Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday stunned the Senate when it told the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions that it lacked powers to summon immediate past Chairman of the Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, to appear before it to answer questions on his alleged complicity in the diversion of funds amounting to N1 trillion.
Addressing senate through its counsel, Festus Keyamo, EFCC argued that the Senate does not have the powers to summon his client, further explained that Lamorde can only be invited as a witness. “We will take advice (on whether Lamorde is to appear, as requested by the Committee next Tuesday, November 24).
We will look at it, and take appropriate decision; but I can tell you that the Senate itself is not a place that their decision is not subject to review. “The section quoted (Section 88, 89 of the 1999 Constitution as amended) says: anybody can be summoned as a witness, not as a person to be investigated.
It says in the course of that investigation, anybody can be summoned as a witness to give evidence. “What they (Senate) did was to send a letter of investigation. The Senate also has no powers to send letters of invitation. They have (no) powers to issue summons to people to appear. Can the court, for example, write a letter of invitation to anybody? The power of this committee is the same powers a court of law exercises.
If the court of law wants someone to appear before it, it issues summons. A court of law cannot write an invitation. “So, this Senate has no powers to write letter of invitation.
They should correct it. Do not forget, and I want all of you to remember, that it is this same Senate that, for many years, did not know their powers regarding service chiefs. I was the one that went to court to correct all of them.
I wrote to them over and over regarding their powers, and they did not listen to me, and I went to court and corrected them. “I am prepared to go to court at any time to correct this Senate. They don’t know their powers, I insist. You should know that I have done research on the powers of the Senate,” Keyamo insisted.
-Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja