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Aborted 3rd term: EFCC goes after lawmakers

Posted by By JAMIE DOMINICS, Washington DC on 2006/05/23 | Views: 421 |

Aborted 3rd term: EFCC goes after lawmakers


The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is forging ahead with the probe of alleged bribe-for-vote scam that rocked the National Assembly during the debate on the constitution amendment bill, despite the death of the tenure elongation project.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is forging ahead with the probe of alleged bribe-for-vote scam that rocked the National Assembly during the debate on the constitution amendment bill, despite the death of the tenure elongation project.

The commissionís chairman, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, who declared this in Washington, United States, on Monday, ruled out ending the investigation into the allegations of inducement to National Assembly members to support an extension of the current executive term.

Indeed, the commission, according to Ribadu, began the investigations about two weeks ago, visiting banks in Abuja and taking statements from different people, while also soliciting information from members of the public."

He said the death of the third term project did not mean that the probe would be buried with it, stressing that: "If you fight corruption, and you successfully fight it to a standstill, you will be able to get good governance.

Ribadu was on a visit to Washington to brief American officials on the outcome of his on-going probe of alleged huge financial inducement of the lawmakers during the debate on the constitution amendment bill, which sought among other things, to keep President Olusegun Obasanjo in power for another four years.
Each senator was said to have been offered N50 million as part payment, to support the third term clause, while members of the House of Representatives reportedly got N40 million each.
Ribadu said some lawmakers may have turned down the money because of fears that they may be arrested by his commission, saying: "I think the work we did in some way helped more or less in determining the outcome of the entire process."

To assist the agency, Ribadu told the U.S House of Representatives Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights, and International Operations to pressure the American government to classify suspected Nigerian corrupt officials as terrorists. "Corrupt people and corrupt leaders, particularly from Africa, are as bad as terrorists. If it is possible that a corrupt despot, a person who is looting the treasury of his own country, could be treated as a terrorist, it will make a huge difference in the fight we are waging back home," he said.

Ribadu also asked the administration to monitor more closely banking transactions of several Nigerian officials and to release such information to the EFCC to ensure speedy arrest and prosecution of those affected.

Ribadu also told the American officials that he was on the trail of those who might use money to determine the outcome of next year's elections. "We are making progress tracking allegations of bribery that might have impact on next year's presidential election campaign," he said.

The EFCC chairman called on the American government to increase assistance to the agency because of the wealth and sophistication of those it was going after. " I also asked them for technical support because some of this criminal activity is very complex. We need technology that will assist us in this war," he said.


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