In law we say, deligatus non potest deligari (you can’t delegate that which has been delegated to you) but on the street, they say when you re-loot that recovered loot, it’s called Alooting Continum or;
The acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission recently suspended by the President on an allegation of financial impropriety, insubordination and lack of respect to court orders by the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami is still generating comments in both social and conventional media for obvious reasons.
In the history of the fight against corruption since the inception of the Economic & Financial Crime Commission EFCC, one cannot but agree with the fact that Ibrahim Magu (suspended acting chairman) has risen above his pearls and performed better, even obtained more conviction in court (including that of former Governors) when juxtaposed against the records of his predecessors in office. Kudos however to the stand of the President Muhammadu Buhari to fight corruption.
However, Magu’s approach has largely been condemned as being selective by some discerning commentators to the extent that some have indeed questioned, whether the government is actually fighting corruption, fighting corrupt people or pursuing perceived political opponents? I leave you to be the judge of that.
My concerns today is not about whether EFCC under Magu fought corruption, because I agree that he fought, albeit selectively, but I’m concerned more about putting institutional framework that would stand the test of time, like e-government, as done in UAE, to avoid the reoccurrence of the Magu pitfall scenario.
One of the accusations against Magu is lack of obedience to court orders. A local adage states that “when a father sends his son to steal, the son pulls down the door of his victim”, figure it out.
Magu is probably disobeying court orders with impunity because he is encouraged by the precedents, of the Buhari administration, (which abounds) to disobey court orders. Or have we forgotten so soon how the federal government variously refused to obey court judgement/rulings ordering them to release El Zazaky, Sambo Dasuki, even Sowore and others.
Even the Nigeria Police, ICPC and other government agencies are not left out of these fragrant disobedience to court orders. We still remember the case of Pinacle Communications against ICPC and so many others.
Government also seems to forget that no serious minded foreign investor would invest in a country where court orders are hardly obeyed, because law is the oil that regulates any organized society.
If citizens reciprocate the attitude of govt and its agencies by also disobeying court orders, chaos and anarchy will reign supreme daily.
However, President Buhari cannot be completely exonerated from Magu’s attitude, because apart from his failure to act on the DSS report sent to the 8th National Assembly, the basis for which the Senate refused his confirmation, Magu could also have been a lord unto himself because the President refused to constitute the board of the commission leaving the acting Chair to act in any manner he deems fit without control from a board. What now made him act promptly on Malami’s letter, is it the death of Abba Kyari? One million dollar question you would say.
Secondly, is the fact that we complain about the corrupt and compromised nature of our policing system, yet the government not only keep recycling Policemen as the head of such agencies, almost 50% of the staff’s strength of EFCC are drawn from men and women of the Nigeria Police, despite having a shortfall in the number of policemen and women in Nigeria. No wonder there are none left to actually do the job of the police. as some are guarding dignitaries and their families, others are looking for juicy positions in EFCC to the detriment of the trained staffs of the commission. The resultant effect is demotivation, lack of promotion, because the available spaces are already occupied by the in-house police, favoritism, police mentality egunje (settlement) type investigation becomes the order of the day.
The EFCC has been around for 15 years are we saying that we do not have capable hands within the Commission to handle the chairmanship of the EFCC that we have to keep recycling policemen to head the EFCC? As S.2(a) (ii) of the EFCC Act did not make the position the exclusive preserve of the police. Now you know why the President is also culpable.
Mind you, I am not saying policemen are bad. They have their own enormous multifaceted challenges and problems to deal with. And the earlier government starts solving the problems of the Nigeria police, an institution that wins laurels abroad, but are reduced to garbage at home, the better for our society.
Has The Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) ever deemed it fit to have an interactive session with staff and members of the commission to gauge the feelings and mood of men and women who are saddled with the responsibility of fighting corruption? You will ask me, watin concern dem?
I would therefore advocate, that the President should not only as a matter of urgency constitute the board of the EFCC, he should also ensure professionalism in the commission by refusing the temptation of appointing another policeman to head the organization. Government and it agencies should make the obedience of court orders paramount in all its activities. And should sanction Ministries, Parastatals and Agencies that disobeys Court orders, while the NJC should as a matter of urgency admonish and penalize Judges that are issuing frivolous and vexatious orders. As respect for the rule of law is the bedrock of any democratic society. Finally the National Assembly should look at the laws setting up these anti grant agencies, with a view of amending same to not only merge the ICPC with the EFCC, but also in line with global best practices and avoid a repeat of abuse of absolute powers, ensures that specialization into various fields of investigations, case reviewing, prosecution and asset management are encouraged and prompted to enhance transparency, probity and accountability.
To expect foreign investors in a country where government and its agencies flout court orders with impunity is not only a mirage but an expectation in futility.
If you are in support say I and those against say nay. The I’s have it.
Liborous Oshoma Esq.
Aledeh News is not liable to opinions expressed in this article, they’re strictly the writer’s.