The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has cautioned politicians in the country against sending frivolous petitions to the commission.
The Head, Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, said in a statement on Tuesday, the commission would not allow itself to be used as tool for political victimasation ahead of next month’s general elections.
Uwujaren said the EFCC had received a lot of petitions from politicians alleging financial crimes against their opponents with a design to pitch the commission against such opponents.
He, however, noted that citizens with information on alleged financial misconduct against individuals need not have waited till election period to call the commission’s attention to them.
According to him, the anti-graft body had its own way of assessing petitions for investigation and would not act on those that fall below its standard.
He added that the commission had to make the clarification because of comments in some quarters that the EFCC had refused to act on petitions written against some politicians.
Uwujaren also stressed that it was an offence under the Act establishing the EFCC for anybody to supply the commission with misleading information.
He said, “In recent weeks, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the EFCC, has been alarmed by reports in a section of the media, accusing it of failure to act on certain petitions supposedly sent to it through the pages of the newspapers. According to the petitioners, the Commission’s failure to act had reduced their chances of success in the political arena.
“The Commission wishes to sound a note of warning to politicians not to attempt to use it as a tool for political warfare. In recent weeks, the EFCC has received many frivolous petitions alleging high crimes against leading political figures. Some of them came from the opponents of such individuals.
“While it is important for citizens to be whistle blowers, it amounts to self-help to attempt to instigate the EFCC against a political opponent. Citizens do not have to wait until election time to report alleged financial malfeasance.
“It is equally important that members of the public realize that it is an offence under the EFCC Establishment Act to write false petitions or supply misleading information to the Commission”.
The EFCC spokesman described as unfortunate, the attempt by some persons involved in crime to use the tool of blackmail to prevent the commission from beaming its searchlight on them.
He said that one’s office in a political party or position as a political office holder would not deter the commission from carrying out its constitutional responsibilities.
“Also, the trend where persons engage in acts of criminality and attempt to blackmail the EFCC from going after them by imputing political motives to the Commission’s enforcement activities is most unfortunate.
“Nobody is above the law. The fact that a politician is the standard bearer of any political party for any political office does not amount to immunity from investigation or prosecution for any acts of criminality”, Uwujaren added