EFCC Tasks Columnist, Sonala Olumhense, Over Syndicated Article

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has raected to an article by Sonala Olumhense entitled, Fear of Responsibility, which was published in The Punch and Daily Trust newspapers of Sunday October, 3, 2021.

The Commission said the article which attempted to put the Abdulrasheed Bawa leadership of the EFCC to the sword over demonstrably false claims that the agency failed to submit its Annual Report to the National Assembly by September 30, 2021 as demanded by law.

This supposed failure, in Olumhense’s estimation, is evidence that the EFCC was scared of accountability and therefore lacks the moral high ground to demand same of citizens.

Wilson Uwujaren, Head, Media and Publicity said on Sunday that Olumhense’s claim about EFCC failure to submit its annual report to the Nation Assembly by September 30 is false.

He said the Commission has duly fulfilled its obligation to the National Assembly in this regard as the Annual Report was transmitted to the National Assembly on the 30th of September, 2021, as the Commission has ALWAYS done since 2003.

He said: “It is curious that a journalist of Olumhense’s experience made no attempt to verify his fact before publishing.  In this instance, he neither sought to know from the Commission whether it had submitted the annual report nor did he verify from the National Assembly whether it was in receipt of the report. Had he done so, he would have saved himself the embarrassment of an article that is as irredeemably flawed as it is damaging, especially for Olumhense’s reputation and those of the newspapers that did not bother to fact-check his tendentious piece on the EFCC.

According to Uwujiaren, Section 37 of the EFCC Establishment Act, 2004, states, that “the Commission shall, not later than 30th September in each year, submit to the National Assembly, a report of its activities during the immediately preceding year and shall include in such report the audited account of the Commission.” The law does not mandate a ceremony as part of the submission obligation. Nowhere in that law is it stated that EFCC cannot submit its annual report until the full complement of local and international media beam footage of the submission ceremony to Olumhense where he is waiting somewhere in the US!

“But sadly, nothing, not even sacred facts can restrain Mr. Olumhense as he reached for EFCC’s jugular: “The EFCC submitted its first report—and its last—in 2006. This means that by last week, the commission had flouted this reporting requirement several times, aided and abetted by a complicit National Assembly”, he wrote. And then, the respected syndicated columnist makes another bizarre claim that the EFCC Act is not on the Commission’s website because, in his interpretation, the EFCC does not want people to know about its September 30 reporting obligation!

“To be charitable to him, these are completely false claims that exposes the intellectual hollowness of Olumhense. The truth is that since the Commission was established in 2003, it has never defaulted, not even once, in submitting its Annual Report to the National Assembly, by or before the 30th of September every year.  Even in the year it commenced operation after its inauguration in April 2003, the EFCC still submitted an Annual Report to the National Assembly before the 30th of September, 2003!

As for the claim that the Commission’s Establishment Act was missing from its website, a visit to the EFCC website, www.efccnigeria.org will expose Olumhense’s mischief as the law had been a resource item on the platform for several years.

Olumhense’s mischief is not new. It has become a yearly ritual for him to castigate the Commission over the false claim of non-submission of its Annual Report, using hopelessly false and jaundiced arguments.

It does appear that the respected columnist has left September 30 empty in his diary as a date to bash the EFCC, regardless of contrary evidence.

He demanded an apology from My Olumehense over the article to ” Mr. Bawa, the EFCC and indeed the millions of Nigerians he deceived with that fit-for-the-dustbin piece on the EFCC, an unreserved apology.”

For the avoidance of doubt, Mr. Olumhense,

·         EFCC submitted its 2021 Annual Report, right on schedule to the two chambers of the Nigerian National Assembly;

·         EFCC has never been in default in the submission of Annual Reports to the National Assembly; and

·         The EFCC Act is on the Commission’s Website.

These are verifiable facts, and facts they say, is sacred.