*Fault Buhari’s Decision To Pardon Past Corrupt Officials
Former Federal Commissioner of Information and Ijaw Chieftain, Chief Edwin Clark, has said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has lost focus.
Chief Clark stated this while addressing a press conference in Abuja on Friday.
Clark was speaking against the background of the claim by the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), that his fight against corruption will start on May 29, 2015 when he would have been sworn-in as the President, if he wins the March 28 Presidential elections.
Clark noted that the implication of Buhari’s statement was that those who were facing corrupt charges or accused of corruption before May 29, 2015 would be pardoned.
He noted that those funding Buhari’s campaign are beginning to question him whether he will prosecute them when he gets into power.
Clark further stated that it was on that note that Buhari changed the tune of his music as to when he will begin his fight against corruption.
He, called on President Goodluck Jonathan to re-organise the anti-graft agency for effective discharge of its mandate to investigate and prosecute corrupt Nigerians.
Presidential candidate of the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, has declared that he will not probe past leaders if elected President come March 28th.
Buhari spoke Wednesday in Kaduna during the APC’s zonal rally held at the International Trade Fair.
Buhari declared that public officials found wanting in corruption cases from 1999 to May 29 2015 will be pardoned.
However, he said from the moment he takes over office, anyone indicted of corruption will face the punishment.
Speaking in Hausa, Buhari said: “On the issue of past corrupt leaders facing trials in various courts across the country, I would allow the courts to decide on those cases, but whoever that is indicted of corruption between 1999 to the time of searing-in, would be pardoned. I am going to draw a line, anybody who involved himself in corruption after I assume office, will face the music.
Speculations are that Buhari’s extension of amnesty to past corrupt officials might be as a result of various unofficial meeting he had held with opposing camps who seems jittery of his wrath in the event he emerges winner of the presidential election.
Buhari has en route his trip to the UK earlier, held a secret meeting at night with some loyalists of President Goodluck Jonathan in Paris, sources said from the French capital.
The negotiations, it was learnt, are based on the fear in Jonathan’s circle that Buhari will try and convict all of the top people in the Jonathan administration who are known to have stolen a lot of cash from the nation’s treasury.
It was learnt that Buhari and the top leadership of APC may be considering amnesty for some of them if he is eventually elected on 28 March.
The discussions are referred to as the Brazilian model, a type of deal where the president offers amnesty and asks the thieves to bring home the money stolen and invest it in the economy.
Lately, former South African President, Thabo Mbeki and Former Nigerian Military Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar Monday, stormed Kaduna to meet with the Presidential Candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari over the forth coming general elections.
At the end of the meeting which was held behind closed doors at General Buhari’s office along Jabi Road in a highbrow area of Kaduna metropolis Monday morning, neither the visitors, nor General Buhari spoke with newsmen.
Mbeki and Abdulsalami left to the Kaduna International Airport to fly back to Abuja after a photo session which marked the end of the over one hour meeting.
However, a source close to General Buhari disclosed that the meeting was not unconnected with the Presidential election rescheduled forMarch 28.
According to the source who spoke unofficially, “They are here to prevail on General Buhari not to probe Jonathan after emerging President in the coming election.”