The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has raised the alarm over an attempt by a certain group of lawyers and their sponsors to short-change Nigeria.
In a statement by its Spokesperson, Tony Orilade, the EFCC noted that the Commission would not allow anyone to defraud the country over a controversial claim of £2.5 billion.
Orilade said: “The commission strongly condemns a calculated attempt by a group of 27 lawyers to blackmail one of its lead prosecutors, Mr. Rotimi Jacob (SAN), on the contentious £2.5 billion. Jacobs is a reputable lawyer who has successfully prosecuted several high-profile cases for the EFCC.
“The 27 lawyers had, in a petition addressed to the National Executive of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), alleged that Jacobs was using the EFCC to arrest, harass and intimidate them for winning a monetary suit against the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Union Bank of Nigeria Plc.
Speaking through one Mr. Onyechi Egwuonwu, the 27 lawyers further alleged that the Union Bank induced the EFCC and Jacobs to file criminal charges against their client, Petro Union Oil to frustrate the execution of the judgment. But debunking the claim of the lawyers on Tuesday, the EFCC dismissed the claim, describing it as false and misleading.
“For the purpose of clarity, the purported £2.5 billion is a fictitious fund Petro Union Oil allegedly drew against an account in Barclays Bank (United Kingdom) through a cheque issued in 1994.
“The company made a fraudulent attempt to present the cheque for clearing through Union Bank but enquiries made by Union Bank at Barclays Bank showed that the account against which the cheque was drawn was closed in 1989, five years before the cheque was presented in Lagos for clearing.
“Mr. Jacobs (SAN) is a highly respected member of the legal profession who has worked assiduously in conjunction with the EFCC to secure convictions of many notable convicts in the society”
“The EFCC will not be deterred from its avowed goal and is considering filing a complaint against these desperate lawyers with the appropriate organ of the legal profession.”