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I don’t know if Obasanjo is clean or not –Ribadu

Posted by Sun News Publishing on 2007/02/26 | Views: 2553 |

I don’t know if Obasanjo is clean or not –Ribadu

Although it said the report of its investigations into alleged corrupt practices by President Olusegun Obasanjo is ready, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) will not be categorical on whether or not the president is clean or not.

Although it said the report of its investigations into alleged corrupt practices by President Olusegun Obasanjo is ready, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) will not be categorical on whether or not the president is clean or not.

Confronted with the question by reporters at the weekend in Abuja, the Commission’s Chairman, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, hedged and hemmed, parrying it.

Ribadu told the newsmen that the EFCC had concluded investigations into alleged involvement of the president in the purported looting of the Petroleum Technology Development Fun (PTDF) and other charges made by Abia State governor and presidential candidate of the Progressive People Alliance (PPA), Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, and would soon make it public.

But when asked if from the outcome of the anti-graft agency’s probe, Obasanjo could be said to be clean, Ribadu replied: "It is your own conclusion. If you want to give him that clean bill, go ahead and give him."

Pressed further if he (president) is not, the EFCC retorted: "What is your own business? You can call him clean or not. You are entitled to call him clean. We work as professionals. If we have facts and figures, we come out with them. That is exactly what we do. I can show today how many senators are contesting in Nigeria… and so on. But we came out with a hundred or so names. And the fact that we did not come out with everyone and say this one is clean does not mean that he is a thief or he is not a thief."

Speaking on the controversial list of indicted politicians recently released by EFCC, Mallam Ribadu expressed shock that "the list made available to the media is not our list. Almost all what you saw appear in the media were not from us at all".
He insisted that the list was "massively doctored by pillars of corruption in the country."
"We thought it was right and fair to give parties enough time and chance to replace these (indicted) people in accordance with constitutional provision that "parties have powers and rights to change candidates in anticipation of problems like this.
"So what we did was send the list, out of simple honesty and fairness, to tell them look, these candidates may have problems."

"This is the provision of the constitution. Nuhu Ribadu did not participate in the writing of the 1999 Constitution, nor did the government of this country or even Obasanjo. We met the constitution, we are enforcing it and giving meaning to it. We are doing it may be for the first time.
"We did not send any list to INEC at all. We wrote to only political parties and advised them that we are available for them to come and discuss. Some have responded (I think three of the five ) and we discussed with them and gave them the details of what we have. We did not give out the list simply to protect any individual. We did not send the list to the media. Almost all what you saw appear in the media were not from us at all. They were fabrications. They were forgeries. And so many of the names that we saw there are never part of those we have mentioned as indicted people.

"So this is part of the problems we are fighting in Nigeria; whatever you try to do, people are out there trying to destroy it, to manipulate it, to change it, to doctor it. It is not government that doctors it. It is actually those with vested interests that did it, those who believe that our work has to stop. They cause confusion in the process, confuse innocent Nigerians, deceive them and thereby at the end of the day come out on top of it.

On who he suspected, Ribadu said: "I am suspecting the politicians whom we are fighting, I am suspecting those who I consider and call pillars of evils in our country, pillars of corruption in Nigeria and they are very few, and they are responsible for what is going on today. They are the ones who are distorting facts, they are responsible for overheating the system today and raising tensions. They are the ones who are feeling threatened, they are the ones, for the first time, who are being asked to account for their own bad behaviour and misdeeds.

Defending his commission against the charge of partisanship and selectivity in its operation, the tough cop said: They call us dog of Obasanjo. "They call us all sorts of names – dogs of government, dogs of this and that, yes, we are dogs of Nigerians, fighting for justice, justice to emancipate and free our people from their bondage."
He explained that his submission of the list of indicted politicians to the president was in line with the law.
"Yes, I have to, because that is what the constitution says? If the constitution of Nigeria says "if you indict, a person for fraud or embezzlement (indict not convict) and I think there is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding there, because conviction is done by court, indictment is done by law enforcement…
And the constitution says that indictment will only work if the government accepts it. It is there in the constitution.

Therefore, you must as a law enforcement agency after indictment, submit the list or the names of those people, with the facts you have to government, and government has the liberty to accept. That is what the constitution says, and nobody can change the constitution today in our country. The constitution upholds all and everything. The constitution gives us power to indict but that indictment cannot hold, until it is accepted by government. And the government can accept or reject. That is exactly what happened. Nobody seems to care to go into the details of what the law says.
Can the government also doctor the list? The EFCC boss was asked.

"What is doctor? Kai! What is doctor? (His voice rises)
To add or subtract some names, in this case?
Well, my own belief is that there is no single name that is added there. But if you want to remove, because the law gives government the power to accept, it may do so. If it has power to accept it means it can also reject, and that is a constitutional power. And if you have problem with that, for goodness, go to court! (He shouts). Go to court and not do the politics we do. Our courts are there! They are there to interpret, to say what is right and whether this step we have taken is right or not. I don’t know what is the difficulty in that.

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