By Adenike Lucas
The arrest of Innocent Chuckwuma by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC remains a hot topic since yesterday.
As the company has noted, Dr Chuckwuma was arrested by the EFCC on the orders of Guaranty Trust Bank, GTB, which had inappropriately deducted N 786,205,955.99 from the accounts of Innoson Motor from 2004 – 2011.
The EFCC on their part, said it made the arrest because Dr Chuckwuma’s refused to honour an “invitation by the Commission having earlier jumped an administrative bail granted him in a case being investigated by the Capital Market and Insurance Fraud Unit of the Commission’s Lagos office.”
But, Cornel Osigwe, head of corporate communications, for the indigenous car manufacturers, who has put out a detailed statement, said the “EFCC lied,” about the arrest of the business man who was at the EFCC zonal office in Enugu before being moved to the Lagos office today.
He reaffirmed the position that the arrest was made because of the case involving GTB, stating that the “EFCC never at any time invited Dr Innocent Chukwuma either in writting or through any other means.”
He then challenged the anti-corruption agency “to show proof and evidence of EFCC invitation extended to Dr. Chukwuma; the various dates of the invitation and the letter of invitation extended to him.”
“EFCC also claimed that Dr. Chukwuma is being investigated by the Capital Market and Insurance Fraud Unit of the Commission’s Lagos office.
“We also challenge EFCC to show proof of this investigation: On whose petition is this investigation being carried out and proof of any letter on this investigation ever written to Innoson from this unit, stating also the month and year.”
The bank overcharged the bank account of Innoson and has been ordered to pay money back, but has not paid the monies as directed by the Federal High Court.
Instead it enlisted the anti-graft commission to “bundle him to Lagos like a common criminal without any prior invitation.”
Civil cases are usually settled in courts. Nigerians have made so many inferences as to why the EFCC took the decision it made on Tuesday.
Aniebonam Ifeanyi said the EFCC has “forgotten their mandate by law.”
Another, Ikenna Nzimora argued that “This gestapo raid of Innoson’s residence to arrest him, without a prior invitation or a court order is shameful.”
He stated that “A country which treats it’s producers with disdain is a country that will never make progress.”
The blunder made by operatives of the EFCC, which is superintended by Ibrahim Mustafa Magu is now being debated by lawmakers in the Senate.
A committee on anti-corruption and financial crimes has been directed to report back to the House within 24 hours, following a point of order raised by the Deputy Senate President.
Ike Ekweremadu cited order 42 & 52, earlier on when raised the issue of the invasion of Dr Chukwuma’s home, which he described as an “unlawful arrest.”
He said the issue was “a personal transaction between him GT Bank that’s already in court while he remains in police custody.”
Senator Sam Anyanwu, raised a question which DENISAURUS News has been asking over the past year about the EFCC.
“I want to ask a question. EFCC as it stands today, does it have a chairman? Because I knew in this chamber, the head of EFCC was rejected during screening because of poor performance and yet he has been there as chairman.”
Mr Magu’s nomination as the fourth substantive chairman of the EFCC was rejected following an indicting report by the state police. The Department of State Service had warned that self acclaimed anti-graft czar, would constitute as a liability to the corruption fight if confirmed.
Mr Magu has not only fulfilled the prophecy given by the DSS, he has also vindicated EFCC staff, who have being speaking to this newspaper for more than a year to reveal the corrupt act of their boss.
“How can a commercial transaction between a client and his bank lead to the involvement of EFCC and his arrest, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe queried.
He said we must say NO to this kind of impunity.