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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07ABUJA2082 2007-09-27 13:09:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Abuja
Cable title:  

EFCC-AG RIFT SPELLS TROUBLE FOR EFCC

Tags:   PGOV KCOR KJUS NI 
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1. (C) SUMMARY. Immediately following assurances by
Secretary to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission

SIPDIS
(EFCC) Emmanuel Akomaye that the rift between the EFCC and
the Attorney General (AG) is not a problem, Chief of the EFCC
External Cooperation Unit Ibrahim Mohammed pulled Poloff
aside to request public statements of support and private
urgings of support to high-ranking GON officials. On
September 24, Poloff learned from the British High Commission
law enforcement liaison officer that the EFCC told the London
Metropolitan Police that the AG has been attempting (to date
unsuccessfully) to interfere in the Ibori and Alamieyeseigha
cases. The EFCC told the Met Police that they have initiated
an investigation of the AG, indicating that they have proof
of financial transactions from Ibori to the AG. Given that
the EFCC, despite any shortcomings, is the single agency
capable of making headway against corruption, post requests
public and private statements, especially in high-level
meetings on the margins of the UN General Assembly, in
support of the EFCC's work. END SUMMARY.

AKOMAYE - PAINTING THE ROSEY PICTURE


--------------------------





2. (C) On September 21, Poloff and Regional Affairs TDYers
met with Secretary to the EFCC Emmanuel Akomaye and Chief of
the External Cooperation Unit Ibrahim Mohammed. Akomaye
maintained that Attorney General Michael Andoakaa has been
playing a normal role of policy oversight and has not
interfered in the management of investigations or
prosecutions. He assured Poloffs that nothing has changed
and that the EFCC continues its investigations into former
governors and other corrupt officials. In particular, he
noted that the EFCC is still prosecuting former Delta
Governor James Ibori (as opposed to press reports indicating
the AG has taken over prosecution) and that the AG has not
taken over the case against former Abia Governor Orji Kalu.



3. (C) With regard to specific cases, Akomaye noted that the
EFCC is working with London Metropolitan Police in the
ongoing investigation of Ibori and that charges have been
brought against former Bayelsa Governor Diepreye
Alamieyeseigha. Akomaye said the EFCC is reviewing its case
against former Rivers Governor Peter Odili. He explained
Odili's September 20 injunction restraining the EFCC or AG
from arresting Odili as a preemptive move which will do no
more than buy Odili a few days while the court reviews his
petition. In the end, Akomaye asserted the Supreme Court has
on numerous times upheld the authority of the EFCC and no
court can be used to remove responsibility for criminal
action.



4. (C) Akomaye told Poloffs he sees a "bright future for the
EFCC" under President Yar'Adua, noting that Yar'Adua's
anti-corruption message is much stronger than former
President Obasanjo's. Yar'Adua proved his pedigree as an
upstanding Governor in Katsina State and, Akomaye claimed,
his commitment to fight corruption is apparent throughout his
public service. Akomaye also noted the increased level of
supervision of public expenditures under Yar'Adua's
administration.

MOHAMMED - WHAT WE REALLY WANTED TO TALK ABOUT


--------------------------

-



5. (C) On the way out of the meeting, EFCC Chief of External
Cooperation Ibrahim Mohammed pulled Poloff aside and said he
had a "favor to ask." He asked for USG support of the EFCC
through public statements and private urging of high-ranking
officials to support the EFCC, indicating "it is very
important to us right now." COMMENT. Mohammed's request
seems more telling of what is really happening behind the
scenes and points to a genuine rift between the AG and EFCC.
Interestingly, when Poloff called to request the appointment,
Mohammed said he had intended to call that afternoon and
request an appointment. He told Poloff the EFCC is
requesting appointments individually with key donor

ABUJA 00002082 002 OF 002


countries. END COMMENT.

AND NOW FOR THE REST OF THE STORY...


--------------------------





6. (C) On September 24, Poloff met with British High
Commission law enforcement liaison officer James McLaughlin.
McLaughlin told Poloff that London Metropolitan Police
officials met with EFCC officials in Abuja last week. During
that meeting, EFCC Chair Ribadu confided in Met Police
officials that AG Andoakaa has been attempting to interfere
in the Ibori and Alamieyeseigha cases. Ribadu said the EFCC
has successfully held off the AG thus far, but McLaughlin
said Ribadu is very concerned. According to McLaughlin,
Ribadu told the Met Police that the EFCC has initiated an
investigation into Andoakaa, indicating they have proof of
recent financial transactions between Ibori and the AG.

COMMENT: POWER STRUGGLE DOESN'T BODE WELL FOR EFCC


--------------------------



--------------------------





7. (C) COMMENT. A power struggle between the EFCC and the AG
is likely to come out in favor of the AG unless President
Yar'Adua steps in to restrain Andoakaa. The AG has the law
on his side; the Constitution gives the AG oversight
authority, which provides a basis for the AG to step in and
take over any investigation or prosecution. While Obasanjo
appears to have used the EFCC for personal political motives
at times, he did provide a strong cover to the agency --
keeping it above the political fray. Yar'Adua has taken a
hands off approach to the EFCC, which could spell doom if the
AG is not reigned in soon.



8. (C) COMMENT CONTINUED. Given that the EFCC is the only
agency to date which has been successful in fighting
corruption (even with the shortcomings cited under the
Obasanjo administration), its demise or emasculation would
leave a void which no other agency has shown the potential to
fill. Post will look for opportunities to publicly voice USG
support for the EFCC. In addition, we will privately
emphasize the need for a strong and independent EFCC as a
means to reach Yar'Adua's goals of fighting corruption and
strengthening economic development through improving the
investment climate. Post requests Department to use upcoming
high-level meetings on the margins of the UNGA to relay a
similar message of support. END COMMENT.

GRIBBIN