Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Now that Ibori has received bail, I think this is a good time to begin preparing EFCC's obituary. When charges against Dariye were dropped, I thought things could not get worse for the newly-revamped EFCC (i.e. sans Ribadu). However, Ibori's ability to get out of jail reflects why the EFCC should probably be written off as a has-been.

Newspaper reports offer a few reasons why the Judge released Ibori on N50 million bail. Ibori convinced the Court of the following -
  1. He was not a flight risk
  2. He would not interfere in the investigation
  3. He needed to be free to dig up the necessary documents that would prove his innocence.
  4. His health needed the sort of medical attention he could not receive in prison
As I consider these points, I am a little confused. I completely respect the Court's decision but wonder what the exact evidence was. When initially arrested, Ibori's bail was denied
because he was considered a flight risk, so what new information (other than the provision of three propertied sureties) influenced this change of heart? I do not think that between December and now, much has changed to reduce Ibori's wealth and connections, thus limiting the chance that he would flee prosecution. Furthermore, was the evidence of Ibori's proposed bribe to Ribadu not introduced during this particular hearing? If it was, then how is it that the Judge was convinced that Ibori would not interfere in the investigation of his alleged corruption? Also, if being able to personally retrieve documents necessary for the preparation of one's case where a valid reason to get bail, then everyone should be able to use that argument. And, finally, the EFCC argued that it would pay for Ibori's health care but apparently, Ibori's argument was much more convincing and thus he was released.

Simple - if the EFCC cannot keep a man who has over a 100 charges against him in jail, I don't know how they will ever be able to achieve their mandate. The EFCC is charged with investigating and charging corrupt individuals and officials. Many of these people will have the means, acquired through their criminal atcivities, to hire the best possible defense. Consequently, the Commission must present the best possible case in order to efficiently and effectively tackle corruption. The EFCC's this early in the case spells much trouble ahead.

If the EFCC plans to remain a relevant institution, then it must be able to handle the legal wranglings and schemes it will surely face. Especially in light of the fact that Ribadu is no longer its leader. Nevertheless, I must confess that when there was a shakeup at the EFCC, I began to have doubts about whether the EFCC would be able to maintain the achievements of its 'glory days'. Apparently, I and everyone else that had those concerns were on the right track.

One of the reasons why Aondoakaa was Nigerian Curiosity's Person of 2007, is that Aondoakaa tends to get what he wants. From the beginning of his tenure, Aondoakaa committed himself to whittling away whatever power the EFCC had. From his fights with Ribadu, to his promises to combine the EFCC and ICPC, then his recent announcement that the Federal Government will be introducing a new anti-corruption bill, it is clear that Aondoakaa, and his oga Yar'adua, are getting rid of the EFCC. Whether that spells the end of Nigeria's anti-corruption crusade is yet to be determined. But, let us all remember that Aondoakaa wrote a letter on Ibori's behalf to British Courts in 2007, stalling Scotland Yard's and the EFCC's investigation into Ibori's wealth. Therefore, if Aondoakaa wants Ibori free, it just might happen much sooner than most think. Considering the rapid decline of the EFCC, I will not be surprised if Ibori's case is eventually thrown out of Court and the man becomes a national hero of some sort.

It is for these and many other reasons that I can only say, "So long, EFCC. It was nice to have known you. Rest in Peace."

Further reading:
- Ibori, The EFCC & The Future of Nigeria's Anti-Corruption Crusade
- Ribadu's Removal
- Calls For Aondoakaa's Removal Increase
- Sabotage: Aondoakaa vs. Ribadu Et. Al.
- Nigerian Curiosity's Person of 2007
- Political Soap Operas: Nigerian Style

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Dojaa said...

I really think it was unfair to deny IBORI bail, afterall other governors who had been facing similar charges were roaming free too!

Anonymous said...

Did EFCC drop the charges against Dariye? I don't think so.

On Ibori's bail: How long can an accused be held on bail, and without bail?

What confused me was the fact that Ibori's bail was facilitated while the Judiciary workers were on strike.

guerreiranigeriana said...

sadly, once ribadu was removed, i lost hope in efcc...its disappointing and rather annoying...when you have a culture which seemingly promotes and protects those who rape and corrupt the country....regardless of whether other governors were roaming free on bail, this man's case is his own case with its own nuances-such as the fool trying to bribe ribadu....

...i too say rest in peace only consolation is that ribadu was not killed off, just ridiculously removed from his position...

Minor Insurrection said...

Haba, I know it’s fashionable to be cynical but aren't we pushing the limits?

The guy is still presumed innocent until the judge pronounces his sentence. Between now and then, attorney general (not EFCC) has the job of prosecuting (not persecuting him).

Even if Ribadu was around, he can only do so much; he can’t prevent a judge from giving bail. Mind you the terms of the bail were rather stiff; it was initially doubtful whether Ibori could meet it.

I hope Ibori gets a fair and swift trial. The course of anticorruption is better served when justice is not only done, but is seen to be done.

Yes, I have come out of the cold

Ms. emmotions said...

lol @ ur so long EFCC, very dramatic i tell u.

but truely, i think EFCC is just a matter of time. nobody understands why the court granted ibori bail esp. with their earlier stance of no bail for the guy, whatever their reasons for doing so now, ibori i think has won this time. sadly, ribadu's removal then was just in preparation to send EFCC to its grave.

so i join you to say ....farewel

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