SaharaReporters initially reported that EFCC representatives had attended the Saraki briefing. But our impression was later corrected by a press release signed by Wilson Uwujaren, the EFCC’s head of media and publicity.
Officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) told SaharaReporters that the agency has not honored the invitation by Senate President Bukola Saraki to brief him on ongoing anti-corruption efforts. One senior official of the EFCC stated that the agency saw very little use in taking up Mr. Saraki’s invitation, hence the decision to distance the agency from the so-called briefing.
Another official of the agency defended the EFCC’s decision. “We would ordinarily welcome an invitation to inform lawmakers about our work,” he said. “But we felt that this particular briefing has a political undertone,” he added. “We believe the senator was calling us so that he could claim that he is supporting the ongoing anti-corruption efforts,” he explained.
At the briefing, Mr. Saraki declared that he was committed to “zero tolerance” for corruption in the National Assembly.
Mr. Saraki’s July 6, 2015 meeting featured Senator Saraki, some members of the National Assembly, and the chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses Commission (ICPC).
Officials of the EFCC, who first tipped off SaharaReporters that Senate President Saraki had invited them to the briefing, stated that the senator has no right to summon the anti-corruption agencies, in part because the current National Assembly has not made committee appointments.
Mr. Saraki has a long dossier of alleged corrupt acts, both as a director in the moribund Societe Generale Bank of Nigeria, and as a two-term governor of Kwara State. He and associates, including his sister, Gbemi Saraki, were accused of defrauding Societe Generale Bank of various sums of money.
EFCC agents also have allegations that former Governor Saraki plundered billions of naira during his term as governor.