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Jonathan wants U.S embassy accounts scam investigated

25 June 2012, 11:25

Abuja - President Goodluck Jonathan says he has directed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)  to investigate accounts of the Nigerian embassy in the U.S. over alleged money laundering.

The president disclosed this on Sunday during a presidential media chat broadcast on national television and radio.

There was a newspaper report last week that the U.S. government had frozen the Nigerian embassy’s accounts in the U.S. over allegation of money laundering.

Jonathan reiterated his administration’s zero tolerance to corruption and said he was prepared to rid the country of corrupt elements.

The president also cited an example where an allegation was made that a secretary in the Presidency demanded a bribe N5 million and he directed the determination of the identity of the official.

"Only yesterday, I directed EFFC to go and investigate our bank accounts in the U.S. because there was this story in one paper that the U.S. authorities are looking into, because there are some money transfers and so on.

"Then, I asked the minister, he gave the story from the ambassador, but, that is not enough. I need a neutral person to go.

"During the ministerial briefing, a young man came from the U.S., raised an issue that there is a document he wanted to pass on to the president about investment but there is one secretary, he used the word secretary, one secretary, I don’t know how is a secretary in my office. But one secretary in the president’s office was asking for five million naira.

"I immediately called D-G SSS, ‘please interview that man let us know who asked for, that is how I operate.’’

Jonathan said his administration had not and would not interfere in the activities of the two anti-corruption agencies, the EFCC and the ICPC.

He said he was compelled to remove the former EFCC boss Farida Waziri because of many complaints against her which showed that Nigerians no longer had confidence in her to lead the Commission.

On asset declaration, Jonathan frowned at public declaration of assets, saying such action was against his principle and that was why he did not declare his assets in the open.

He clarified that his decision to declare his assets in secret as stipulated by the law was not because he had anything to hide, but that the decision was based on personal principle.

Jonathan also denied the allegation that the Presidency was behind the sting operation that allegedly nailed former Chairman of the House of Representatives fuel subsidy probe committee, Farouk Lawan.

He said the indicted marketers were not his party members as claimed by some critics and his administration had nothing to hide.

He said prior to the House probe, he had set up a committee comprising of neutral persons to look into the accounts of the NNPC.

``I have nothing to hide in the probe of fuel subsidy scam, I have nobody to protect.

``If I do, I would not have appointed Nuhu Ribadu, who contested against me to head the committee set up to probe the NNPC accounts,’’ he said.

The president said government would put machinery in place to deal with illegal oil bunkerers and oil thieves who he said were sabotaging the nation’s economy.



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