THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said yesterday it has uncovered alleged plot by a businessman, Abdulhamid Mahmud Zari, to frame up one of its key investigators, Mr. Abubakar Madaki.
The commission said the businessman, who has been under probe, was peddling rumours that Madaki allegedly extorted N4 million from him to secure bail.
The EFCC said Madaki was never part of its investigating team looking into allegations against the businessman.
It claimed that a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), who is being investigated by the EFCC, was suspected to be behind the smear campaign against its key investigator.
It clarified that contrary to insinuations, Madaki is not a Personal Assistant to the Acting Chairman of EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu.
The EFCC made the clarifications in a statement in Abuja by its Head of Media and Publicity, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren.
“The attention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC has been drawn to a report entitled, “Businessman accuses Magu’s aide of N4m extortion”, which appeared in a newspaper of June 9, 2018 and syndicated in various online platforms.
The report purports that Madaki, an operative of the commission whom they referred to as personal assistant to the acting chairman, obtained N4 million from a certain Abdulhamid Mahmud Zari, a suspect under investigation for alleged money laundering by the commission, to grant him bail.
“The commission wishes to state that there is no truth to this allegation, which is contrived to malign and impugn the reputation of Madaki, an operative who has handled several high profile investigations without blemish.
“What is currently playing out in select media outlets is the unraveling of a vengeful script by Zari and his cohorts to impugn the integrity of Madaki and bring him to public ridicule.
“It will interest members of the public, who may have been misled by the mischievous story, to know that Zari has been crossed with Madaki over suspicion that he instigated the investigation leading to his arrest and detention by the commission.
“Soon after he was released on bail, Zari launched a media offensive against Madaki, accusing him of buying half of the land in his home town, Keffi for N10 billion. He also claimed that the officer owns two palatial mansions in choice areas of Abuja worth N250million.
“In line with the commission’s stance on professional responsibility by officers and men, the phantom allegations were duly investigated by the commission and found to be baseless.
“That the ludicrous charge failed to hurt the career of Madaki has not deterred Zari. He engineered the arrest of the officer after he wrote a petition to the Police at Nasarawa Command, alleging that Madaki and his brother had conspired to kill him during the Ramadan of 2017. Madaki was detained for a day in Lafia.
“ The case was eventually transferred to the Nigeria Force Headquarters for proper investigation. The police have already concluded investigation and the case file sent to the Office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice.
“Once Zari discovered that Force Headquarters had stepped into the matter, he proceeded to Lafia and again got four members of Madaki’s family arrested, including a 76-year-old man Hashimu Sale, who later died in prison while on remand.
“He also got his lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, to sue the commission and Madaki for continuously inviting him. Other relief he sought was an order of court stopping the commission from further investigating him. This was rejected by the court. He proceeded on appeal to the appellate court.”
The anti-graft agency said Madaki was never at any point a member of investigating team on the allegations against Zari.
It also explained that Madaki did not demand bribe from the affected businessman.
The statement added: “Zari has now changed gear by bringing up fresh allegations against the officer. Now, he would have the world believe that he was extorted N4m to be granted bail in an agency that is not known for collecting money to admit suspects on bail.
“ What makes the allegation more ridiculous is the fact that Madaki is not the officer handling Zari’s investigation. He is not even a member of the team. It, therefore, beats the imagination how an officer that is not involved in a case would be the one demanding money for the bail of a suspect.
“If Zari is persuaded that he paid bribes to secure bail from the EFCC, he is obliged to take the additional step of stating the time, place and circumstances in which the money was collected from him and by who, together with witnesses to the transaction.”
The EFCC implicated a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, who is currently being investigated by Madaki, as one of those behind the smear campaign against the commission.
It said: “Zari, unfortunately is not acting alone. Intelligence available to the commission indicates that the invidious publications are sponsored and promoted by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, who is currently being investigated by the same officer.
“The objective is clear, to intimidate Madaki and the EFCC, and prepare the grounds for claims of malice or vindictiveness by the time charges are filed against the suspects in court.”