Fear Grips Akpabio, Pondei As Okai Ask EFCC To Go After Them To Recover Looted Funds
Information reaching us that, it is not speak well with Akpabio, Pondei As Okai Ask EFCC To Go After Them To Recover Looted Funds
The Peoples Democratic Party National Youths Frontier, Comrade Austin Usman Okai, has argued that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has no power to investigate corruption allegations by officials of the party.
He stated that only the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has the right to probe officials as the main supervisory organ of political parties in the country that can carry out any investigation into any party’s financial activities, not the EFCC.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Okai, however, stated that though the body is against all forms of corruption within the party, the current issue is an in-house matter and not one to be investigated by the EFCC.
Okai advised the EFCC to go after real culprits and recover looted funds, alleging that the anti-corruption commission has become a tool in the hands of the ruling party, the All Progressive Congress.
He further alleged that this is one of the tactics used by the ruling party to suppress opposition.
The statement read, “It has come to the notice of the Peoples Democratic Party that the federal government of Nigeria has devised a plan to begin a round of witch hunts of members of the Peoples Democratic Party.
“In a letter dated May 17, 2021, and addressed to the National Chairman of the PDP – Prince Uche Secondus: the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had invited our National Auditor, National Organising Secretary and Director of Finance to report to the EFCC headquarters between May 19 and May 21.
“This invitation was sent based on an allegation levelled against Prince Uche Secondus by Kassim Afegbua – also a chieftain of the party, concerning transactions related to party affairs.
“He had accused the chairman of secretly working to undermine the party and shortchanging it ahead of 2023 elections.
“This, as far as we are concerned, is the party’s internal affair. The jurisdiction of the EFCC does not extend to investigating internal party wrangling. The EFCC is therefore acting outside its powers by inviting the above-named persons.
“One of the points raised by the EFCC is that they want to verify the proceeds from the sale of forms. It is unheard of and laughable that the EFCC seeks to turn itself into the de facto auditor of the PDP.
”It is obvious that the EFCC has lost its focus. It is chasing political parties whose funds have nothing to do with government funds, while there are people who have outstanding cases in court concerning embezzlement of government funds from the ruling party.
“The Integrity Group, a Port Harcourt-based non-profit organisation, had written a petition to the EFCC and President Muhammadu Buhari that Rotimi Amaechi, a former governor of Rivers state and present Minister of Transportation had stolen £500 million as governor.
“The EFCC denied ever receiving the petition that was written in 2018. Instead, he was made a minister- a clear case of what is good for APC is not good for PDP.
“On August 3, 2020, the EFCC received a petition from the True Freedom and Good Governance group to probe the current minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio and the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission ( NDDC), Kemebradikumo Pondei of diverting N81.5 billion.
“Akpabio is still the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and Pondei of the ‘Off Your Mic Gate’ is still walking as a free man after that epic fainting- a clear indication that the so-called president Buhari war on corruption is selective. Like the erstwhile chairman of APC, who coincidentally is from Edo state declared: once you are in APC, your sins are forgiven, regardless of how grave there are- no man does wrong in APC, he suggested.
“We are waiting for the reports of many cases of corruption on the table of the EFCC which have either been swept under the carpet or forgotten.
“These are the affairs that should concern the EFCC for now. It is not to chase the largest party in West Africa around. Go after the real culprits and recover looted funds, especially now that the country is in dire need of financial injection to the economy ruined by APC, under the stewardship of president Buhari. Why do we have to borrow when we have people who are keeping more than half of the country’s GDP as personal funds?
“We are alerting the public on the precedence being set by the ruling party. This is not about the PDP. But, if this is allowed to stand by people of good reasoning and conscience, then, this country is with military speed precision sliding into totalitarianism. By implication, there may not be an opposition structure to contest with the APC in 2023 and beyond- a betrayal of the struggle towards the institutionalization of democracy PDP started.
“To be categorical about our stand, we do not condone corruption as a party- EFCC is a brainchild of the People’s Democratic Party. The party has internal mechanisms put in place to address internal issues – more reason we are saying this matter is not within the purview of the EFCC.
“We are therefore calling on the EFCC to focus on matters within its area of special competence. The EFCC should resist the temptation of becoming a wing of APC.”