Suspended Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris has reportedly returned N30 billion from the N109 billion looted funds.

This was disclosed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) chairman, Abdurasheed Bawa on Thursday, December 15, 2022, while featuring in a ministerial press briefing at the State House, Abuja.

The EFCC who allayed fears that the anti-graft agency could be a tool in the hands of some influential individuals, said the anti-graft agency remains independent enough to investigate the suspended Attorney-General, Ahmed Idris, over the alleged money laundering case.

According to Bawa, the anti-graft agency remains independent enough to investigate the suspended Attorney-General, Ahmed Idris, over the alleged money laundering case.

An investigation, he said, had led to the recovery of over N30 billion.

He explained: “The EFCC is independent; nobody tells us what to do or investigate, how to investigate, or what to cover and what not to cover. No!

“One of the last major investigations we did was that we arrested the Accountant-General of the Federation. The Accountant-General of the Federation was arrested. Out of those fraudulent activities discovered, the EFCC has recovered over N30 billion, and we’re already prosecuting them.”

Bawa also disclosed that EFCC has not closed the N7.1 billion fraud case against former governor of Abia State and Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu.

Kalu had approached a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, for an order to bar the EFCC from retrying him, arguing that a Supreme Court decision which ordered a retrial of the fraud case did not include him as a party in the retrial.

The court had granted Kalu’s plea, ordering the anti-graft agency to exclude him from the retrial of a case for which he had been tried and convicted.

Responding to a question on the issue during the briefing, Bawa said the former governor was yet to be discharged, nor acquitted, adding that the EFCC was still pursuing the matter against him.

His words: “My friend here asked about Senator Orji Uzor Kalu. The prosecution lasted for 12 years or so 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, it cannot come back to the lower court and that he should be retried in Lagos.

“So we wanted to arraign him almost immediately in Lagos, for the prosecution to start all over again and then he went to court, challenging that he has been discharged and acquitted. Nobody discharged and acquitted him, we are still pursuing the matters in court here in Abuja. So the matter is still ongoing.”

On whether there were politicians under EFCC’s radar being monitored for wrongdoings, Bawa said, “of course, certainly, there are a lot of them that we’re 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 too and give us that piece of information, if you have any.”

According to him, the Commission has been receiving petitions on many of the politicians contesting various political offices but explained that operatives were taking thorough efforts to sieve through the petitions to ascertain those that are true and really deserving investigative efforts.

“A lot of petitions left, right and centre, against almost every politician that is contesting for office, but what are we going to do at this hour? Do you want us now to invite one presidential candidate to come and make a statement? The same media is going to say it’s politically motivated.

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

“We even have a manual on that, on the criteria that you need to follow, that guide them in terms of coming to accepting or rejecting a petition”, he revealed.
Commenting on the welfare of EFCC staff, the  Chairman said Buhari had since approved a robust severance package for staff of the Commission, as a way of enhancing their efficiency.

His words: “About issues of temptation, we thank God for President Muhammadu Buhari, one of the first things that he did when I came on board was to approve for us a very robust severance package and everybody is happy about it in the EFCC, everybody is looking towards retirement. So, we are secured in that regard.

“And for those that yield to the temptations they face, we are dealing with them one at a time, as soon as we get the information and we investigate. Those we found wanting have been punished, some have been dismissed, some demoted and so on. So for the risks we face, we are very prayerful and God will continue to protect us”.



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