Immediate past Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, may have been flown abroad for the treatment of undisclosed ailment, The Nation learnt yesterday.
Lamorde, who was scheduled to appear before the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions yesterday, failed to honour the invitation provoking wild insinuation that he had fled the country to evade Senate probe of the alleged diversion of N1 trillion leveled against him.
Lagos lawyer Festus Keyamo, who stood in for Lamorde, defended him.
Keyamo said, “He (Lamorde) is still a policeman, he has no reason to go on exile. Lamorde has served this country very well and let me tell you this if you don’t know. The only way to succeed as the chairman of EFCC is for you not to succeed at all.
“Lamorde is not here today, not out of disrespect to the committee. It is a matter of complete misunderstanding of issues at stake. When Lamorde was invited to this committee, he was invited as chairman of EFCC and between then and now circumstances had changed.
“He is no longer the chairman of EFCC. So, because of that, he thought that would be the end of his invitation because he was invited in that capacity.
“He then handed over the case and traveled for medicals. It was in his absence that the second letter came and addressed as the immediate past EFCC chairman. The fact that he is no longer the chairman, he can no longer be invited except as a witness.”
The Chairman of the committee, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, noted that Senate does not accept representation when it invites anybody to appear before it.
A member of the committee, Senator Obinna Ogba, wondered why Lamorde failed to live by example being a man who was a former boss of the anti-graft agency that usually invited people to appear before it.
He said the non appearance of Lamorde at the probe was an insult, and disrespect to the Senate.
Senator Tayo Alasoadura, who is also a member of the committee, said: “We are in a situation whereby people are showing their shamelessness.”
The Chairman of the committee stopped Keyamo half way insisting that anybody could be invited by the Senate panel to come and give evidence.
What followed was hot exchange of words between Keyamo and members of the committee.
At end Anyanwu insisted that Lamorde should make himself available on November 24 notwithstanding the plea by Keyamo that his client would not be available until December 15.
Keyamo later told reporters that the committee was wrong to have insisted that Lamorde must appear before it.
He said: “The constitution is very clear as to those who can be subject to investigation by section 88, 89 of the constitution. By section 88, 89 of the constitution the Senate has powers over two categories of persons.
“The first are those who are subject of investigation. They can be summoned before the committee and the second are witnesses to appear in respect of that investigation.”