Buhari won’t interfere with Senate probe of Obasanjo, others –Presidency

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The Presidency has said that President Muhammadu Buhari will not interfere in the ongoing probes being carried out by the National Assembly.

It said the Senate’s probes of the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, and the power sector from 1999 to 2015, were purely legislative matters and that the President could not stop them.

The Senate Committee on Business and Ethics is currently probing an allegation of diversion of N1tn proceeds of corruption recovered by the EFCC.

The Chief Executive Officer of Panic Alert Security Systems, Mr. George Uboh, had, in a petition submitted to the committee, accused Lamorde of diverting the money.

Also, the Senate Ad-hoc committee on power is investigating expenditures in the power sector under former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan.

When asked if Buhari had confidence in the probes of Lamorde and the former presidents, the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said the President could not interfere with the probes because of his respect for the principle separation of powers.

Adesina, who spoke with SUNDAY PUNCH, said, “There is separation of powers and the Senate has the power to conduct probes. Thus, the Presidency does not need to endorse or oppose any probe being carried out by the legislature. It is within their power to do so.”

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Power, Mr. Goodknows Igali, had on Monday told the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on Power that the government had spent a total of N2.7tn on the power sector from 1999 to date.

He said that power generation had risen   from 3,500 megawatts in 1999 to 4,600 megawatts presently.

Why we can’t investigate EFCC boss – PSC

There is also a strong indication that the Police Service Commission may not act on the report of the probe of Lamorde, which began in the Senate on August 26.

The PSC said it could not probe or sanction Lamorde over allegations of graft because he was not under the commission.

The PSC Commissioner in charge of media, Comfort Obi, said although Lamorde is a policeman, he is not subject to the supervision of the commission as he is an employee of the Presidency.

Obi said she could not comment on the allegations of graft against the EFCC chairman because the petition against him was not addressed to the PSC.

According to her, the petition was addressed to the Senate, which is investigating the allegations of graft levelled against Lamorde.

She said, “Though the EFCC chairman is a police officer, he is not under the Police Service Commission. We cannot comment on his case; he is now an employee of the President. Besides, the petition against him was not addressed to the Police Service Commission; it was addressed to the Senate, which is probing it.”

When asked if the commission discussed the petition with the Force headquarters, Obi said it was not discussed.

Afenifere, others dismiss probes

Some socio-political groups have dismissed the ongoing probes in the Senate. The pan Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, described the probes as a waste of time.

Its Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, in an interview with SUNDAY PUNCH, said “If you are probing all your immediate past presidents at the same time and the chairman of your anti-graft body is also under the radar for corruption, should it not occur to you that you have a systemic crisis?

“Probes are a mere waste of time under a structurally defective arrangement like this. Beyond exciting the public, nothing is going to be achieved. What we need to do is to smash the architecture of corruption. If we don’t, the vicious cycle continues.”

Uboh, had in his petition, alleged that Lamorde fraudulently diverted over N1tn proceeds of corruption recovered by the anti-graft agency.

According the petitioner, part of the money allegedly diverted by the EFCC boss included the loot recovered from a former Governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha; and ex-Inspector-General of Police, Tafa Balogun.

But the commission had in an August 24 statement by its spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, described Uboh’s petition as mischievous and intended to smear Lamorde.

The statement read in part, “The EFCC as an agency that is founded on transparency is not afraid of any ‘probe’ or request for information regarding its activities by individuals, groups or organs of government; so far as such requests followed due process of law.”

Culled from: http://www.punchng.com/news/buhari-wont-interfere-with-senate-probe-of-obasanjo-others-presidency/

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