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Monday, 16 July 2012

$3m subsidy scandal: Why EFCC was sidelined

The controversy over the alleged $3million fuel subsidy bribery scandal involving a member of the House of Representatives, Farouk Lawan and a business mogul, Mr. Femi Otedola, took a fresh twist weekend as new facts emerged why the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was sidelined in the investigation and possible prosecution.
Acting Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujiaren, said the agency couldn’t get involved because of the active role being played by the police. “The EFCC and police can’t be involved at the same time, since the police authorities have taken over the case, EFCC has no business there for now. Two government agencies can’t get involved over the same case,” he said.
What is, however, surprising is the utter relegation of the EFCC to the background in the investigation and prosecution of the suspects.
According to laws setting up the EFCC, it is empowered to investigate and prosecute economic and financial crimes. The enabling law creating the commission gave it very wide powers to deal with economic and fraud crimes with specific references to enforce the provisions of laws and regulations relating to economic and financial crimes, including: 
Economic & Financial Crimes Commission Establishment Act (2004), the Money Laundering Act 1995, the Money Laundering (Prohibition) act 2004, the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, the Failed Banks and Financial Malpractices in Banks Act 1994, The Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act 1991, and the Miscellaneous Offences Act.
Further investigations by Daily Sun revealed that there is a cold war between the leaderships of the police force and EFCC as the latter feels cheated in the prosecution of the bribing scandal. As the one week assurance given by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke (SAN), over the prosecution of indicted oil marketers by the EFCC ends on Wednesday, tension is high over whether the commission will live up to its name and recover the stolen subsidy fund.

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