RE: REQUEST FOR COMMENTS
RE: REPORT BY THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE SERVICES
I most respectfully refer to your letter referenced HAGF/EFCC/2016/Vol.1/23 dated 19th December, 2016, asking me to respond within 48 hours to the allegations contained in a report written by the Department of State Service, DSS, and which provided the basis for the non-consideration of my confirmation on December 15, 2016, by the Senate.
Having carefully considered all the issues, I hereby present a point-by-point response as follows:
i. Missing EFCC Files
It is true that my residence was searched on the orders of Mrs. Farida Waziri, shortly after she succeeded Mallam Nuhu Ribadu as Chairman of the EFCC and some documents relating to cases under investigation were found in my house. At the time of the raid, I was yet to formally hand over to my successor, Umar Sanda, as head of the Economic Governance Unit.
My schedule at the time warranted that I work round the clock and it was impossible to conclude all assignments without working at home. The documents found in my house were actually found in my office bag where I kept documents relating to investigations. I was in the process of handing over and it would be wrong to suggest that I willfully kept the Commission’s files at home.
Nevertheless, the incident was thoroughly investigated by the police as I was placed on suspension without pay for 20 months. But in the end, I was reprimanded, recalled and promoted to Assistant Commissioner of Police.
It is important sir, to draw your attention to the fact that some of us that worked closely with Ribadu were victimized after his exit. And my ordeal was orchestrated as punishment for being the chief investigative officer for most of the high profile cases involving politically exposed persons some of whom became very influential in government at the time.
ii. Return to EFCC under Lamorde
I was Assistant Commissioner of Police in Charge of Operations at the Anambra State Police Command when I was recalled to the EFCC in 2012. I did not lobby to return to the EFCC. It is preposterous for anyone to suggest that I was recalled to do a hatchet job for Lamorde as alleged in the DSS Report. My job schedule as Deputy Director, Department of Internal Affairs, under Lamorde, was simply handling issues of professional responsibility in the Commission. I had no inputs in core operations duties of the Commission.
iii. Tenancy of My Official Residence
I live in the official residence of the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). This accommodation, contrary to the report of the DSS is not my private home, neither was it rented and furnished for me by Commodore Umar Mohammed (rtd). It was rented and furnished by the Ministry of the Federal Capital Territory through the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council, under the safe house scheme.
It is also false that the house was rented for N20 million per annum and furnished for N43 million. The entire cost for both two-year rent and the furnishing of the house is N39.628 million.
Details of the transaction are contained in the contract award letter and payment schedule which are attached to this letter.
iv. Expensive Air Travels
Honourable Minister, the claim that I have a penchant for expensive air travels in a private jet belonging to Commodore Mohammed is baseless The two times I can recall travelling in Commodore Umar’s aircraft, were on a trip from Kano to Abuja, and Abuja to Maiduguri. In the first instance, I had gone to Kano on an official assignment with two of my directors, and Mohammed who was on his way back to Abuja offered us a ride in his jet. The second occasion was when I was going to see my sick mother in Maiduguri. These, for me, were harmless gesture as we were both members of the presidential investigative committee on arms procurement. At the time I had no knowledge that he was under investigation for any alleged crimes.
Claims that I flew in Mohammed’s jet to Maiduguri in company of the Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, Nnamdi Okonkwo is false. I have never flown in a private aircraft with any managing director of any bank let alone one that was under investigation by my agency. I have no personal relationship whatsoever with him.
v. High Profile/Dual Lifestyle
The allegation that I live a flamboyant lifestyle is also surprising to me. While it is true that I did travel first class on Emirates Airline to Saudi Arabia for Umrah, this action to the best of my knowledge, did not contravene the directive of Mr. President on First Class travels as suggested by the DSS Report.
My trip to Saudi Arabia was a private journey to perform my religious obligation and it was not financed with public funds. More importantly, my decision to fly first class was not borne out of quest for luxury but compelled by necessity. The trip was made during the last ten days of the Ramadan and other classes of ticket were not availbale. I had no other choice
That I flew first class in one instance is not enough evidence to suggest an extravagant lifestyle as alleged by the DSS Report. It is also not enough to suggest a dual personality. Any one that has associated closely with me will attest to the fact that I am not known for ostentatious living. And my new office as acting chairman of the EFCC has not changed this.
vi. Mutually Beneficial Relationship with Commodore Mohammed Umar (rtd)