30 March 2005

Nigeria: EFCC Arrests Tafa Balogun

Lagos — May be arraigned Thursday

Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested Mr. Tafa Balogun, former Inspector-General of Police (IGP), preparatory to his possible arraignment in Abuja tomorrow over charges of alleged corrupt practices.

Balogun according to reliable sources, was formally arrested in his Lagos home on Monday night and taken into EFCC custody, from where he is expected to be transferred to Abuja for prosecution. A scuffle was said to have occurred between mobile policemen detailed to guard Balogun, and the EFCC team that went to effect his arrest.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported an un-named source as saying that Balogun is currently being interrogated by detectives from the EFCC in Lagos. According to the agency, Balogun has been under interrogation since Monday and would remain in detention pending when the investigation is completed.

"He wrote his statement today (Tuesday), filled the suspects' personal data form and the assets declaration form. All these are necessary before his arraignment latest Friday or Monday next week," a source told THISDAY.

Balogun's interrogation, according to the source, became necessary to extract more facts on his assets with a view to proving allegations of money laundering and official corruption against him in court.

THISDAY also gathered that activities at the Commission's office were completely paralysed yesterday as the main entrance into the premises was under tight security. People on appointment were not allowed entry, apparently because of Balogun's presence.

Senior EFCC officials confirmed Balogun's arrest to THISDAY last night.

Balogun's retirement from the police last January was sudden and controversial.

According to a January 17 statement signed by Secretary to the Federal Government (SFG), Mr. Ufot Ekaette, the embattled former IGP had given a notice of retirement effective March 6 and proceeded on retirement leave January 18.

EFCC chairman, Alhaji Nuhu Ribadu, later said that Balogun was forced into retirement based on the outcome of the investigation by his commission. He was said to have been involved in corrupt enrichment to the tune of about N2 billion. Following Balogun's retirement, Mr. Sunday Ehindero, Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) in charge of administration was appointed Acting IGP.

Also, Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala had at an international forum stated that the former IGP may soon be prosecuted when investigation on his case is concluded.

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