There are strong indications that President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan may be considering the sack of the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, over non-performance and alleged corruption.
A presidential source who spoke on the grounds of anonymity confirmed the report during an exclusive chat with our Correspondent.
According to the source, “Yes, it is true. President Jonathan is seriously considering the sack of the EFCC Chairman, Mr. Lamorde. You will agree with me that the EFCC under him is not working. There are uncountable cases of corruption hanging around his neck and you know, that it is not good for someone who is supposed to lead the fight against corruption. In fact, I can authoritatively tell you that Mr. President is quietly shopping for a replacement for him. He needs someone that will be bold and sincere in the anti- corruption war. President Jonathan wants somebody who will be bold enough to ask him the right questions and investigate even his own aides. He does not want dirty deals.”
Atlantic Reporters’ investigations revealed that there are several indicting reports against Mr. Lamorde, emanating from intelligence gathering around the Commission.
An impeccable government source further revealed that the Presidency is inundated with petitions on the activities of the Anti-corruption Agency, a situation that compelled him to embark on secret investigations on the matter.
“Daily, Mr. President’s office is flooded with petitions against the activities of the EFCC leadership. The petitions became so much that President Jonathan personally decided to investigate the allegations. His special team embarked on sting operations and later forwarded their reports to the President. I do not have the details of their report, but I know that they are not very favourable. Even without that, every Nigerian can testify that the anti-corruption war under the present EFCC leadership is a joke.”
Further investigations revealed that the National Assembly Committee on Anti-corruption recently visited the Commission, as well as other Anti-corruption Agencies as part of their oversight functions.
The report of the visit is also said to be unfavourable to the EFCC, as, according to a National Assembly source, “the EFCC Chairman’s presentation, as well as his response to questions were incoherent.”
Part of the allegations leveled against Mr. Lamorde is that he compromises the anti-corruption war by accepting gratifications and freeing persons accused of corruption.
Another puzzle that the Commission under Lamorde has not been able to solve for Nigerians is the unreasonable number of Policemen in the Commission.
Available statistics suggest that out of about one thousand, two hundred and fifty Staff of the Commission, seven hundred of them are said to be Policemen, a situation stakeholders described as unacceptable.
While many see the EFCC as another arm of the Police Force, others blame their presence on the alleged corruption in the Commission.
“When you pack seven hundred corrupt uniform men from a terribly corrupt Police Force to handle an anti-corruption Agency like the EFCC, what were you expecting?”, queried a Civil Society expert.
Meanwhile, in anticipation of the obvious, a group that calls itself the Northern Emancipation Network has advised President Goodluck Jonathan to reinforce his administration’s war against corruption by appointing Hamza Al Mustapha, former Chief Security Officer to late dictator, Sani Abacha, as chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The group made the call at a press conference yesterday addressed by its Coordinator, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, who described Mr. Al-Mustapha as a ‘brave, fearless and honest intelligence officer’ capable of taking the administration’s corruption war to the desired level.
“While we commend Mr. President’s committed war against corruption, we advise him to reinforce the EFCC with an equally committed and dedicated head like Major Hamza Al Mustapha who is capable of moving the graft war to the desired level,” he said.
The group said corrupt politicians; particularly the “bankrupt northern political leadership” are already jittery with the release of Mr. Al Mustapha from prison after 14 years of incarceration.
According to the group, “even after going through 14 years of unjust persecution in the hands of these people, Mr. Al-Mustapha is not an officer known to harbour vengeance and will therefore carry out the corruption war unbiased without fear or favour.”