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Saturday, October 2, 2010

The two faces of the anti-corruption law

Since the establishment of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in May 2003, it has been accused at various times, within the period of its existence, of selective dispensation of justice. In fact, there were several cases, involving the agency, in which it was seen to have derailed from its statutory responsibilities. The most embarrassing of these cases was the blanket allegation of corruption it slammed on 31 governors on September 28, 2006, which, up to date, it is yet to prove.
There have been other grave allegations against the commission, such as highhandedness, intimidation, long detention without trial, bribery, collusion with offenders, and manipulation by the wielders of power. Even though the anti-crime agency has tried very hard to prove its mettle, much needs to be done by it to win the confidence of the majority of the populace.

Observers of national events will agree that the agency is at it again, as it is haunting down all those seemingly opposed, in any way, to the government in power. It carries on its duties without deference to the laws establishing it. More worrisome is its readiness to go a step further to convince its paymasters that it is efficient and willing to carry out their orders.

There is no doubt whatsoever that there are laws that are meant for those who have no godfathers in the corridors of power and another set for those who have Abraham as their father. For how else can anyone explain the freedom and liberty some persons openly accused of corruption enjoy when, in actual fact, they should be facing trial. Take, for instance, the Halliburton bribery scandal. Despite the publication of the list of the culprits in national dailies, the EFCC is yet to arrest, let alone prosecute them. Rather, the commission has chosen to look the other way while these big cheeses traverse the landscape like colossuses. Those it has chosen to arraign before the courts are the fronts for these mighty men. What example then is the commission setting?

Story By Orji Kalu [Okalu@orjikalu.com]
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