The House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions yesterday sought a warrant of arrest to compel appearance of the Acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Ibrahim Magu to answer questions relating to the freezing of the accounts of former First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, by six banks.
When picked up, Magu is to further defend his commission against allegations by Mrs. Jonathan that her life is daily being harassed by officials of EFCC over charges of corruption.
Most worrisome, according to her lead counsel, Charles Ogboli, is the claim by the banks that they act based on orders from the commission.
Following this, the committee chairman, Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, gave the banks two weeks to avail the petitioners with various orders they claimed to have gotten from the EFCC.
The petitioners are to further meet officials of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), within the next two weeks, to reconcile their audited and bank statements with the revenue body, according to Nkem-Abonta.
This, the committee chairman said, would put to an end claims and counter-claims that personal and organizational accounts of Mrs. Jonathan are yet to be audited and annual returns published.
All parties to the petition by Mrs. Jonathan were present at yesterday’s resumed hearing, except the anti- graft agency.
Angered by the development, she adopted a motion by Kingsley Chinda, who prayed members to compel Magu’s appearance on November 7 this year.
The House Speaker Yakubu Dogara would have to endorse and forward the warrant to the Inspector General of Police, who would effect the arrest.
In the motion, Chinda had decried EFCC’s absence in the hearing for the fourth time, despite repeated invitations, and prayed the committee to urgently compel him to appear through a warrant.
“The action of the EFCC boss is hampering the quick determination of the petition by Mrs. Jonathan. This commission has consistently failed to appear before this committee. This country is governed by law and not by force. If the EFCC thinks that they are above the law, we will tell them that they are not.”
The panel had in July this year, upon the receipt of the petition dated 4th May, 2017 invited officials of the affected banks, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to explain their roles in the alleged maltreatment of the former president’s wife.