The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, yesterday, said it was investigating the audiotape accusing the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, of directing and dictating activities of the commission.
In the BBC Hausa Service monitored by Vanguard, EFCC said its investigation followed trending audio where Malami was accused of controlling the EFCC in a case of bribery and corruption that the commission is handling.
The EFCC said it had listened to the phone conversation and had found out that it was one of its operatives who was discussing with an accomplice in crime.
In the alleged phone conversation, the said operative claimed the Minister of Justice was in total control of the EFCC, alleging that no matter the enormity of a crime committed, he (Malami) could nullify it, once he was contacted.
Reacting, the EFCC frowned at perceived unprofessional behavior allegedly exhibited by the said operative, saying it was against the laid down rules guiding official conducts in the commission.
In a statement by EFCC spokesperson, Mr. Wilson Uwujeran said: “The attention of the EFCC, has been drawn to a trending audiotape in the social media, where a lawyer and seconded police officer with the commission (name withheld), purportedly made unsubstantiated claims regarding the influence of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Malami on the commission.
“The commission wishes to state that it has commenced investigation into the content of the audiotape and will activate its internal mechanism to deal with the issues arising therefrom. For the avoidance of doubt, the EFCC does not condone acts of corruption. Abuse of privilege for financial gratification by personnel of the commission is a serious offense against discipline.
“Without prejudice to the outcome of the investigation, snippets of the audio recording clearly showed an abysmally compromised “officer” dropping names to ingratiate his benefactor, a relative of a crime suspect. By the alleged action, the said officer is no more than a corrupt fifth columnist with scant regard for the values of the commission.
“The action is contemptuous of the established Standard Operating Procedure of the EFCC. Such professional indiscretion has no place in the new EFCC. The commission encourages citizens who encounter any such unprofessional conduct by personnel of the EFCC to report to the commission in support of our quest to build a better agency.
“Reporting such conducts has been made easy by the Eagle Eye App, a financial crime reporting application which was launched earlier in the year. We encourage members of the public to download the App from the Apple and Google Play Store and put it to use.
“The commission wishes to assure the public that its operations are guided by established professional precepts which do not support the kind of discretion that could allow for manipulation by external actors.”
Meanwhile, the Minister of Justice has dismissed the allegation, saying it was not true, but mere blackmail
The Minister through his aide on Media and Public Relations, Dr. Umaru Gwandu, told the BBC that “it was just figment of imagination and lies that were being propagated, they just drop the minister’s name in their discussion.”
Although the minister has not disclosed his next line of action on the matter, he has, however, said he was satisfied with the action taken by the EFCC so far.