The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has dismissed the threat by the political godson of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Mr. George Turnah, to institute a N100m defamation suit against it.
Turnah had on Sunday, through his lawyers, demanded N100m from the EFCC and a social media activist, Mr. Bodmas Kemepadei, as compensation for alleged defamatory statements against him.
The embattled former Special Adviser to an ex-Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission also sought an “unreserved” apology from the EFCC and Kemepadei over the alleged defamatory statements made against his person.
Turnah is currently facing charges bordering on money laundering and false pretences.
But the Zonal Head of the EFCC, South-South, Mr. Ishaq Salihu, said the commission would not be cowed by Turnah’s demands.
Salihu explained that those who were ready to commit economic crimes against the country should be ready to spend their time in jail.
He stated that the commission was under an obligation to press charges against Turnah, who had only worked in the National Youth Service Corps and the NDDC and allegedly amassed unjustified wealth.
Salihu maintained that since the EFCC had been able to establish a prima facie case against Turnah, it was normal for the former NDDC official to face trial.
He said, “We took him (Turnah) to court and we asked the court to give us a forfeiture order because this is somebody that has never worked anywhere apart from the NYSC and the NDDC.
“He worked with the NYSC in 2010 and the rest was in the NDDC. So, he cannot justify the amount (of money) he has. We should be able to call a spade a spade. The EFCC has gone beyond being cowed in this country.
“We stand by the truth; we did not act arbitrarily; we have a charge and we have taken him to court for it. If at the end of the day, the judge, in his wisdom, finds that we don’t have a case, so be it.
“But we have established a prima facie case against him. This is somebody that took over N75m for beauty pageant and paid N40,000 each to them (participants, instead of N5m).
“This is somebody that got a receipt showing that he paid N25m to a particular television station and at the end, the TV station has replied the EFCC that there was no transaction of such with the man at all.”
Salihu pointed out that the anti-graft commission was up to the task in pursuing the Turnah’s matter in court to a logical conclusion.
“We are up to the task. We have one of the best and vibrant legal department in Nigeria in the EFCC and we are not cowed at all.
“We are already in court and we are not going to take issues with him. If anybody commits a crime, he or she should be able to do the time,” Salihu added.