The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it is investigating a trending audio recording where it was alleged that the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, was exerting his influence to compromise high profile corruption cases being handled by the commission.
The EFCC, in a statement, on Thursday, identified the person who made the allegation in what is said to be a phone conversation with the brother to a crime suspect as Mohammed Idris.
The commission described Mr Idris “a lawyer and seconded police officer with the commission”.
The officer claimed in the trending audio recording obtained by Daily Nigerian that EFCC was being controlled by Mr Malami, a perception that stemmed from the AGF’s roles in the appointment of the commission’s current chairperson, Abdulrasheed Bawa.
“Malami now controls the EFCC. The commission is in his hands. Once Malami speaks, the account will be unfrozen,” Mr Mohammed was heard saying while giving an assurance about how much Mr Malami could help the crime suspect to resolve issues about his frozen accounts.
“They are unfreezing suspects’ accounts, including the big cases,” the EFCC operative added.
Mr Mohammed was also heard suggesting the need for the crime suspect to get a new lawyer to pursue his case at the Court of Appeal.
But, in response, the voice on the other side of the conversation said to be the suspect’s brother, expressed how difficult it would be to change their lawyer identified as Ameh. This, according to him, is due to the fact that Ameh was introduced to them by Mr Malami.
Reacting to the recording, EFCC in its statement signed by its spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, described Mr Idris’ claims as unsubstantiated, while also assuring to investigate the matter.
“The attention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has been drawn to a trending audio tape in the social media, where Mohammed Idris, a lawyer and seconded police officer with the Commission, purportedly made unsubstantiated claims regarding the influence of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami , SAN , on the commission,” the statement read in part.
“The commission,” Mr Uwujaren said, “wishes to state that it has commenced investigation into the content of the audio tape and will activate its internal mechanism to deal with the issues arising therefrom.”
The commission described the officer as “a corrupt fifth columnist with scant regard for the values of the commission,” adding that his action was contemptuous of the
Standard Operating Procedure of the EFCC.
The commission’s spokesperson added, “Without prejudice to the outcome of the investigation, snippets of the audio recording clearly showed an abysmally compromised ‘officer’dropping names to ingratiate his benefactor, a relative of a crime suspect.
“By the alleged action, the said officer is no more than a corrupt fifth columnist with scant regard for the values of the commission.
“The action is contemptuous of the established Standard Operating Procedure of the EFCC.
“Such professional indiscretion has no place in the new EFCC. The Commission encourages citizens who encounter any such unprofessional conduct by personnel of the EFCC to report to the Commission in support of our quest to build a better Agency,” the statement read.
The EFCC said it never condones acts of corruption. “Abuse of privilege for financial gratification by personnel of the commission is a serious offence against discipline,” the statement added.
It further urged Nigerians to report acts of corruption through its financial crimes reporting application which was launched earlier in the year, the Eagle Eye App.