EFCC Is After Me For Standing With Senate On Magu’s Matter

Senator Peter Nwaboshi  represents Delta North senatorial district. In this interview with select journalists, the lawmaker denied the report that he defrauded Delta State government in a contract deal some years ago. He also spoke on other issues. RUTH CHOJI was there
There was a recent report linking you to sharp practices in a contract deal with Delta State government some years ago. How true is this report?
I have heard people say that, the EFCC takes time to prosecute people in the public through the press without verifying the issue. This is a typical example. As you saw in the news, nobody has spoken to me or my brother, it is just the press. So, what they do is put it in the press so that the public will condemn you and get opinion on their side, they don’t care whether they win the case or lose, they mudsling and do everything with your name. The first thing they said was that I did a contract of over a billion Naira, that Delta State, through the ministry of environment  gave us a contract to supply  some environmental equipment, that instead of supplying  brand new equipment, we  supplied used ones. But one, who is complaining? The Delta State government that we supplied these equipment are not complaining. It’s been seven years since we supplied these equipment. We have not heard that it is fairly used until now.
Have they contacted the manufacturers of these equipment? The manufacturers of this equipment are a Chinese company, some of them have offices in Nigeria. For example, FCMG is one of the manufacturers of this equipment, they have a very big office in Kaduna. Also they said Cynortrup, it is a well known Truck business company all over the world. They have offices in Abuja, Kaduna and all they needed to do is take the serial number of these equipment we supplied and give the manufacturers, through the serial number, the manufacturer will tell you the date, the make, the model and specification that was ordered by so and so. They will tell you how they shipped it to the end user. As at today, they have not contacted the manufactures, even in their Abuja office to find out if this equipment were brand new or fairly used.
Two, the weight of the these equipment, is FOB, through Lagos, it means it was sent to the Port in Lagos, that means the manufactures will ship the equipment  to Lagos. So, if you want to know whether what they shipped was new or not, you contact them to know whether what we sent to this people is fairly used or not. They didn’t contact anybody, all they want is to malign me. The Delta State government that we supplied, we have certificate from the engineers, certifying that the equipment are brans new, engineers from the ministry of works, environment and transport. We have a certificate from the auditor general of delta state, conforming that the equipment are brand new before they paid us. We are still waiting.

They also said my company bought a house in Lagos costing lots of millions, but I am not a director in that company. They know what to do. All I can say as a lawyer is, the owners of the property is Delta state, they sold it and they know the value of their property. They know why they sold and to who. They should go to Delta state and find out how the property was sold and the value of the property. They should find out if the company followed due process or not. But it is not for me to speak for the company.
They also said I have 20 bank accounts which my brother is the sole signatory to. You know how BVN is, once you enter your BVN number they will know. It is the owner of the number that has right to assess the account, not a proxy. In any case, my brother has been a business man all his life, he is 48 years old. He has never worked for any government or any person except our parents. He has been an international business all his life. It is that man they are saying is a signatory to an account that is own by me. Is there any law that stop a company from having twenty account? Is there any law that stop a company from opening account in all banks? A company can decide to open account in  all the banks in Nigeria, including in America. If these accounts are said to be run by my brother, why will I declare them in code of conduct?  What concerns EFCC with code of conduct?  If I made declaration, what they will do is take it to CCB and if they are not satisfied with what I have done, they will take me to court. I didn’t know that EFCC now charges people for such offenses. I saw in the television recently that the EFCC charge a member of the House of Representatives for certificate forgery. Is it the work of EFCC to take people to court for such matters? So EFCC is now involved in certificate forgery, they are involved in CCB; very soon  EFCC will be involved in street fighting. Is that the work of EFCC now? So if they think they can do this to silence me, I cannot be silent. Just because I started talking that Magu should go, they want to get back at me. I don’t have anything against Magu, but the senate has said they cannot clear Magu. The power of confirmation resides with the senate. In exercising that power, the senate refused to confirm Magu. As a lawyer, if the law said the power to confirm is with the people and they have failed to confirm you, you have no reason to be there. It is simple law. So, because some of us said it, then a business transaction that took place seven years ago is what they are bringing up now. That was before I became senator. All these things were not in the pipeline until I started talking. I am not one of those to be silenced. My people did not send me here to keep quite. They sent me here to talk when it is necessary. In this particular issue, I spoke because the power of confirmation of chairman of EFCC resides with the senate and the senate has spoken. As a lawyer, I told my friends the legal position.

But a clause in the report states that they are waiting for vital information, do you think there is more to come?
Where will the vital information come from? This information will be determined by Delta state government and the manufacturers of the goods. Customs responsibility is to clear the goods, not to determine if they are new or used goods. We ordered for equipment, and the company that manufactured them after 90 days shipped it to us in Nigeria, and it was cleared. If there was connivance between the custom and clearing agent, that is their matter. We are saying that what we ordered is so and so. We have the invoice to show that we ordered brand new equipment. If Delta state government feels the equipment is not new, they can either take us to court or we go to court. If they win, we have the basis to sue the company in China because we will call them as witness in the case. So, when they say vital information, these are cooked information. There is no vital information.

But don’t you think it is people from Delta State that are behind the story?
We all know that when they say ‘source’ it is not really true.

What is your next action plan?
I am a lawyer of repute of 27 years standing. This one is not Toronto lawyer, I did my first degree in university in Benin, I also did my Master degree in Law at Delta state university. I went to law school in Lagos. If they ask, I will just subpoena the institution to bring out the document.

How about allegation that you have foreign bank account?
Before I became a senator, I had a bank account. I have a right to open a foreign bank account. Go and look at my CCB form and see whether it declared it or not. I declared my account in HSBC in London in my CCB form with the account number. As soon as I became a senator, I closed that account because I am conscious of the provision of the law.

Have you in any way been threatened since you spoke up against this issue?
I have so many threat that they will deal with me for my standing with the senate president. I was the first senator elect to address a press conference in porthacourt to tell the world that, Saraki will be the best senate president. I was also one of the senator who resisted moves by PDP senators when APC senators were not in the chambers the day we elected the senate president. I resisted that PDP shouldn’t elect their own as senate presidenteven though we were in the majority that day and we could have gotten it.
My reason was that, if we do this, they will say, we want to hijack or waylay the government of APC. I feel vindicated today.

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