Efcc Denies Investigating Ibori over Clark’s Petition.

Press Statement: Chief James Onanefe Ibori, wishes the entire world to know that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has denied investigating Ibori on the petition from Chief E.K. Clark and some Delta Elders. At the Monday 10th May 2010 session of the Federal High Court, Asaba, counsel to EFCC, Mr. Chile Okoronma, proclaimed that the anti-graft agency was not

investigating Ibori based on the petition from Clark and the Delta Elders. He said this while trying to convince the Judge that EFCC was not re-opening the same exact anti-corruption case which the Federal High Court Asaba under Justice Marcel Awokulehin disposed of last December, discharging Ibori as innocent.

Ibori said that “for months now, my name has been maligned for no reason by the EFCC as both the electronic and print media have been suffused with news reports that I was being investigated owing to a petition from Clark and other persons. The said reports have bandied about sums of about N44 billion as the amount I was being investigated on. Such reports have also mentioned the allegations that I defrauded Delta State Government of such sums and used same to fund the purchase of Ascot Company. Despite my numerous statements to the effect that EFCC has yet to tell either me or the world why it has been set against me by the powers that be, such news reports have yet to abate. Yet, on May 10th, 2010, before an open court, the EFCC owned up through its legal counsel that it has not yet stated the exact reason why it had declared me wanted”.

Ibori’s Media Assistant, Mr. Tony Eluemunor, said in the statement that even on that declaration which was made on the 13th of April, around 10 am, six clear hours before EFCC’s letter of invitation was delivered to Ibori’s Lagos home, EFCC also sang a discordant note in open court, disowning that statement that it did not emanate from the agency. On this Ibori said “it is noteworthy that EFCC also disowned in open court a press release from EFCC’s spokesman, Mr. Femi Babafemi, declaring me wanted. According to EFCC’s lawyer, Mr. Okoronma, Mr. Femi Babafemi or any other EFCC official never signed that press statement. Of course, my lead counsel, Mr. J. B. Daudu pointed out to the Judge that EFCC was yet to publicly deny issuing that press statement, which has been quoted around the world since mid-April, just to malign my name.”

Meanwhile, putting the case in true perspective, Ibori’s counsel, Daudu told the court that “recourse to this court was triggered by incessant but disturbing publications in the newspapers authorized by the second respondent’s (EFCC) officials to the effect that applicant (Ibori) is wanted for criminal activities said to have been committed during his tenure as Delta state Governor. The basic thing is that this arose as a petition traced to some elders of Delta State and we came to court on 4/4/10 based on the fact of what we saw in those disturbing newspaper publications.

Mr. Daudu continued that it was after Ibori had “written to the EFCC to clear the air on the disturbing newspaper publications that EFCC introduced a new dimension by declaring Ibori wanted in a press release, and that before the letter inviting him to EFCC for questioning was ever delivered in his Lagos home”

Dauda then quoted legal authorities as the pivot of Ibori’s argument  “because if a person is wrongly accused of committing a crime, he is duty bound to protect his freedom from unlawful arrest, to protect himself from abuse or indiscriminate use of state powers against him”. As matters stand, Daudu told the court, Ibori has faced three discordant requests; through a letter, through a press release and through newspapers.

Then among other things, Ibori’s counsel asked the court to determine if it is not against Ibori’s Fundamental Human Rights, for the EFCC to assume the sole and exclusive powers of the Police Force in making arrests, as the court has the powers to stop EFCC from making illegal arrests or strike down those provisions of the EFCC Act in conflict with the Constitution.

Dawudu said: Ibori has been investigated, arraigned in court and discharged. So now no reasons have been given this EFCC affront against Ibori. Yet, the rights given to Nigerians in the constitution are not cosmetic; if we do not assert those rights, then woe on us all”.

Signed: Tony Eluemunor

Media Assistant to Chief James Onanefe Ibori.