A former Governor of Katsina State, Ibrahim Shema, is not on the run and is willing to submit himself to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to clear his name, his media aide, Oluwabusola Olawale, said yesterday.
The EFCC had on Wednesday declared the former governor wanted after he shunned several invitations since December 1, 2015 when he was first summoned to defend himself allegations of criminal conspiracy, inflation of contracts, abuse of office, diversion of funds and embezzlement running into billions of naira.
Mr. Shema, who was Governor of Katsina between 2007 and 2015, said the EFCC’s decision to declare him wanted was unjust and unnecessary.
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Mr. Olawale, in a letter addressed to the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, said his boss was ready and willing to defend himself against “Governor Aminu Bello Masari’s false and wicked allegations”.
In the letter titled: “Setting the record straight and demand for fairness, justice, and equity in accordance with the rule of law”, Olawale, who heads the media team of the former governor, said they were shocked to read publications quoting the anti-graft agency as declaring former Governor Shema wanted.
He then went on to state: “The fact is that the EFCC sent Shema an invitation to attend an interview with the anti-graft agency, in respect of a petition against the former governor by the current APC Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina state. That was in 2015. Ex-Governor Shema’s lawyers responded to the invitation by confirming Shema’s absence from Nigeria and requested that he should be given time to honour the invitation on his return”.
According to the media aide, In February 2016, the commission wrote on this subject and Shema’s lawyer responded accordingly, requesting their permission for his lawyers to be in attendance when the meeting would hold.
“In fairness to the EFCC and its leadership, they wrote and gave 28th June 2016 for the meeting, and Shema’s lead counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) left his tight schedule in Lagos and came to Abuja for the appointment only for them to be informed by 10 am on the same date that the EFCC officials handling the matter were out of Abuja on another assignment”, he said.
“Note also that he (Shema) will never run away from defending himself under any circumstances, therefore, declaring him wanted is unjust and unnecessary”, the letter reads.