LAGOS: THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) warned the public against trumping up charges against opponents as well as politicians attempting to use the commission for their own gains.
In a statement ahead of the elections, the anti-graft agency said it had been alarmed by reports in a section of the media, accusing it of failure to act on certain petitions supposedly sent to it through the pages of the newspapers.
According to the petitioners, the Commission’s failure to act had reduced their chances of success in the political arena.
“The commission wishes to sound a note of warning to politicians not to attempt to use it as a tool for political warfare. In recent weeks, the EFCC has received many frivolous petitions alleging high crimes against leading political figures.
“Some of them came from the opponents of such individuals. While it is important for citizens to be whistle blowers, it amounts to self help to attempt to instigate the EFCC against a political opponent. Citizens do not have to wait until election time to report alleged financial malfeasance,” EFCC stated.
The agency said it was equally important that members of the public realised that it was an offence under the EFCC Establishment Act to write false petitions or supply misleading information to the Commission.
“Also, the trend where persons engage in acts of criminality and attempt to blackmail the EFCC from going after them by imputing political motives to the Commission’s enforcement activities is most unfortunate. Nobody is above the law. The fact that a politician is the standard bearer of any political party for any political office does not amount to immunity from investigation or prosecution for any acts of criminality.” EFCC said its core mandate was fighting all forms of economic and financial crimes.
“Crimes of this nature have no political or religious colorations. It is therefore important that Nigerians, indeed all stakeholders, appreciate that the Commission has a responsibility to take on all perpetrators of economic and financial crimes irrespective of their political, ethnic and religious affiliations,” stated EFCC.
“The point which all stakeholders need to take to heart is that the Commission is a professional organization which will resist any attempts to, overtly or surreptitiously, drag it into the political arena ahead of, during or after the forthcoming general elections.”
SOURCE: CAJ NEWS AGENCY