Apparently disturbed by the deliberate refusal of acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu and other agencies of government to obey summons, the House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions, yesterday, vowed to apply the mechanism of the law to make them appear.
Other agencies accused of flouting summons include the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, and Petroleum Product Prices Regulatory Agency, PPPRA. Chairman of the committee, Uzoma Nkem-Aboonta, PDP, Ukwa East/West Federal Constituency, of Abia State, who spoke to journalists on the issue weekend, said: “Honestly, we are not having any issues or witch hunting neither are we trying to prosecute or frustrate the operations of the EFCC; in fact, we want to do everything to encourage them to continue the war against corruption.
“What we are trying to do is to call them because there are petitions before the House and referred to the committee on public petitions to make fact findings but severally we have invited the EFCC to come and tell us their own side of the story. “We have sent them more than seven invitations on various issues but they have deliberately failed to turn up for such invitation.
“We have acknowledgement copies of all our letters and summons to them to come and give us their own side of the story so we can draw a line and advise the House accordingly. “The non appearance of the EFCC is inhibiting our investigation in the allegations of high handedness and harassment; we can’t stop them from doing their work but we must ensure that in doing their work, they comply with the rules of engagement and laid down procedures.”
“Those deeply involved are the NNPC, PPPRA and DPR and this attitude has led to many inconclusive investigative hearings. ‘’Their non appearance has made the House resolve to seek other lawful means to bring them before the public petitions committee, because nobody is above the law, not even the Parliament and a creation of parliament cannot also be above the law.’’ Abonta said aside from the EFCC, such agencies as NNPC, DPR, accused of corrupt practices, had deliberately refused to respond to the summons issued them to give their own side of allegations against them.
“We are bothered and worried, but we are not surprised at the leaked letter of the minister of state for petroleum resources to the president on the NNPC boss, some of these things are subjects of petitions which the NNPC have refused to come to answer to. “Their absence inhibits our work, it delays our work and makes it inconclusive, otherwise we will have to conclude with that of the petitions alone and that is not good as it is against natural justice, so that is why we will use the mechanism of the law to bring them,’’ he said.
Recall that the EFCC just last week refused appear before the committee to explain the role it played when security operatives invaded property of the former First Lady Dame Patience Johnathan.