Wednesday, June 16, 2021

EFCC quizzes ex-gov Dakingari over fraud allegation


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Governor of Kebbi State, Alhaji Saidu Dakingari

Former Governor of Kebbi State, Alhaji Saidu Dakingari, was on Monday, quizzed by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), for alleged corruption.

This is even as the Chairman of Commission, Ibrahim Lamorde, on Monday, denied allegations that suspects who are being investigated for alleged corrupt practices by the Commission are made to give their statements under duress

A team of detectives from the Economic Governance Unit of the anti-graft agency interrogated the former governor for alleged abuse of office, misappropriation of funds and money laundering-related offences.

A top operative of the commission told our correspondent that the commission was probing the former governor for offences he allegedly committed during his tenure as a two-term governor of Kebbi State from 2007 to 2015.

Investigations revealed that the ex-governor reported at the Idiagbon House Headquarters of the commission to honour the agency’s invitation at 10am on Monday.

As at the time of filing this report, Dakingari was still undergoing the interrogation with the EFCC operatives.

Spokesman of the Commission, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed that the former governor was invited and that he reported at the commission on Monday.

He said: “The former Governor of Kebbi State was invited and he honoured the invitation.”

Prior to Dakingari’s invitation, the commission had invited his wife, Hajia Zainab Dakingari, who is one of the daughters of former President Umaru Ya’Adua, for interrogation over an alleged N2 billion fraud on July 22, 2015.

Meanwhile, the EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde, on Monday, denied allegations that suspects who are being investigated for alleged corrupt practices by the Commission are made to give their statements under duress.

Lamorde, who spoke in his office, when two officials of Amnesty International (AI), paid him a visit, said the state-of-the-art recording facilities in the EFCC interrogation rooms would not allow any interrogator to humiliate a suspect.

He said: ‘‘The EFCC follows the rule of law. Our statements are recorded and are not taken under duress. Our rooms have cameras in them, so it is not possible to humiliate anyone.”

Lamorde, who expressed gratitude to the AI team for opening an office in Abuja, also described corruption as the worst type of human right abuse, adding that AI must continue to lend its voice to the anti-corruption war in Nigeria.

He said: ‘‘Western countries must end the impoverization of developing countries. They must reject and return stolen funds, so that respective governments of the affected developing countries could use the money to better the lives of the poor in their countries. It is the common wealth of the people that has been diverted for private use. So, it is the worst form of human rights abuse. When corruption and impunity become the order of the day, human rights abuses flourish.

‘‘When you consider the cause of water-borne diseases suffered by people in rural areas, it is because someone has diverted the funds meant for pipe borne water in those areas. Also, when you consider the fact that our hospitals lack the basic amenities, it is because some people have kept the funds allocated to the hospitals to themselves. I, therefore, urge you to consider partnering with the EFCC,” he said.

In his remark, Mr. Colm O Cuanachain, Senior Director, Office of the Secretary General of Amnesty International, said that only nations that take anti-corruption war seriously could experience ‘‘phenomenal growth”.

Cuanachain, who further expressed the readiness of AI to partner EFCC, also talked about the activities of the AI in the North- Eastern part of Nigeria, the Niger Delta and Port Harcourt, Rivers State, where he said corruption had contributed to human rights violation.

He, however, decried death penalty as punishment for looters of the treasury, adding that ‘‘it is not the best option in the fight against corruption.”

Also, in his closing remark, Executive Director, Amnesty International Nigeria, M.K. Ibrahim, emphasized the need for the masses to be educated on the effects of corruption and human rights violations.

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