WHY SUSPECTS FALL SICK IN OUR CELLS, EFCC EXPLAINS

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, yesterday explained that suspects of­ten fall sick in the agency’s detention cells.2016_09_02_27047
Mangu, who argued that the EFCC’s cells were well-equipped, said that it was the larger than life style of the suspects that makes them to take ill once they are held.
He disclosed that the commission had secured over 45 convictions in Lagos courts since January while the sum of N2 billion was also recovered during the period.
The EFCC boss denied that the commission tor­tures suspects in its detention centres to extract statements from them, adding that if any suspect falls ill, they are im­mediately taken to the com­mission’s clinic or referred to a hospital.
Magu, who was repre­sented by the Deputy Direc­tor of Operations, Lagos Zon­al Office of the EFCC, Mr. Illiyasu Kwarbai, said sus­pects are only detained be­yond 48 hours with a court order.
According to him, medi­cal bills incurred by suspects are also borne by the EFCC, which also feeds them three times daily.
Kwarbai, who took jour­nalists and civil societies’ leaders on a tour of the com­mission’s Lagos facilities, said despite the resistance of some accused persons, the opera­tives are professional in their approach.
Among the facilities visit­ed were the EFCC’s detention centre on 7, Okotie-Eboh Street, Ikoyi, clinic, inter­view rooms and computer­ized offices.
Each room in the deten­tion facility, with male and fe­male sections, has a mattress, a shower and a toilet.
Kwarbai said two sus­pects are assigned to a room. There is also a church, named “House of Reconciliation with God”, and a mosque. The clinic has two consult­ing rooms with two doctors, nurses and a dispensary.
He said: “In the course of interviews some other win­dows will be opened, which may require further interro­gation. In that case we secure court orders or remand war­rants to enable us keep them.
“Before we put them in detention, we serve them with bail conditions which they will sign. They’re im­mediately admitted to bail pending when they produce reasonable sureties, so that if they’re released we ensure that they come back.
“So, we don’t beat any per­son here. We don’t extract confessional statements. We investigate financial crimes, not robbery or murder where suspects leave the scene and make up an alibi. We don’t need your confessional state­ments to gather facts and fig­ures. We go to the banks and get our facts. There is no need for us to introduce any harsh method of interrogation at all. We don’t do it,” he said.
Kwarbai said one of EF­CC’s goals is to recover sto­len funds from suspects, add­ing that over N2 billion had been recovered this year, in­cluding properties worth bil­lions of Naira.
“Our recoveries are in billions. If we don’t recov­er some of these funds and you leave them with the ac­cused persons, then we are in trouble and the country is also in trouble, because they have ‘destructive’ weapons,” he said.
He said some suspects run to the court to prevent their arrest, while others hire the best lawyers to delay the cases.
“Sometimes by mere invi­tation, these accused persons will go to court. We didn’t go to arrest them – just to come and answer to allegations against them in the interest of fair hearing, but they won’t.
“If they have stolen N10 billion, they will set aside N3 billion for litigation. There was a time I was in the wit­ness box for more than five hours being cross-examined by the defence lawyer,” Kwar­bai said.
The EFCC chief said the commission was open to plea bargaining, as it saves the government time.

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