…Says reporter “apologises” for rushing to the press

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Saturday said the petitioner, Dapo Apara has not substantiated his allegation of a N100billion scam against.
It said although the investigation of the firm has been ongoing, it will not act on hearsays.

The anti-graft agency, however, said its doors are open if Apara has any further proof with regards to his petition.

The EFCC, which made the clarifications in a statement by its Acting, Head, Media and Publicity, Mr. Tony Orilade said it was false to claim that it has not acted on Apara’s petition in the last one year.

The statement said a reporter sent apologies for not reflecting EFCC’s part in the story.

The statement said: “The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has noted a story in THE PUNCH newspaper of Saturday, July 13, 2019, titled: Osinbajo’s firm linked to company fingered in alleged N100bn Alpha Beta scam.Osinbajo’s firm linked to company fingered in alleged N100bn Alpha Beta scam.

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“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.”

The EFCC said it does not conduct its investigation on hear says.

It added: “As a tradition, we do not deal on hearsays, we act on facts and raw data.

“The Commission will not allow anybody to drag its name and reputation into the mud for ill-motive reasons.

“To underscore the desperation of the editorial team that anchored the report, Mr. Tobi Aworinde contacted the Commission’s acting Spokesperson at exactly 9:44 pm on Friday, July 12, 2019, on the subject matter.

“Mr. Aworinde called the Spokesperson to know the position of the Commission on the petition. The Spokesperson sent a response via a WhatsApp platform. Unfortunately, this response was not captured in the Punch report.

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“When contacted why the response of the Spokesperson was not reflected in the report, Mr. Aworinde replied and said: “I forwarded the message as soon as I got it.

“It must have been the race to press. We were behind on our production deadline when I called for the reaction. My apologies sir”.

“There is no doubt that the ‘race to press’ and ‘we were behind our production deadline when I called for reaction’, as explained by Aworinde, is suggestive that there was an agenda and a motive.”

The anti-graft agency said it has attended to Apara’s petition contrary to insinuations.

It said: “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.”

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