The attention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has been drawn to a report in the Daily Trust newspaper of Monday, January 2, 2017, captioned, ‘EFCC Yet to Submit Report to N/Assembly’. The report among others, claimed that the Commission was in violation of its statutorily obligation to submit an Annual Report to the National Assembly by September 30.
This claim is not only false but shocking, coming from an otherwise respected medium like Daily Trust. Going through the report, it is pathetic that no attempts were made to verify the status of the report from either the EFCC or the relevant Committees of the National Assembly beyond the puerile claim that , ” The Chairman of the Senate Committees on Anti-corruption and Financial Crimes, Senator Utazi and his deputy, Senator Mustapha Sani (APC, Niger) were not available for comments last night”.
Relying on anonymous sources purportedly from the National Assembly, Daily Trust proceeded to paint a picture that fits perfectly into a script that leaves nothing to the imagination. According to Daily Trust, “The source added that the non-confirmation of the commission’s acting Chairman Ibrahim Magu contributed to the delay in the submission of the report”. Pray, how did the non-confirmation of Magu on December 15, 2016 affect a report that was due for submission in September?
Not done, the newspaper claimed that, “Many lawmakers, former and serving are indicted in the EFCC reports, some before they were elected and others even while serving in the House or the Senate. So also are officials at the Presidency. It is not convenient for lawmakers to start debating a report that exposes them to ridicule.
“Imagine an EFCC report that graphically presents eight principal officers and some members of the Senate and Reps and their fraudulent financial transactions including their hitherto unpublicised trails in a legislative session. There is also the pressure from the Presidency who are supposed to act on the decisions of the National Assembly on such reports exerting pressures on lawmakers to step down the report and move on,” he said.
These views purportedly attributed to National Assembly members are the invention of the authors of the story. No lawmaker worth his salt will make such comments as EFCC Annual Reports are not about individuals, but usually laden with facts and figures regarding its activities in a given year. It is obvious that Daily Trust is ignorant of the contents of a typical EFCC report and has visited this tragedy on its readers.
For the avoidance of doubt, the EFCC has never defaulted in submitting its annual reports to the National Assembly. The 2016 report was duly submitted and acknowledged by the relevant Committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives. A minor check with the relevant committees of the National Assembly, which the ethics of responsible journalism recommends, would have saved Daily Trust the blush of this monumental gaffe.