Why EFCC is after Oronsaye …The NFIA Connection

From: Cheekless 2011

Azeez Razaq

Facts have emerged on why the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC has declared war on Nigeria’s former head of Service, Mr. Stephen Oronsoye.

An impeccable source at the Commission who spoke to our correspondent on the grounds of anonymity expressed displeasure over what he described as witch-hunt and blackmail of an innocent senior citizen by the leadership of the EFCC.

According to him, “This is a set-up to tarnish Mr. Oronsoye’s name for the following reasons: He personally wrote a letter reporting our Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT) findings to EFCC, which resulted in the prosecution of one Mrs. Chidi and Dr. Shuaibu.

“Why is it that after EFCC closed investigations in the Pension case in 2010, arraigned the subjects in 2011, obtained a “negotiated judgment” on one of the pension suspects in 2013, the Chairman in an obvious show of incompetence is now seeking to reopen the investigation by claiming that one of the suspects “wrote an additional statement” to include Mr. Oronsaye?

“For the benefit of those who have not been following the pension case –Mrs. Phina Chidi is the lady who has been covering her face in all the pension trial cases. This is a woman whom, investigation reports showed glaring evidence of her involvement in moving money from pension accounts using “her under-aged children”. How can a woman who ought to have been convicted all of a sudden become a star witness for the EFCC? Did the woman suffer from hallucination? Was she under duress after three years to forge a story against Mr. Oronsaye? Why now? Nigerians are not asking questions.”

“We are all aware that Mr. Oronsaye started the investigation of Pension fraud when he became head of Service. It is also a fact that can be checked out that he set up the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT) before he retired in 2010. He also personally submitted the final report of that task team to EFCC and ICPC and invited them to investigate and prosecute those indicted before he retired. How come the complainant is now being witch hunted? Instead of prosecuting all those found guilty, EFCC is now turning to claim that it has evidence to prosecute Mr. Oronsaye –forged evidence generated by his ‘selected investigators’ from the North, including Mr. Mustapha Abdurrahman and Mr. Mustapha Gadanya, a younger brother to Mr. Tahir, who, not only was a staff of Mrs. Chidi, but who has been dismissed from civil service for conspiring with Mrs. Chidi to steal Pension fund? Why is EFCC making a charade of such an important case?”

“Mr. Oronsoye is the chairman of the Presidential Committee on the Financial Action Task Force. He recommended the merger of the EFCC with ICPC and has been in support of the autonomy of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, a unit presently under the EFCC which has been battling the Commission for autonomy. The bill for NFIU autonomy has passed through a second reading in both the Senate and House of Representatives and what do you think that EFCC will do when it is obvious that the largest international donor funding comes to EFCC because of NFIU. Nothing in the whole story is either true or close to the truth.”

Continuing, the source lamented over what he described as criminal intimidation of innocent Nigerians, while the actual criminals in the system are allowed to walk the streets freely.

Reacting to a recent publication alleging that Mr. Oronsaye was involved in the diversion of N6.2b pension fund, a legal Practitioner, Barrister Mike Obasi described the report as an insult on the intelligence of Nigerians.

According to him, the report which stated that Mr. Oronsoye was grilled following a statement made by a Deputy Director, Pension Account in the office of the head of service, Mrs. Phina Chidi is a clear manifestation of set-up.

“Mrs. Chidi was said to have informed EFCC interrogators that she was given a mandate to shop for contractors who could make returns to the former Head of Service in the award of fictitious contracts which cost the country N5bn. She did not show any evidence of the mandate. In the Civil Service, instructions are communicated through formal memo.”

“She alleged further that the returns were made to Oronsaye through Shuaibu. Where is the evidence that there was such a transaction”?

“The said contracts were awarded between January 2009 and November 2010 when Oronsaye was Head of Service. Why did it take the EFCC three to four years before they realized it”?

