Oba of Benin slams ex-EFCC boss over corruption

Oba of Benin, Ewuare II, has alleged that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is aiding crimes in the country.

The monarch made the allegations when he received the new Benin Zonal Director of EFCC, Effa Okim, in his palace in Benin on Monday.

He cited a case involving unnamed former palace officials who were left off the hook after they were arrested for fraud and handed over to the EFCC in Benin for investigation and prosecution.

The Oba alleged that some EFCC operatives allegedly handled the case with kid gloves, which led to the release of the culprits a few years ago.

The monarch, who did not name the palace officials, expressed shock that the EFCC investigators allegedly swept glaring evidence of fraud against them (the palace officials) under the carpet.

While tasking the commission to fight crime without fear or favour, the Oba added: “We want to draw your attention to one or two grey areas in your operations.

“No matter how much you try to support the EFCC from the palace, it is very difficult because they seem to listen to other parties. 

“What I have been told is that they take instructions from the highest bidder.

“You know that I have been known for speaking the truth. 

“I was not happy about certain things that happened with your predecessor.

“We get news from everywhere. 

“We try to assist the EFCC. 

“I even wrote a letter to the then chairman who was removed from office.

“I even sent an emissary to talk to him regarding certain elements in Edo State, particularly the palace.

“How can EFCC operatives, especially the lady who handled the case I cited earlier, behave like that? 

“If I was asked to comment on her performance, I would score her zero. 

“I do not know if she was doing an EFCC job or just dancing to the tunes of people who were giving her money.

“At the time we were trying to assist EFCC, the report we kept getting was negative and I was not happy about it.”

The monarch, however, said the newly appointed Chairman of EFCC, Olanipekun Olukayode, is on the path to greatness if he continues to demonstrate fidelity in his duties.

He also pledged the palace’s support to the state government in addressing social inequality and reducing social vices.

Earlier in his address, Okim appealed to the Oba to support advocacy against financial crimes with Edo State ranking second behind Lagos State in the financial crime index in the country.

Recalling the historical ties between his state of origin, Cross River and Edo States, he solicited prayers and royal blessings to enable him to discharge his duties diligently.

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