POLITICAL office holders in Osun State are currently running helter skelter over the new dimension the controversial election petitions tribunal that sat in Osogbo has assumed, as Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has moved in.
OSUN DEFENDER gathered that the anti – graft agency led by the retired Assistant Inspector – General of Police (AIG), (Mrs) Farida Waziri decided to unearth the content of the nocturnal conversations between the governor’s counsel, Mr. Kunle Kalejaiye and the controversial tribunal chairman, Justice Thomas Naron and one other judge, in order to uncover the monetary inducement involved.
It would be recalled that top government officials, including the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Fatai Akinbade are currently answering questions at the Abuja Office of EFCC, concerning the administration of state funds, as touching the petitions of the opposition.
Findings revealed that the EFCC had earlier received a strongly worded petition from the state Chapter of Action Congress (AC) signed by its scribe, Prince Gboyega Famodun, charging the commission to investigate the plausible financial crimes involved in the web of compromise.
According to the petition: “We know that judicial compromises have always been linked with bribery, corruption and some other forms of economic crimes and we strongly believe that a thorough investigation of the aforementioned persons is necessary in the light of the said revelations.
Investigations further revealed that the names of Kunle Kalejaiye, with MTN line 08037035105, Naron with mobile line 08073160534, Justice Ekanem, 08034105705, Niyi Owolade, the State Attorney – General and Commissioner for Justice with line 08034037521 and Miss Sade Alaba Adewumi, an interpreter to the tribunal, were specifically mentioned for investigation.
OSUN DEFENDER authoritatively gathered that the EFCC operatives in charge of the matter had earlier carried out a legwork on the matter, a situation that revealed the coded conversation between Kalejaiye and the two judges in a mouth agape.
But, to formally give it official zeal, the leadership of the EFCC then asked the MTN management to show up with the script of the published conversation.
However, the telecommunication company then sent its lawyers to the commission, with the aim of sorting out the issue at stake with legal consideration, but operatives turned the lawyers back, demanding to see the top management and technical staff, noting that the issue at stake is more of technical than legal.
Meanwhile, the National Judicial Council (NJC) has started its own investigation, preparing to get to the root of the matter that involved the five-man-tribunal led by Naron and Kalejaiye, in order to save judiciary from the ridicule the Naron tribunal had brought to it.
It would be recalled that the National Executive Council, (NEC) of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in its recent meeting in Onitsha, Anambra State had expressed its readiness to make use of the findings of the NJC to determine the fate of Kalejaiye, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), as touching his professional misconduct in the matter.
Besides, a source within the agency said that the EFCC chairman turned back the lawyers when they appeared to hold brief for MTN at a critical stage of the investigations.
“Waziri insisted that the management of the MTN must report to the commission unfailingly next week. The allegations are about conversations transcripts, and other technical details. The MTN is not on trial but the EFCC is expecting it to clarify a few things.”
As a result of the EFCC’s dimension, OSUN DEFENDER gathered that the embattled governor and his lawyers have allegedly stepped up their lobby to kill the investigations, a situation that has sent jitters down the spines of the political office holders in the state, who are still watching helplessly their fate dangling in the balance.
BY KAYODE AGBAJE