WAR Against Corruption: EFCC free to probe Jonathan – Presidency

The Presidency has said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is free to investigate former President Goodluck Jonathan.

The President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, who stated this in Abuja on Friday, also explained that there was no secret pact between President Buhari and Jonathan to exclude the ex-President from the list of corrupt people to be probed by this administration.

There have been calls by prominent Nigerians, including the Senate Leader, Senator Ali Ndume, that Buhari should authorise the EFCC to probe and prosecute Jonathan.

Ndume had said, “Nobody is supposed to be above the law. If Jonathan is a culprit, he should face the law. If there is evidence that the former President should face the law, then, he should. After all, he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.”

Adesina told reporters that the Presidency had given the anti-corruption body a free hand to investigate and try anybody involved in corrupt practices. He said that the President was not interested in teleguiding the anti-graft agency.

Our repoters had asked Adesina if the EFCC would need the permission of the President before probing Jonathan. He was also asked to react to an allegation that Buhari had been reluctant to grant permission to the EFCC to investigate Jonathan.

In his response, Adesina said, “The President does not teleguide the EFCC in any way.”

Also, the Presidency on Friday said that Buhari did not sign any pact with former President Goodluck Jonathan or any past President, exempting them from being probed.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed this in an exclusive interview with one of our correspondents.

Shehu said that being an open person, Buhari would never go into a secret pact with anybody, especially concerning his administration’s ongoing anti-graft war.

He said that anything could be expected in the ongoing anti-graft war, which he described as “open-ended”.

The presidential spokesman said, “There is no secret pact between President Buhari and any past President.

“If you know or understand him, President Buhari is not the kind of person who will go into secret agreements. He is open about everything he does.

“The war against corruption is open-ended. Nobody knows how it will end.”

Shehu, however, ruled out the possibility that Buhari might have been on a witch hunt in his fight against graft.

He said government’s position is that former government officials can return their loots in order to escape investigation and trial.

He also declared that the current administration’s war against corruption knows neither friend nor foe.

He said, “But the President is not on a witch hunt. If you remember his acceptance speech after being announced as the winner of the 2015 general elections, he said without any equivocation that he would not victimise or subject anyone to witch hunt.

“One thing very clear from the way he has carried on with the war against corruption is that past officials of government have a window to return looted funds to avoid investigation and trials which may be drawn out and sometimes inimical to the exercise.

“People can help themselves and help the country without being noisy about anything.

“The President is aware that he is under watch, locally and internationally, in his handling of the war against corruption.

“Whatever international support he will get will depend on how open and effective his government is in carrying out the anti-graft war.

“To that extent, the war against corruption knows neither friend nor foe.”

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