THE Senate has begun the process of issuing a warrant of arrest on the immediate past chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Lamorde, over his failure to appear before the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions. EFCC-boss-Ibrahim-Lamorde This came on a day men of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC, visited Ekiti State in continuation of the agency’s investigation of alleged misappropriation of over N25 billion by former governor of the state and now Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi.
Presenting the report of the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, its Chairman, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, told the Senate, yesterday, that the recommendation of the committee to issue a warrant of arrest became imperative, following Lamorde’s refusal to appear and respond to allegations brought through a petition by Dr. George Uboh, Chief Executive Officer of Panic Alert Security Systems, PASS, a. Non-Governmental Organisation, after three letters to him by Clerk of the Committee, Mr. Freedom Osolo. Senator Anyanwu said the former EFCC boss must be compelled to appear before the committee to render account of his tenure, if the Senate must avoid irreparable damage to its reputation and capacity to summon. It would be recalled that Senate President, Bukola Saraki, had on Tuesday, October 6, 2015, referred the petition to the committee after Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, PDP, Delta North, who relied on Order 41 of the Senate Standing Orders 2015 as amended and drew the attention of the upper chamber to a petition by Dr. George Uboh against Lamorde for alleged financial crimes and corruption to the tune of N1 trillion. Earlier in the presentation of the nine-page report, Senator Anyanwu said: “The Senate will recall that on Tuesday, October 6, 2016, rising on Order 41, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi (PDP, Delta North), drew attention of the Senate to a petition from Dr. George Uboh against the chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for alleged financial crimes and urged the Senate to look into the matter. “In line with Order 41(3), the Senate referred the matter to the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, for detailed investigation. “After going through the facts available, the committee observed as follows: That having waited in vain for the appearance of Mr Ibrahim Lamorde since November 24, 2015, and not seeing or hearing from him, it was forced to conclude that Mr Lamorde wants to evade investigation by the committee. “Consequently, the committee reasoned that the only way to get the former EFCC chairman, Mr Ibrahim Lamorde, to appear before it was to invoke the powers of the Senate in Section 89(1c&d) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and compel his attendance. “The committee is convinced that unless this line of action was taken, the National Assembly might be drawn into consequential disrepute in the future.”
In the recommendations of the Committee, Senator Anyanwu said “based on the above findings, the committee wishes to recommend that to save the National Assembly, as the highest law-making body of the nation, from irreparable damage to its reputation and capacity to summon, the former EFCC chairman, Mr Ibrahim Lamorde, be compelled to appear before the committee to answer for activities of his tenure. “That to effect recommendation one above, a warrant of arrest be issued by the Senate for his arrest.” In his contribution through a point of Order, Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who noted that the warrant of arrest as recommended was in order and that the Committee had the powers to issue same, cited Section 88(1) and 89(1) of 1999 constitution as amended to buttress his position. Warrant of arrest for Larmode He said the committee should issue the warrant of arrest and that Senate President, Bukola Saraki, would then mandate the Inspector-General of Police to effect it on Lamorde. Senate President, Saraki, said he was in agreement with the position of Senator Ekweremadu. He said: “The issue has been well spelt out by the Deputy Senate President, which he has clearly referred to in the constitution. Based on the constitution, this matter does not need to come to us at plenary. “It should be left at the level of the committee and in accordance with Section 89 of the Constitution. So I will sustain the point of order of the Deputy Senate President. Prior to the position of the committee, three letters were written inviting Lamorde which he ignored.” ICPC storms Ekiti for Fayemi, others Meanwhile, men of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission, ICPC, reportedly visited Ekiti State for the better part of last week in continuation of the agency’s investigation of alleged misappropriation of over N25 billion by the former governor of the state, Dr. Kayode Fayemi.
The ICPC team of investigators, according to reports, which included two men and a woman, visited some of the projects claimed to have been executed with the N25 billion bond obtained from the capital market by Fayemi’s administration. The visit was said to be at the prompting of petitions written by the state government and a group, Save Ekiti Coalition, SEC. However, Fayemi’s spokesman, Mr Yinka Oyebode, told our source yesterday, that his principal, who is now the Solid Minerals minister, was not aware of the agency officials’ visit to Ekiti State. He said: “In any case, the agencies are free to conduct their investigations in respect of petitions sent to them. But I can tell you that the petitioners are merely rehashing issues they have over-flogged in the past.” Giving credence to ICPC officials’ visit to Ekiti, sources close to the state government told Vanguard that the Federal Government might no longer be comfortable with the public perception that President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption fight was selective. He also claimed that Governor Ayodele Fayose’s complaints to the ICPC and EFCC about how the immediate past All Progressives Congress, APC, government of Fayemi fleeced the state were ignored. Vanguard also gathered that apart from its petition, the state government also forwarded a reminder to the EFCC and ICPC with Reference Number PB/894/5, dated September 14, 2015, and signed by Secretary to the State Government, Dr Modupe Alade. Alade in the petition, expressed the displeasure of the state government about the manner the anti-graft agencies were handling petitions submitted to them.
Some of the contracts mentioned in the petitions include the construction of earthwork for the New Governor’s Office, awarded to PONTI-ITALWARE Nig Ltd on March 3, 2012, at the sum of N383, 900,911.06; construction of new governor’s office, awarded to Interkel Nig Ltd at the sum of N2,027,495,857.45; Civic Centre, awarded to Tiajin-Yuyang Construction Eng. Company Ltd at a sum of N2,573,584,395.75, and rehabilitation of roads, among others. Also asked to be investigated is the N852, 936,713.92 State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB, counterpart fund, which was withdrawn from Access Bank account of SUBEB on October 8, 2014, eight days to the end of Fayemi’s tenure.
The N852,936,713.92 was SUBEB Counterpart Fund paid to enable the Board access fund from the Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, and alleged fraudulent withdrawal of the fund from SUBEB account eight days to the end of Fayemi’s government was the reason Ekiti State Government was blacklisted by UBEC. ICPC is said to be interested in the rationale behind the transfer of the N852,936,713.92 into what was called Ekiti State Government Capital Project account and not used to pay SUBEB contractors. The ICPC team was said to have asked questions from officials in SUBEB about the contracts worth N4, 246,094,751.14, awarded in 2012 through the Bureau of Special Projects (under the Governor’s Office).