Nigeria's anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, has said it has begun to investigate a leaked audiotape in which Mohammed Idris, an EFCC operative alleged that the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, compromised cases of corruption in the country.
In one of the multiple audio recordings, the EFCC operative was discussing with one Abdulbari Yusuf, a younger brother to a retired Rear Admiral and former director of Navy Accounts, Tahir Yusuf, who was facing charges of corruption.
Idris, who is a lawyer, was also heard giving Yusuf’s brother hints on how to defeat the anti-graft commission at the Court of Appeal as well as ways to evacuate money from a particular account.
“If he has money in any account linked with his BVN (Bank Verification Number), he should quickly evacuate them. And if he makes transfers, EFCC will still trace it. He should only withdraw and then deposit into another account,” he had said.
Yusuf had also specifically mentioned Malami as the one in charge of the EFCC, and the minister had ordered the unfreezing of “big accounts” investigated by the commission.
“Malami now controls the EFCC. The commission is in his hands. Once Malami speaks, the account will be unfrozen. They are unfreezing suspects’ accounts, including the big cases,” the EFCC operative was heard saying in the audio.
He also revealed how the attorney-general introduced the suspect with a lawyer to handle the case.
In another audio, the operative was also heard castigating his colleagues for thoroughly investigating suspects, saying the colleagues were “devilish and terrible sets of human beings”.
Reacting in a statement on Thursday signed by Wilson Uwajuren, the EFCC's spokesperson said it had commenced an investigation into the issue.
The commission also stated that it did not condone acts of corruption while it condemned the actions of Mohammed Idris.
The statement reads, “The attention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has been drawn to a trending audio tape in the social media, where Mohammed Idris, a lawyer and seconded police officer with the commission, purportedly made unsubstantiated claims regarding the influence of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, on the commission.
“The commission wishes to state that it has commenced investigation into the content of the audio tape and will activate its internal mechanism to deal with the issues arising therefrom.
”For the avoidance of doubt, the EFCC does not condone acts of corruption. Abuse of privilege for financial gratification by personnel of the commission is a serious offence against discipline.
”Without prejudice to the outcome of the investigation, snippets of the audio recording clearly showed an abysmally compromised “officer” dropping names to ingratiate his benefactor, a relative of a crime suspect. By the alleged action, the said officer is no more than a corrupt fifth columnist with scant regard for the values of the commission.
“The action is contemptuous of the established Standard Operating Procedure of the EFCC. Such professional indiscretion has no place in the new EFCC. The commission encourages citizens who encounter any such unprofessional conduct by personnel of the EFCC to report to the commission in support of our quest to build a better agency.
”Reporting such conducts has been made easy by the Eagle Eye App, a financial crimes reporting application which was launched earlier in the year. We encourage members of the public to download the App from the Apple and Google Play Store and put it to use.
”Finally, the commission wishes to assure the public that its operations are guided by established professional precepts which do not support the kind of discretion that could allow for manipulation by external actors."