The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has said it was erroneous for any entity to declare that it did not investigate the petition brought against Alpha Bet.
The EFCC stated its position in a statement published on its social media pages on Saturday in reaction to a story published by the Punch, entitled: “Osinbajo’s firm linked to company fingered in alleged N100bn Alpha Beta scam.”
The report had stated that Simmons Coopers, a law firm in which Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was a Senior Partner until his inauguration as Vice President in 2015, was said to have acted as the company secretary of Ocean Trust Limited, a firm alleged to have laundered the sum of N100 billion on behalf of Alpha Beta.
The newspaper had also alleged that the anti-graft agency was yet to act upon the petition, submitted by Dapo Apara, a former managing director of Alpha Beta, despite receiving it a year ago.
Admitting that it received the petition, the EFCC stated that contrary to the narrative in the report, it had indeed commenced investigation into the matter.
The EFCC said the petitioner failed to prove the allegation beyond reasonable doubt, adding that it will continue investigation once new evidence emerges.
The statement partly read: “While not denying the fact that such petition was received on Alpha Beta by the Commission last year, preliminary investigation has shown that the petitioner did not substantiate the allegation contained in his petition.
“For the records, the Alpha Beta investigation is ongoing and we have nothing to hide over the matter.
“If the petitioner has any further proof with regards to the petition, our doors are wide open.
“As a tradition, we do not deal on hearsay, we act on facts and raw data.”
The anti-graft agency lambasted the newspaper and its reporter, saying it “will not allow anybody to drag its name and reputation into the mud for ill-motive reasons.”
The EFCC stated that the reporter and his news medium did not accurately reflect its true position on the matter, despite providing the necessary details when contacted.
The statement noted that the newspaper’s reporter contacted Tony Orilade, EFCC spokesperson, at exactly 9:44 pm on Friday, July 12, 2019, and provided the commission’s official response via the messaging app, WhatsApp.
The anti-graft agency, therefore, wondered why the newspaper would “race to press” to misinform people without accurately reflecting its own position, describing the act as “unfortunate and unprofessional” for such a sensitive matter.
The statement read: “It is erroneous for the newspaper to claim that the Commission did not do anything in respect to the petition for one year.
“It is also unfortunate and unprofessional for a paper like The Punch Newspapers to champion such misinformation and also rush to the press on a sensitive matter like this.
As we continue our investigation, we urge the media to be circumspect, fair and balance in their reportage.”