A former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Farida Waziri, says the pioneer Chairman of the EFCC, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, also benefitted from the stolen funds deployed by the Peoples Democratic Party during the 2015 general elections.
The EFCC had arrested PDP chieftains across the country for allegedly receiving part of the N23bn disbursed by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.
Although Waziri made no reference to Diezani, she said in a statement by her Personal Assistant, Mrs. Omolara Oluremi, that Ribadu, who was the governorship candidate of the PDP in Adamawa State, received part of the slush funds distributed by the party.
Waziri’s scathing remarks against her predecessor were said to be in reaction to Ribadu’s claim that Waziri had a hand in his removal from the EFCC and frustrated the anti-graft war.
She said, “If Nuhu is yet to face the reality that the EFCC is a Federal Government agency and not a personal estate of anybody eight years after, I find it compelling to remind him, otherwise, one day he would wake up to blame me for his defeat in the 2011 presidential election and even his pathetic outing in the 2015 governorship election in Adamawa State despite the slush funds deployed to ensure his victory at the polls.”
Waziri also alleged that under Ribadu’s leadership between 2003 and 2007, billions of recovered funds went missing because of his failure to inaugurate an asset recovery unit.
She added, “There is also the need to remind Nuhu that before he succumbs to another logorrhea, he should avail himself a copy of the investigative report on recovered assets during his tenure as EFCC chairman and use the opportunity of the next ceremony or birthday party he is invited to, to explain to Nigerians what happened to billions of funds and assets recovered from suspects under him, with no records or documentation.
“He should be grateful to me that I cleaned his mess by creating an Assets Forfeiture Unit to put the records straight and do things rightly.”
Waziri, who described Ribadu as a political prostitute for jumping from one party to the other, argued that no blackmail could tarnish her image or erase her performance at the EFCC.
She said, “No matter how hard Nuhu tries to obliterate my tenure with his numerous lies, the record of over 450 convictions secured during my three and a half-year sojourn in the EFCC remains indelible.
“Though I inherited about 10 high-profile cases from him in 2008, we took over 75 of such high-profile cases to courts, with another 1,500 low-profile cases pending in courts as of my exit in November 2011. We initiated and commenced work on the permanent office complex of the EFCC sitting on a 5.5 hectares of land along Airport Road, Abuja, in addition to inaugurating offices in Maiduguri, Borno State and Ibadan, Oyo State to expand the commission’s scope of operations.”
Waziri challenged Ribadu to “explain to Nigerians what happened to billions of funds and assets recovered from suspects under him, with no records or documentation.”
While cautioning him to stop using her name “anytime he needs public attention or sympathy”, she also described as lies, recent comments by Ribadu accusing her of “being part of his imaginary enemies who frustrated the nation’s anti-graft war.”
According to her, the former EFCC chairman has always been obsessed with dropping her name into his script anytime he needs public pity or political relevance.
She said, “My attention has been drawn to a reckless and irresponsible statement credited to Nuhu Ribadu at a function on Wednesday in Abuja, where he, as has been his rhetoric since 2008 when I succeeded him as the EFCC Chairman, attempted to malign me by accusing me of being part of his imaginary enemies, who frustrated the nation’s anti-graft war.”
When contacted on the telephone, Ribadu referred our correspondent to his earlier statement against Waziri.
Ribadu had, in a paper he presented at the 2016 annual lecture organised by the Law Chambers of Chief Joe Gadzama (SAN), on Friday, accused Waziri and a former Attorney General of the Federation, Michael Aondoakaa, of promoting corruption.
He had said, “He (Aondoakaa) attempted to take over the prosecutorial powers of the commission, which would have rendered the EFCC to a toothless bulldog. But, of course, we resisted. He later found a partner in Mrs. Farida Waziri, who inflicted serious damage on the EFCC from which the commission is still struggling to recover.
“For the Halliburton scandal, corrupt practices that were unheard of became widespread and outside lawyers were brought in to handle very important cases that sometimes were turned into avenues of making money.”