- The court says the EFCC is now empowered to arrest the two former intelligence agency bosses and also search their residences
- The EFCC believes that it is working within the guidelines of the mandate given to it by the Presidency after the discovery of the Ikoyi flat cash and some alleged diversion of arms deal funds
- An unnamed government source says the EFCC is going about the invitation of the officials all wrong, hence the resistance
Nigeria’s anti-corruption body Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has moved a big step closer to arresting former intelligence chiefs Ita Ekpeyong and Ayo Oke.
The EFCC has acquired two separate arrest warrants from a Magistrate Court II in the Federal Capital Territory for the detainment of the former Director-General of Department of State Service (DSS) and ex-Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA respectively.
The Nation reports that the Commission also search warrants on the residences of the two former intelligence chiefs.
The warrant read in part: “You are hereby commanded by this state with proper assistance to enter the above named residence and premises and there diligently search for the things aforesaid and if the same or any part thereof are found to bring the things so found and also the said person before this court to be dealt according to law.
“This warrant shall be executed between the hours of five o’ clock and eight o’clock at night and may also be executed at any hour during the day or night.”
The Nation reports further that the EFCC also stated its reasons for wanting the warrants.
According to the report, the anti-corruption body was after Ekpenyong and Oke for “alleged theft and diversion of public funds.”
The report quoted an EFCC source as saying that the Commission was working within the mandate given to it by the Presidency.
“We have valid warrants of search and arrest from a court of competent jurisdiction; this is why we intend to go ahead.
“We will soon release the details of all the allegations in the reports referred to us by the presidency. The reports emanated from the investigation conducted by two Presidential Investigative Committees set up by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We need to put the issues in correct perspective. The President raised a Presidential Investigative Committee on $2.1billion Arms Procurement, which was headed by AVM Jon Ode. Also, another Presidential Investigative Committee was led by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on the $43.4million recovered from a flat at Osborne Towers.
“After perusing the reports, the presidency mandated the EFCC to do follow-up investigations based on the findings of the two committees.
“It is not as if the EFCC is going outside the mandate from the presidency.”
An unnamed government official explained why those in the intelligence circles are unhappy with EFCC’s moves.
The source said: “No one is saying any corrupt person should be spared. I think what some of us detested is the way the EFCC was going about it as if Ekpenyong and Oke are criminals. These are intelligence officers who paid their dues while in service. Their integrity should be preserved pending the conclusion of investigation.
“It is on record that the two affected intelligence chiefs have cooperated with the EFCC so far. In fact, the EFCC has secured the permanent forfeiture of the $43.4million cash seized from Osborne Towers in Ikoyi. The DSS and some of us in government are only calling for decorum in managing their cases.
“For instance, Oke single-handedly coordinated the negotiation for the repatriation of the loot traced to the family of the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha while in the Nigerian High Commission in the United Kingdom. It was a major success recorded by the administration of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo.
“Since the government of Buhari came on board, Oke had assisted EFCC through the NIA structure in wielding diplomatic and intelligence influence to track looted funds in jurisdictions outside Nigeria.
“The same man raised the bar of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) to international standards with world class facilities. All the contracts were awarded to Julius Berger without Oke being a member of the NIA Tenders Board. And payments for all contracts were effected directly to the contractor.
“I really do not think that Oke deserves any form of humiliation. He was the only security chief who wrote a dissenting report predicting that Jonathan will lose the 2015 general elections. This was even before the poll.
“On Ekpenyong, he personally made his residential address available to EFCC in order to deliver a letter of invitation. What would have informed his arrest.
“We even learnt that he was so prudent that he left some money in billions in the account of the DSS. It is left to the EFCC to ascertain this claim.”
NAIJ.com had reported that Ibrahim Magu, the acting chairman of the EFCC, declared that he would only rest when Ekpeyong and Oke are finally arrested by his men.
Magu made the declaration 24 hours after officials of the EFCC and the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) failed in their attempt to arrest Ekpeyong and Oke.
It was learnt that a 50-member team from the EFCC and the police had stormed the house of Ekpenyong but could not arrest him even when they came with an arrest warrant.
The EFCC stage a walk against corruption - NAIJ.com TV