Ribadu: Why I Was Not Afraid To Arrest Tafa Balogun For Fraud •More Smarter Crooks Than Ibori Walking Free

RIBADU1Former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Malam Nuhu Ribadu, has explained why he (as an Assistant Commissioner of Police) arrested a former Inspector General of Police, Tafa Balogun.

He said since justice is blind and Mr. Balogun crossed the line, he had to face the music.

He also stated that former Delta State governor, James Ibori, who is currently serving jail term in the United Kingdom did not embezzle funds as much as other “crooks” in the country that are walking free today but that his greatest undoing was not being “smart”.

The EFCC under Ribadu in one of its most celebrated cases, had arrested and put the former IGP on trial for about N5.7billion official corruption.

But Ribadu, who bared his mind in an interview with “Zero Tolerance” magazine published by EFCC, attributed the feat and others to the fear of God.

He said: “Well, the point is that whoever crosses the line will be dealt with. Whether a constable or an IGP; it’s the same thing. The solution is not to cross the line.

“When you execute your mandate honestly, you become blind to the position of individuals. Justice is blind.

“So, Tafa Balogun was my boss as the Inspector-General of Police, but he crossed the line. He did things that were wrong and was brought to our attention, and the law took its course.

“To be honest, I thank God for having only one fear; that is the fear of God. It is not arrogance or anything, no it’s just that I feel what is right is right and in doing what is right, I don’t fear any mortal.

“I have never looked for anything in terms of benefit in any position I have occupied; even in the police, an IGP could not give me anything.

“A President could not give me anything. Obasanjo never gave me an office pin up till this very moment! Never!

“A lot of people feel EFCC broke several laws or Obasanjo gave me everything. What did he give me? The entire budget of EFCC from beginning up to the time I left was not up to N11billion for five years! We never got anything extra, never!

“The people we brought to justice were the closest people to him (Obasanjo), they were PDP men; but others will turn it upside down and lie. It’s really sad, and a lot of them got away with it.”

On Ibori, Ribadu fumed, “There are worse people than James Ibori in Nigeria. I think probably James was not the smartest one among them. There are some crooks worse than James; and I still see them.

“Some of them are even being celebrated right now in our country. Some of them are trying to re-write history. James didn’t handle his own criminal affairs smartly, and he ended up paying dearly for it.

“There are smarter crooks than James, who did more damage to the EFCC; but God will judge them. James is serving a jail term in the United Kingdom.

“So it was not only James and if we narrow it down to James alone then we are actually underestimating the way corruption fought back.”

Responding to a question, the police officer turned politician said the investigation of Ibori for fraud was not personal.