Corruption: EFCC chair, should step aside, has questions to answer, says Matawalle

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The Governor of Zamfara State, Bello Muhammed Matawalle has requested the resignation and probe of the EFCC chairman, AbdulRasheed Bawa.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the governor accused Bawa of corruptly enriching himself while asking the anti graft boss to excuse himself and surrender for investigation.

Matawalle, who noted that he and some eminent Nigerians have evidence of corrupt practices, breach of public trust and abuse of office against Bawa, said the commission led by Bawa had been largely abused.

He said Bawa needs to come clean on the way and manner he has prosecuted the anti-corruption fight, and should therefore explain how seized assets by the EFCC are being sold without adherence to due process.

He said: “Bawa should explain, for instance, how he has assumed the role of the plaintiff, prosecutor and jury and how he has executed his brand of plea bargaining with suspected criminals and saboteurs of the Nigerian economy and agenda who instead of being put on trial, are walking freely all over Nigeria.

“It is when the EFCC Chair does this and becomes open, non-selective and all-embracing with his invitation, that will we take him seriously.

“It is only then will serious-minded officers who have served the people selflessly and meritoriously and are not opposed to an examination of their books, and indeed Nigerians generally take him seriously.

“Without this, it is just a case of another person in government who has some explaining to do himself over allegations of corruption, high-handedness and abuse of office now asking others to account, by so doing, merely giving Nigerians a comic relief from the present challenging times they are experiencing”, Matawalle said.

The governor also charged Bawa to make his investigation holistic and not selective, saying that the recent invitations and pronouncement by the EFCC Chair is imbalance, incomplete, hypocritical and unnecessarily skewed.

He explained that Bawa’s action is counterproductive to the anti-corruption crusade, while doubting whether Bawa is actually committed to the anti corruption war.

“In a bid to help the obvious knowledge-gap and inertia exhibited by the EFCC Chair, the probe should be all embracing and cover all officers.

“I demand that the EFCC chair extend similar invitations to officers of the Presidency and members of the Federal Executive Council, which is the highest tier of government in the country”, the governor noted.

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*Full statement*

My attention has been drawn to a statement credited to the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Malam Abdulrasheed Bawa, in which he claimed he has sent invitations to all outgoing Governors and Commissioners in a bid to commence investigation into alleged corruption and abuse of office perpetrated by them while in office.

While this is appropriate and commendable because it’s important for political office holders to account for their actions in office and EFCC is imbued with the power of investigation, however, this power must be exercised judiciously.

The investigation must be holistic and not selective. It is in this respect that the recent invitations and pronouncement by the EFCC Chair is imbalance, incomplete, hypocritical and unnecessarily skewed.

This is counterproductive to the anti-corruption crusade itself, that is if Malam Bawa is actually committed to one.

In a bid to help the obvious knowledge-gap and inertia exhibited by the EFCC Chair, the probe should be all embracing and cover all officers.

I demand that the EFCC chair extend similar invitations to officers of the Presidency and members of the Federal Executive Council, which is the highest tier of government in the country.

In furtherance of my desire to engender a broad based investigation and an enlargement of the fight against corruption, I will also demand that Abdulrasheed Bawa excuse himself and surrender himself for investigation, as I and some eminent Nigerians have evidence of corrupt practices, breach of public trust and abuse of office against him and the commission led by him.

Importantly, he needs to come clean with Nigerians on the way and manner he has prosecuted the anti-corruption fight.

He needs to explain among others how seized assets by the EFCC are being sold without adherence to due process.

He should explain, for instance, how he has assumed the role of the plaintiff, prosecutor and jury and how he has executed his brand of plea bargaining with suspected criminals and saboteurs of the Nigerian economy and agenda who instead of being put on trial, are walking freely all over Nigeria.

It is when the EFCC Chair does this and becomes open, non-selective and all-embracing with his invitation, that will we take him seriously.

It is only then will serious-minded officers who have served the people selflessly and meritoriously and are not opposed to an examination of their books, and indeed Nigerians generally take him seriously.

Without this, it is just a case of another person in government who has some explaining to do himself over allegations of corruption, high-handedness and abuse of office now asking others to account, by so doing, merely giving Nigerians a comic relief from the present challenging times they are experiencing.

SIGNED

Bello Muhammed Matawalle
Governor,
Zamfara State.

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