Senate uncovers Massive fraud in EFCC
The Senate on Thursday, February 25, ordered for the immediate arrest of the erstwhile Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Lamorde, over alleged financial crimes and corruption.
It could be recalled that an 11-man committee was set up by the Senate to investigate alleged financial crimes and corruption brought against Lamorde by a Human rights activist, George Uboh.
The Chairman of the Investigative Committee, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, while presenting the report of his committee before Senate in plenary on Thursday said, after a series of invitations sent to Lamorde to appear before the committee to tell his own side of the story on allegations of financial crime and corruption leveled against him, the former EFCC boss had times without number failed to honour the invitation.
Referring to the three letters of invitation written to invite Lamorde to appear before the committee dated 19th August, 2015, 3rd November, 2015 and 11 November, 2015, Anyanwu noted that Lamorde deliberately refused to appear before the senate committee on Ethics and Privileges.
Having waited for a while, the committee chairman said it observed that the ex-EFCC boss was trying to evade investigation by the committee.
“Consequently, the Committee reasoned that the only way to get the former EFCC Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, to appear before it was to invoke the powers of the Senate in Section 89 (1c&d) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and compel his appearance.
“Convinced that unless this line of action was taken, the National Assembly might be drawn into consequential disrepute in the future,” Anyanwu said.
The committee in its recommendations said, (1)“That to save the National Assembly, as the highest law-making body of the nation, from irreparable damage to its reputation and capacity to summon, the former EFCC Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, be compelled to appear before the Committee to answer for activities of his tenure. (2) That to effect recommendation ‘1’ above, a warrant of arrest be issued by the Senate for his arrest.”
The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, in reaction raised a Point of Order referring the Senate to Sections 88 (1) and 89 (1c&d) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
He said; “Subject to the provisions of this constitution, each house of the National Assembly shall have power by resolution, published in a journal or the official gazette of the federal government to direct or cause to be directed, an investigation into (a) any matter with respect to which it has powers to make laws. (b) the conduct of affairs of any person, authority, ministry of government, department, charged with the responsibility of executing or administering laws enacted by the National Assembly and disbursing or administering money appropriated or to be appropriated by the National Assembly…”
According to Ekweramadu, “What is required here is for the committee to issue a warrant of arrest and then the President of the Senate will direct the Police to effect the arrest.”
Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki after much hearing, sustained Ekweremadu’s Point of Order.
“The issue has been well spelt out by the Deputy Senate President, he has clearly referred to the constitution.
“Based on the Constitution this matter does not need to come to us at plenary.” Saraki said
The Senate however, asked its Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to comply with relevant Sections of the Constitution that empowered it to issue a warrant of arrest on Lamorde for refusing to appear before it when invited.