Lagos to get the prosecution started again and then he went to court, challenging that he was released and cleared and no one released and cleared him and we are still looking into the matters in court here. in Abuja. So, the matter is still ongoing,” Bawa revealed.

Asked if there are any politicians under the EFCC’s radar for various misconduct ahead of the 2023 election, Bawa said “of course, certainly, there are a lot of them that we are watching and a lot of Nigerians have also provided us with information here and there. We are watching and we want you to join them as well and provide us with that information, if you have any.”

He revealed that although the anti-corruption agency has received several petitions about some political candidates, it is examining the petitions to establish those that are well founded and worth investigating.

Bawa said: “Lots of petitions left, right and centre, against almost every politician running for office, but what are we going to do now? Do you want us now to invite a presidential candidate to come and make a statement? The same outlet will say that it is politically motivated.

“We are working behind the scenes on all the petitions we have received that have merit and are not politically motivated, and that is why in each command we have what is called the Petition Verification Committee, made up of officers from the Legal Department. as well as the officials who review these petitions, to see if they are in line with our own mandate, before now recommending whether they can be investigated by the EFCC.

“We even have a manual on that, on the criteria that must be followed, which guide them in terms of accepting or rejecting a petition.”

The EFCC chief said the commission is partnering with various stakeholders to discourage vote buying.

He explained: “We are doing a lot on this; we are working with INEC, we are working with a lot of people, but ultimately we want to work with Nigerians. Nigerians should know the implications of selling their votes or accepting that these individuals should buy their votes.

“Already, because of what is happening now, many people are afraid of whether or not they can buy votes, whether or not people will be willing to sell their votes.

“We hope and pray that our modest efforts can reduce this vote-buying problem when it comes to February and March. God willing, we are working to see that we contribute with our quota to reduce”.

Bawa also revealed that the Anti-Corruption Commission has obtained 8,784 convictions between 2016 and 2022.

He noted that more than 50 percent of the convictions were related to cybercrimes.

According to him, “in the first full year of the current administration, the EFCC registered only 195 convictions, that was 2016. In 2017, the EFCC registered 186, we went down; in 2018 we recorded 312 convictions, in 2019 we recorded 1,280 convictions, it went up to more than 312 percent.

“In 2022, we had COVID, so we went down to 976. Last year (2021) that was part of my administration, we registered an unprecedented number of 2,220 convictions and this year, although it has not ended, so far we have registered 3,615 convictions. .”

Leave a Comment