By Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Bayelsa-born Baraza Multipurpose Cooperative Society Limited (BMCSL) Chairman, Pastor Oyinmiebi Bribena and his wife, Beatrice Bribena, have sued the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), seeking enforcement of their rights fundamental humans.
The Anti-Corruption Commission had in a statement by its Head of Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwajaren, said the couple were wanted for allegedly defrauding BMCSL members of funds to the tune of N2 billion.
The couple insisted they were not asked to be questioned about the allegations before being declared wanted by the EFCC.
In a statement released to the media over the weekend, Bribena alleged that the EFCC was playing up the scenario of persecuting and harassing people based on feelings and influenced by public opinion instead of following due process like the law requires it.
“Admittedly, there is no basis for the so-called EFCC statement. We have not received any invitation from the EFCC as is the practice. We have never received a formal invitation to the EFCC.
“If the anti-corruption agency acts on a petition, we have the right to be at least formally requested to be notified as such and questioned in accordance with such petition and investigation by the EFCC.
“We are not aware of any cases before the EFCC concerning us after the crises started in our cooperative and my life was threatened and I sought safety, so I have not been in public during this whole time. time,” he said.
Bribena, who dismissed allegations that Baraza was a Ponzi scheme as claimed by the EFCC, said the company’s operations were transparent and members were regularly briefed and familiar with the business model. The EFCC was also officially informed of Baraza’s operations from the start.
He further stated that despite the members of the cooperative society having approved the society to trade with their contributions in the online forex market for monthly returns which went smoothly until the unfortunate events where most funds have been lost in the market, he has constantly made frantic efforts to recover and reimburse members for their dues as authorized by the general assembly of the cooperative, but the actions of the Commission impede the wheel of progress.
He also said he would not relent in efforts to clear his name and called on all members of BARAZA Multipurpose Cooperative Society Limited to remain calm and rest assured that with the right commitment and resolve to address the issues on the field, each member will recover their contributions because all hope is not lost.
Prior to the declaration as persons wanted by the EFCC, Bribena had previously filed a writ of summons in the Federal High Court of Yenagoa against the EFCC for the determination of certain issues concerning the powers of the EFCC to intervene. in disputes between cooperative members. Society and the Cooperative Society, taking into account the provisions of the Nigerian Cooperative Societies Act 2004.