The Presidency on Friday warned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to respond to a letter written to it on Tuesday by the Ministry of Justice about high profile investigations, or face sanctions.
The letter, which sparked off speculations of a rift between the ministry and the EFCC, directed the commission to submit details of its investigations into ‘serious cases’ to the Justice Ministry.
Such cases include matters with international dimensions, cases involving alleged misappropriation of N50 million and above; cases of fraud involving numerous suspects, among others.
According to the letter written on August 1, the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, accused the EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Magu, of violating section 10 of the commission’s performance regulation guidelines, 2010.
“I am directed by the Honourable Attorney-General and Minister of Justice to refer to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Enforcement) Regulations 2010 (the Regulation) published in the Federal Republic of Nigeria Official Gazette No.61 Vol. of 21st September 2010, particularly the obligations of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC/the Commission),” Abiodun Aikomo from the AGF’s office said in the letter to the EFCC sourced by The Cable newspapers.
“I am directed to refer specifically to Section 10 (1) which mandates the Commission to forward to the Attorney- General, in respect of a case of complaint which is serious or complex within the context of the Regulation, the outcome of its investigation(s) with its recommendations on whether there are sufficient grounds to initiate prosecution.
“The Honourable Attorney-General observes that the Commission has been in breach of the above cited provision of the Regulation for some time, hence this reminder to the Commission to ensure compliance going forward,” the letter added.
Shortly after reports regarding the letter were published by the media, the EFCC, and the justice ministry denied any rift regarding the matter.
“For the avoidance of any doubt, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, wishes to categorically state that it is compliant with all provisions of law and has no intention to stoke a misunderstanding over requests from the office of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice,” the commission said.
The commission also said the EFCC was not negating any known laws in the discharge of its duties.
However, the Punch Newspapers reported that the Special Assistant to the President on Prosecutions, Okoi Obono-Obla, on Friday waded into the matter, warning the commission to reply the latter or face sanctions.
“The EFCC cannot be more patriotic than the office of the AGF. Why is it that the EFCC is not cooperating when we are working for the same government? If the EFCC refuses to act on the letter, there will be consequences on acts of indiscipline and insubordination”.
Mr. Obono-Obla however said there was no ‘personality clash’ between the two organisations.
“There is no personality clash between the two heads. It is wrong to say that there is a clash. The EFCC is an institution and the office of the AGF is another institution. What we need is compliance. We should not personalise our institutions.”