Sunday, 29 June 2008

A Shaky Start: Mama EFCC and Economic Truths

3 weeks ago I mentioned that I watched Mrs. Farida Waziri's confirmation by the Senate as the new Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. During her question and answer session with the senators, she was asked if she had stood as surety for ex-governor George Akume. She said, nay stressed, that she hadn't.

My attention was drawn recently to documents purportedly signed by Mrs. Waziri on the 8th of November 2007 that show she collected Mr. George Akume's passport from the EFCC.

Maybe she did not understand the question the lawmakers asked, or the reason why that particular question was asked. The Senators were initially trying to determine if there were any conflict-of-interest issues, and if any existed they would have to decide if the conflicts of interest were serious enough to make Mrs Farida's appointment as EFCC Chairman untenable. Mrs Farida's omission, deliberate or not, has robbed her appointment of some sheen. Surely she realises that standing as surety for a person's passport indicates an interest or involvement in that person's welfare.

So what next for Mama EFCC? I think this episode, for better or worse, defines her as a politician (in the mould of former US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and his own misleading testimony under oath?) rather than a straight-talking technocrat like her predecessor Nuhu Ribadu. She has shown evasive skills comparable to a seasoned circus acrobat so far, skills that Ribadu lacked and which led to his public frog-march out of the EFCC. So she'll be in that seat for a long time, but I doubt if members of the Public Philanderers Club are quaking in their boots. I still want to believe that she made an honest but regrettable mistake, and I will continue to give her the benefit of the doubt and wish her the best of luck. But I will be watching very, very, very closely from this point on.

1 comment:

iria said...

Dear Papa Donkee, I know you want to give this woman the benefit of the doubt but a snake that is going to be venomous will be venomous from day one. A snake which will not become venomous will be not from day one.

If she could mislead senators and the Nigerians they represent from day one under oath......May God save and preserve the purported war on corruption