‘Why we want James Ibori' by The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mr. James Ibori

By Elizabeth Archibong

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) declared James Ibori, the former governor of Delta State, wanted after he failed to respond to earlier communications over a new investigation into his activities while in office, the anti-graft agency said yesterday in Abuja.

EFCC officials said the rumour that Mr. Ibori was wanted for political reasons was therefore untenable and possibly arose because Mr. Ibori was declared wanted on the same day he claimed to have received his letter of invitation from the commission.

The commission had on Tuesday declared Mr. Ibori wanted over allegations in connection with a fresh ₦44 billion fraud. The invitation letter that was delivered to his Lagos office yesterday however, demanded that he appeared at the EFCC office by April 17.

This explanation is coming after Mr. Ibori's kinsmen at Oghara had warned the federal government against what they called the political persecution of their brethren.

EFCC's defence

"Chief James Ibori knows quite well that the EFCC has been looking for him for interrogation for over four weeks," a statement signed by the commission's spokesperson, Femi Babafemi, stated.

"When it was becoming increasingly difficult to locate him, the commission decided to get in touch with officials of [the] Delta State government to extend our invitation to the former governor through them.

Precisely, on March 22, 2010, our operatives investigating the case involving James Ibori, visited Delta and met with state officials in Government House, Asaba, to help the commission get in touch with Mr. Ibori to honour our invitation.

Through the same state officials, Mr. Ibori got back to our operatives on March 25, 2010, to ask that our operatives should return to Delta to interview him in the Government House, instead of him coming to the EFCC office, Abuja.

The leadership of the commission rejected the trap and insisted Mr. Ibori should honour our invitation by coming to our office in Abuja."

After explaining the different efforts made to reach Mr. Ibori, the EFCC's said, "our decision to declare him wanted was based on our previous contacts with him and not on the letters being referred to in the advertorial." The commission also stated that it was presumptuous for people to complain about the re-investigation, or say the matter had earlier been discharged by a court in Asaba.

"Our invitations to Mr. Ibori have nothing to do with the case decided by the Asaba court, as the commission has already appealed that ruling. We need him to answer questions based on fresh allegations bordering on official corruption and money laundering."

A gentleman's promise

The commission extended its assurance to Mr. Ibori that it respects the rule of law and individual rights and would treat him with decorum, as demanded by the law.

"While assuring him that our action is not in any way dictated by any political consideration, we implore him that what is important to us, and cardinal to the course of justice at this moment, is that he should come out of hiding and honour our invitation."

Source: http://www.234next.com/

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