Ozekhome Calls For Strategic Fight Against Corruption

Legal Practitioner, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), has said that the fight against corruption is something that must be done strategically and in such a way that the image of the country is not being hurt.

He said this while speaking on the recent cash haul in Nigeria by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), adding that “it makes too much of headlines and makes Nigeria look like a country of corruption.

“All the headlines in the last two years, are just about corruption and no country in its right senses would want to come and invest in your country if all they hear every day is corruption, corruption, corruption; because there ought to be sanity.”

Reduced To A Trafalgar Square

According to him, such hauls are eventually turning Nigeria into a subject of ridicule and a laughable show for the rest of the world.

“In fighting corruption, you must do it strategically, in such a way that you do not hurt the image of your country. When you begin to make hauls of money, a lot of these monies, orphaned from septic tanks, from canals, from ware houses, from shops from houses, abandoned, even as in the Osborne case, from flat 7A, in a seven-storey building, where you also have 7B and suddenly, 7A had about 43 million dollars, 23 million Naira and 27 thousand pounds, yet no one owns it; with the key to one of the safes showing clearly; it begins to make us a laughing stock – It becomes ludicrous.

“We are beginning to reduce the entire anti-corruption fight to one of a Trafalgar Square in London or one of a national theatre cinema or one of Hollywood, Nollywood and Bollywood, joined together – That is not how to fight corruption,” the lawyer asserted.

He made references to the United States, noting that in their fight against corruption, investigations are done secretly and thoroughly until facts are unraveled.

“The equivalent arms in the United States of America from where we borrowed our democracy, the Financial Action Tax Force, the CIA, the FBIA, the FBI; when they are fighting corruption, you hardly hear anything about it – They first investigate very thoroughly, they get the people, they carry out quiet sting operations.

“Many a time, until they have secured prosecution, until they have secured conviction or they are prosecuting, you can never hear the name of any citizen mentioned as regards corruption.”

He also made reference to a phone conversation he had with some foreign friends whom according to him, had asked: “Is your country all about corruption and nothing else, are you people so corrupt that there is nothing else in governance?”.

Mr Ozekhome who has faulted some of the methods through which corruption is being fought, however noted that he is against corruption and does not believe in it because according to him, it “downgrades a country’s existentialism.”

Magu’s Rejection: A Slap On Presidency, All Nigerians – Robert Clarke

Magu's Rejection: A Slap On Presidency, All Nigerians – Robert ClarkeLegal practitioner, Robert Clarke, has described the Senate’s rejection of Ibrahim Magu as the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), as a slap in the face of the Presidency.

He made this known while speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily.

He believes that the request for a second letter should not have been made because the President had already cleared him of any allegations made against him by the DSS’ first report.

“By asking for a second report, then you should have allowed the presidency to be aware of this before his presence before the Senate, because this is not a slap in the face of Magu, it is a slap in the face of the President, this is a slap on all Nigerians.

“When your president in his position has nominated somebody and you found him wanting and he claimed that “I have looked into it”, that is enough for you not to be asking for another letter.”

Although, there are arguments that Mr Magu’s continuation in acting capacity as the EFCC Chairman does not necessarily diminish his ability to probe issues of corruption, Mr Clarke explained that there is a difference between acting and being a confirmed chairman.

“Under the law, acting is different from being a confirmed chairman. the EFCC Act says there shall be a Chairman of the EFCC who shall be nominated for that appointment as chairman by the President; however, it must be confirmed by the Senate.

“Now the problem is, before you can nominate to the Senate, you must have done your home work. In the sense that, for every appointee, the President asks the DSS to write a report on them.

“Why should in the case of Magu, the DSS write straight to the Senate instead of writing to the President, something is wrong somewhere. They did it the first time, it backfired on them, they have done it the second time. I think what we should ask ourselves is who authorized the DSS to write that second report,” he questioned.

Undue Complication

On the other hand, another legal practitioner, Isaac Anumudu, says the issue of Magu’s rejection, has been unduly hyped by some persons.

Senate’s Rejection Of Magu, A Slap In President’s Face – Robert Clarke
Isaac Anumudu

“There is no complication whatsoever – It is just that certain gladiators, for certain reasons not yet known to Nigerians, are unduly hyping this issue and making a very simple, constitutional issue to look as if it is complicated”.

He therefore expressed worry over the fact that there could be something else that meets the eye on the issue which according to him, is accentuating it beyond the way it is meant to be.

Quoting Section 2 (3) of the EFCC Act, Mr Anumudu, explained that the nomination and subsequent confirmation of the EFCC Chairman is not a duty of the President alone as it is subject to the confirmation of the Senate.

“We are in a democracy and the intendment of section 2(3) is to take away arbitrary powers from the executive because the issue of EFCC chairmanship is a very tough position and seeing the damage corruption has done to our society, the intention was to put someone there who would be above board, who would be transparent.”

Mr Anumudu however stated that beyond the Senate’s explanation that Magu’s rejection was not based on the DSS report alone, it was glaring to Nigerians that he seemed incompetent for the job.

“Some of us watched the screening and we saw that Magu was rejected not on the report alone but based on his inability to show competence for the job.

“He was asked critical questions based on his job which he could not answer,” he stressed.

Mr Magu has been in acting capacity as EFCC chairman since November, 2015.

This occasion marked the second time in three months that he is being rejected by the lawmakers.