The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has dismissed allegations by the Governor of Zamfara State, Bello Matawalle, that the chairman of the commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa, demanded a two million dollar bribe from him. The governor, who is currently under investigation for corruption, made the allegations during an interview with BBC Hausa. He insisted that Bawa could not be trusted and that he was being investigated because he refused to offer the EFCC chairperson the money he requested from him.
In response, EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, issued a statement on Friday night, dismissing the governor’s allegations and stating that Matawalle has no evidence against Bawa. According to Uwujaren, “Matawalle’s recourse to mudslinging is symptomatic of a drowning man clutching at straws. But despite the irritation of his phantom claims, the Commission will not be drawn into a mud fight with a suspect under its investigation for corruption and unconscionable pillage of the resources of his state. If Matawalle will be taken seriously, he should go beyond saber-rattling by spilling the beans by providing concrete evidence as proof of his allegations”.
The EFCC’s response comes amid growing tension between the commission and the Zamfara State government. Matawalle has been at loggerheads with the EFCC since he assumed office in 2019. He has accused the commission of targeting his administration and using its powers to intimidate and harass government officials.
In February, the EFCC arrested the Zamfara State Commissioner for Finance, Rabiu Garba, over alleged fraud and misappropriation of funds. The governor had accused the commission of carrying out the arrest without his knowledge and demanded Garba’s immediate release. The EFCC, however, insisted that the arrest was carried out in accordance with due process and that Garba was being investigated for financial crimes.
The latest allegations by the governor have further strained the relationship between the EFCC and the Zamfara State government. The commission has vowed to continue with its investigation into the governor’s alleged corruption, despite the accusations of bribery. The EFCC has also called on Matawalle to provide concrete evidence to back up his claims, saying that it will not be drawn into a mud fight with a suspect under investigation.
The allegations by the governor have also raised questions about the effectiveness of the EFCC in tackling corruption in Nigeria. The commission has been criticized in the past for being selective in its prosecution of corruption cases and for failing to secure convictions in high-profile cases. The EFCC has, however, defended its record, saying that it has secured over 2,500 convictions since its inception in 2003.
The EFCC was established to investigate and prosecute cases of economic and financial crimes in Nigeria. The commission has the power to investigate and prosecute cases of money laundering, fraud, and other financial crimes. The EFCC has also been involved in the recovery of stolen assets and the repatriation of funds looted from the Nigerian treasury.
In recent years, the EFCC has stepped up its efforts to tackle corruption in Nigeria. The commission has launched several high-profile investigations into corruption allegations involving government officials and private individuals. The EFCC has also worked closely with international law enforcement agencies to track down and recover stolen assets.
Despite its efforts, however, corruption remains a major problem in Nigeria. The country has consistently ranked among the most corrupt countries in the world, according to Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index. The EFCC has called for greater cooperation from the public and other stakeholders in the fight against corruption, saying that it cannot succeed without the support of all Nigerians.