Indication has emerged that even though the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) claimed to have been investigating the former minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, over the purchase of two armoured cars at N255 million, the Commission has however, never invited her.
This is in addition to the disclosure by the EFCC that out of the 533 cases it charged to court in 2013, it got 117 convictions losing 416.
At a media briefing Friday at the commissionâ€™s headquarter in Abuja, the spokesman of the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, who said the commission doesnâ€™t need to physically invite Princess Oduah before carrying out its investigation, pointed out that what should interest Nigerians was not â€œwhether the EFCC has invited Princess Oduah or not, but whether the EFCC is investigating the allegations or not.â€
â€œI can tell you that the commission is on top of the case and is investigating it. In due course, Nigerians will be told the outcome. No responsible law enforcement organisation gives prior notice of invitation to a suspect in a matter.â€
The EFCC also said that it has not closed the case on the recovery of more of the loot stashed in foreign banks by late president Sani Abacha, but that as new leads emerged, the commission would swing into action. In addition, the commission reiterated it stands that it doesnâ€™t have the right to stop indicted politicians from contesting in the 2015 general elections. Mr. Wilson said that was the role of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Speaking on the 117 convictions gotten in 2013, an improvement from the 105 convictions it recorded in 2012, Wilson said the EFCC would have gotten more convictions, but for certain encumbrances from the court, including delays.
â€œIn recent weeks, the commission has had to re-arraign many of the suspects undergoing trials at Federal High Courts and some State High Courts due to the transfer or elevation of members of the bench in these courts.
Resources and time have been wasted in the process but the commission is not deterred.
We remain committed to bringing these matters to logical conclusion within the ambits of rule of lawâ€.
He added that the commission was optimistic of improving its conviction record in 2014, going by the new practice directive by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, on the expeditious handling of corruption cases in courts, since the rate of conviction was the global benchmark for assessing the effectiveness of a law enforcement agency.
The EFCC then appeals to stakeholders within the justice system to ensure that the objective of the new practice directive is achieved for the benefit of the country.