Senate investigates petitions against Customs, others, insists on Lamorde’s probe
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, Samuel Anyanwu, yesterday revealed that his panel is investigation some petitions against the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and seven other agencies of the Federal Government.
Anyanwu made the disclosure while briefing journalists at the National Assembly yesterday, in his reaction to the opposition of some Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmakers to the planned probe of the Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Lamorde over alleged diversion of N1trillion funds.
“It is not only the EFCC boss that was invited. There are other petitions in which we have invited the petitioners and those that their petitions were filed against. We have the FIRS and the Comptroller General of Customs that are also coming tomorrow. So, I don’t know why this should be an issue. We are guided by the Senate Standing Rule and the 1999 Constitution to invite anybody when the matter arises,” he said.
The panel chairman described the call by the PDP caucus for suspension of the probe as a product of mis-information which had been sorted out. He said Lamorde is expected to appear before the committee to provide explanations to the issues raised in the petition, a copy of which, according to Anyanwu, had already been sent to him.
“As the Chairman Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, I am answerable to the Senate in the first instance. This committee attends to every petitions that come from the public. The invitation to the EFCC boss is one of those petitions, and the petitioner is going to appear before the committee. If you look at the press statement by the Minority Leader of the party, Godswill Akpabio, it was a misinformation. He called and he felt sorry about that.
“There was an amendment of a motion on the floor of the Senate where the CBN governor was to be invited with the EFCC boss regarding naira depreciation and its implication. But we stood it down. So, there was a misinformation. He thought that it was the same issue. But this is a petition against the person of the EFCC chairman. It has been clarified. So there is no misunderstanding.”
On what happens should Lamorde fail to appear before the committee, Anyanwu said: “I cannot conclude that now because that will mean pre-empting what is not available. Let us wait until tomorrow (today) if he doesn’t come.
“And before we invite anybody, we normally send a copy of the petition to the person that is petitioned against, so that the person will have a first-hand information about why he is invited by the committee. And that is what we have done and that is the normal procedure”
He explained that there is no link between the probe of Lamorde and the quizzing of the wife of the Senate President, Tonye Saraki, by the EFCC in July.