Prominent Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark, on Thursday, said he would appear before any court to testify in the alleged $15m bribe offered the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, by former Delta State Governor, James Ibori.
Clark, who spoke with journalists in Abuja, also called on President Goodluck Jonathan to remove the current EFCC chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde.
The former Federal Commissioner for Information described as disappointing the anti-graft agency’s handling of the alleged Ibori bribe.
Clark, who looked visibly angry, accused the agency of changing its testimony on the ownership of the money after it had in 2007, sworn to an affidavit that the said fund was from Ibori.
The Federal Government had on October 29 asked an Abuja Federal High Court to summon Clark, to explain why he should not be charged with contempt over statements he allegedly made concerning the bribe.
The Federal Government, through the EFCC, and the Delta State Government are claiming ownership of the $15m, but a private citizen, Mr. Olalekan Bayode, represented by a United Kingdom-based lawyer, Mr. Femi Aina, joined in the case by asking the court not to forfeit the cash to any of the two governments.
Aina prayed the court to order that the money be placed in a trust to be used for the well-being of Nigerians.
Clark said on Thursday, “I am further alarmed why there should be two contradictory depositions by the EFCC when Bello Yahaya, a Senior Superintendent of Police with EFCC, first in 2007 in Re: Suit No.FHC/FD/81C/2007 swore to an affidavit that James Ibori made attempt to bribe them with the $15m in question but made a turnaround in 2012 in Suit N0…FHC/ABJ/CS/415/2012 to state that he had the consent and authority of the EFCC Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde to swear a contrary affidavit ‘that I know as fact that the said $15m is an unclaimed property and no one has claimed or shown any link to the sum.’
“From the foregoing, as someone who has religiously campaigned against corruption and falsehood in Nigeria, I believe there must be a limit to official deception.
“I therefore find it unacceptable that the very institution set up to fight these social vices headed by Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde is now championing falsehood.
“In the light of this, I demand an immediate restructuring of EFCC so as not to make the international community view our anti-corruption agencies as ineffective, having displayed such double standards as in the James Ibori saga.”
Meanwhile, he has called on the Legal Practitioners Ethics and Privilege Committee of the Nigeria Bar Association to commence a review of all those conferred with the Senior Advocate of Nigeria.”