“She alleged that the proceeds from the phoney contracts were paid into the accounts of two new generation banks before they were withdrawn by Shuaibu and taken to Oronsaye. You mean, he withdrew over N6b cash and delivered to Mr. Oronsoye? How is that possible? Do they think that Nigerians are fools?”

Continuing, Obasi queried why it took an additional statement after three years for Mrs. Chidi to try to robe in Mr. Oronsoye, describing it as born out of malice waxed in destructive swaggeo.

“If you read the report, Mrs. Chidi was quoted as saying, “In addition to my statement on January 11, 2011, I wish to state as follows: that I was asked by Dr. Shuaibu to shop for company names to execute our contracts, proceeds of which should be given to Mr. Stephen Oronsaye the then Head of Service.”

“After three years of her statement to the EFCC, she now remembered that Mr. Oronsoye should be included? This is a clear case of afterthought. Even a little child will clearly see that it is a set up. I am a lawyer and I can authoritatively tell you that the woman is being used to set the man up.”

Also reacting to the development, a human rights activist, Kazeem Abubakar condemned what it described as the loss of focus by the EFCC under the present leadership.

He revealed that Civil Society Organisations in the country are presently reviewing the activities of anti- corruption agencies in Nigeria, with the view to sanitizing them.

He further accused the EFCC under the present leadership of high level corruption and intimidation of innocent Nigerians, even as he accused it of encouraging corrupt practices in Nigeria.

Adding his voice, a Professor of Mass Communication and Public Relations consultant, Steve Akintoye lamented over what he described as a decline in the ethics of the Journalism profession.

He wondered why media practitioners go to Press without crosschecking their facts and asking relevant questions, siting the case in question, which report he said lacked substance, for not conducting proper investigations, asking the necessary questions and getting the other side of the story.

All efforts to reach the EFCC head of Media, Wilson Uwajuren for comments proved abortive.

