Chris Steven, Abuja
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has been accused of using ‘illegal and unacceptable’ means to obtain information from the former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Mashal Alex Badeh.
A civil society organisation, Citizens For Rights and Justice made this accusation on Sunday saying such antics put doubt to the anti-corruption war as it amounts to ropping in suspects at all cost.
Spokesman of the group, Christian Akobundu said information at the group’s disposal suggests that that operatives of the EFCC were adopting methods aimed at skewing up investigations to their favor and to the detriment of the retired air marshal.
“Inside sources note that during questioning Badeh is often questioner by multiple officers who ask the same question over and over again and aren’t satisfied until they get the answer they want. They often stay on the same issue for hours trying to shake the resilience of the Chief and demanding that he construct sentences in the manner they desire.
“It is not uncommon for the interrogators to say ‘write it this way…’ with the chief trying to maintain that his statement should be in his own words. They appear to have condemned him as guilty even though there is no evidence linking him to the arms deal.
“To make matters worse is the fact that his lawyers are often told they must simply observe and cannot interrupt. If there is ever an attempt by a lawyer to assert the rights of their clients at EFCC, the officers flare up and attack such a lawyer effectively denying such individuals their right to counsel as guaranteed by the constitution,” Akobundu alleged.
Describing the agency ‘s tactics as brutish, the group said it was unfortunate that in attempt to route the former CDS into alleged misappropriation, the rights of suspects was been tramped upon just to score cheap goals and give a dog a bad name.
“Our source also confirmed that the 59 year old former Chief of Defense is not being questioned by normal officers but by a designated team known as special task force 2, who use a higher level of bullying and have been assigned the task of forcing him to accept guilt whether or not that is the case. The presidency must ensure that the power being designated to EFCC is discharged in a responsible way rather than allowing interrogators to use such underhand tactics.
“In support of this is the fact that Justice Halliru of the Federal High Court stated on the 1st of March that EFCC ‘has reduced itself to the police station or detention centre of the Nigerian Army’ in the case of Colonel Adegbe,” the group said.
They accused the anti-crime agency of denying the former CDS of his right to fair hearing when it denied him access to his lawyers while not been straight with Badeh, who it said served the countey merritoriously.
“The EFCC in our believe, detained Badeh from the 8th of February 2016 and did not obtain or show proof of a remand warrant. They held him illegally even after their 48 hours to investigate were over denying him the right to go home even though there was little chance he would fail to report back to them.
“They were well aware of their lack of regard for our country’s laws and rushed Badeh to court on Thursday, 25th Feb to get a remand warrant to hold Badeh legally because they had been served with a bail application and this would come to light at the hearing at the Federal High Court,” it said.