Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Petitions was yesterday regaled with details of unremitted recoveries by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, totalling N2.051 trillion.
This was during a public hearing at the National Assembly on a petition written by one George Uboh, Chief Executive Officer of Panic Alert Security Systems, a property and financial recovery firm against Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Lamorde.
The petitioner stated during his presentations that out of the N2.051trn, Lamorde is to account for N1trn, which he has failed to provide explanations for its whereabouts. Uboh explained that the alleged un-remitted refunds comprised seized properties, assets and funds of individuals under investigation by the commission.
He also accused Lamorde of doctoring bank accounts and diversion of already seized loots. Uboh said he came about the sum through the commission’s own account. He said: “In December 02, 2011, via a letter sent to the Chairman, House Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes, EFCC stated that the aggregate recoveries from 2004 to 2011 (8 financial years) was N1,326,754,554,482:80.
“EFCC did not mention where the N1.3trn recovered was remitted to. EFCC’s claim that it did not recover up to a trillion is completely false.”
The petitioner subsequently gave the breakdown of the un-remitted recoveries as follows; 2004 (N7,070,693,130:00), 2005 (N965,651,737,039:00), 2006 (N6,622,261,783:79), 2007 (N7,700,150,381:20), 2008 (N18,141,628,546:98), (2009—N130,885,187,726:83), 2010 (N52,877,464,867:00) and 2011 (N137,805,431,008:08).
He disclosed further that in the commission’s summary of monetary recoveries covering the period 2003 to 2013 (11 financial years), the aggregate recoveries was N497bn, but did not mention where the money was remitted to.
Uboh who stated that the documents submitted were prepared under the chairmanship of Lamorde went further to disclose that the total recoveries to be remitted as confirmed by EFCC are N1.995trn, N48.9bn, N7.3bn and N.4bn, which put the total figure at N2.051trn.
Chairman of the committee, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, had earlier asked representatives of Lamorde, led by EFCC’s Director of Legal Services, Chile Okoroma out of the hearing room. This is because the commission had written the committee, asking to be excused from yesterday’s event, while seeking for a future date to appear.
Meanwhile, members of the Unity Forum in the senate, the group that supported the election of Senator Ahmed Lawan as President, yesterday opposed the public hearing. The forum claimed that the public hearing was unconstitutional and illegal because it did not follow the laid down procedures of the senate.
The group in a statement jointly signed by Senators George Akume, Ahmed Lawan, Abu Ibrahim and Barnabas Gemade said the probe did not follow the senate rule as contained in rule 41(1-3) of the Senate Standing Orders, which specifically states how petitions are handled by the parliament.
“In standard parliamentary practice, a petition is routed through either a senator or a member of the House of Representatives. Upon receipt of such petition, the representative, will inform the presiding officer of the chamber, and thereafter present the petition in plenary.
“Upon presentation in plenary, the presiding officer will invite the senator/representative to lay the same petition on the table in the chamber, which automatically becomes a public document.
“Thereafter, the presiding officer will refer the petition to the appropriate committee for consideration upon which, it would be returned to the senate in plenary. In this regard, nothing of the sort happened.
“We stand against this probe. It is illegal and unconstitutional because it did not follow our rules,” the group said.