One thought on “Why EFCC is after Oronsaye …The NFIA Connection

  1. Frederico

    this during an invetriew about a failed promise. The next day the story made it to our front page: “We fooled Makeni people.” Naturally, Mr. Politician didn’t like my story but he was on tape so there was no “I was misquoted” balderdash. Going back to my trip, after a long and exhaustive flight, I woke up on Nigerian soil fully refreshed to explore Africa’s most populous nation of over 140 million people. To move around, I walk or use taxis and buses. I also cherish a ride on an ‘Okada’ but do not feel comfortable with the way riders abuse traffic rules. Abuja, the federal capital is a beautiful, roadside-rubbish-accumulated-free city, created in the 1980s after the decision to move the Nigerian capital from congested and crime endemic Lagos. The federal capital boasts of many beautiful work of architecture, paved road networks including flyovers and a relatively impressive sanitation. I could not help but notice a construction boom in this administrative capital. Taxis as well as buses are painted in the country’s national colours. However, some taxis I have hired do not have the green, white and green painting. One cab driver explained. “Taxis are not allowed to enter certain areas, so if I paint my car as a taxi I will not go to some offices”. Here, I’ve found prices of some goods disturbingly very high in a style that is akin to fraud. Prices of most goods are four or five times their actual price and one is expected to haggle or pay through the nose. With my Pidgin English, I have easily adjusted to the system. What do I mean? Tell me the price of something and I will offer a paltry 10 percent price and we start negotiating. But are all Nigerian businessmen really money hungry cheats? In one instance, I inadvertently overpaid for an item. To my pleasant surprise, the businessman returned the excess money. I thanked him for his honesty and subsequently bought two items instead of one. Nigeria is undoubtedly famous for Nollywood. Perhaps, my interest in watching Nigerian movies goes back to ‘Living in Bondage’, the first movie that opened up Nigeria’s movie industry. Although I may have some reservations about the quality and originality of some movies, once in a while I still do find time to watch them. I have also met a number of leading Nigerian actors and actresses. Perhaps, one item that is not overpriced is Nigerian movies. Generally, one VCD goes for 200 Naira, less than 2 USD. In one movie shop, I was delighted when I saw the part 2 of a movie, the part 1 of which I had watched before. Before I could pay, the young seller asked whether I was looking for part 2 and told me to return it, disclosing that Part 2 had been mistakenly written on the box but it was actually Part 1 – another honest transaction. Added to my impression that Nigerians are not all that dishonest as is widely believed, I must reiterate that I have found many Nigerians very helpful as well. In my previous article, I stated how a young lady assisted me at the Murtala Mohammed Airport to get to a domestic airport, and how a civil servant assisted me to get to my Abuja residence several kilometers away from the airport and even paid the taxi fare. Coming to Nigeria has given me an opportunity to think deeply about the whole issue of ***** or fraud or taking money by false pretence, or call it what you will. Is this vice only made in Nigeria? Growing up in Sierra Leone under the old APC system, I still have vivid memories of a perennial no power supply and how we had to, most times, rely on kerosene lanterns. Whenever I had gone to filling stations to buy kerosene, somebody standing by the pumping machine and claiming to be the salesman would collect the money and would actually go to their office to bring the pumping equipment. After sometime, another person would walk up to me and ask what I wanted and would demand for the money. And when I had replied that I had already paid, he would then ask: “Did you pay to me?” I still remember these ***** incidents with bitterness. It was pure organised crime in a system where people had been publicly encouraged by late President Siaka Stevens to be corrupt, and where we were told that our education was not a right. And where was I to report that I had been robbed at a kerosene station? To the corrupt police? Or go to court where injustice was permanently waiting to further exploit the poor? So my experience of ***** goes back to my childhood. Contributing to fighting the ills of society partly spurred me into journalism. But even working as a journalist had not saved me from becoming a victim of *****. One of the so-called chiefs of Lumley in Freetown once collected my hard earned money and issued a receipt for an apartment that he said would be empty the next day as the occupant was moving to his own house. Everyday, the chief (the thief actually), told me come tomorrow, go and come day after tomorrow etc. One day, after many weeks of promises, his biological son was so upset that he informed me that his father had no place to rent at all. I believe in the rule of law so with the speed of lightning, I went straight to the police. After he was squeezed, he coughed up part of the money. And just in case you think I am the only victim of Sierra Leone *****, ask Osman Benk Sankoh and Idrissa Conteh (Atomic Pen), both of whom are former editors. They had been perfectly duped of good money by so-called well-respected people. Annoyingly, in some cases, even the involvement of a lawyer does not save one from becoming a victim. You see, ***** are thieves who make their ill-gotten wealth from a rotten system. Their actions are rooted in the fact that those who are supposed to make the system work sit in air conditioned offices using their pens to steal big time and deprive the masses – you and I. I call this official *****. Other ***** fool apparently greedy people who just want to make quick money through dubious means. Tell me, what business will I have for instance with someone who will come up to me and ask that I give him or her money with a promise to double or triple it? Why will anybody indulge in drug trafficking if he has no accomplices and willing buyers? Make no mistake, big Nigeria may have fraudsters, but small Sierra Leone also has its own share of rogues who steal on a daily basis making a naturally endowed country the laughing stock of the world. Like many Nigerians who support anti-corruption moves, some of us will always support any move to minimize corruption in Sierra Leone, but not political rhetoric – saying what people want to hear and they clap for you? Well, my sojourn to Nigeria has almost come to an end and I must point out that it has been limited to Abuja and Lagos. By and large, I have found many Nigerians to be friendly and a happy people who are especially passionate about clothes and parties during which they ‘spray’ cash as we see in Nigerian movies. One thing I have also observed in Lagos unlike some other African cities is the traffic. While the place is still dark at dawn, a heavy traffic is usually seen crawling along some main roads. It’s time to leave oil-rich Nigeria now, but memories of my visit will linger in a long time to come and how many Nigerians actually thought I am a Nigerian. I am off to Accra for few days but do hope to visit Naija in future for a much longer time. Take care!————————–

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