Yenagoa—The Chief Executive Officer of Baraza Multipurpose Cooperative Society, Architect Miebi Bribena, has described the statement by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) declaring him and his wife, Mrs. Beatrice Bribena wanted as an attempt to tarnish their image.
He opined that the statement is the height of mischief and a deliberate attempt to assassinate his character.
In a statement released to newsmen on Friday, Bribena alleged that the EFCC is playing out the script of persecuting and harassing people based on sentiments and influenced by public opinion instead of following due process as required by law.
“To be sure, there is no basis for the so-called statement by the EFCC. We have not received any invitation from the EFCC as is the practice. We have never been served any formal invitation to the EFCC.
“If the anti-graft agency is acting on a petition then we have the right to at least be invited to be notified as such and questioned in line with such a petition and the EFCC’s investigation.
“We are not aware of any matter before the EFCC concerning us after the crises began in our Cooperative and my life became threatened and sought safety hence my not being in public all this while, ”he said.
Bribena who debunked claims of Baraza being a Ponzi scheme as claimed by the EFCC, stated that the company’s operations were transparent and members were regularly briefed and were aware of the business model.
According to him, “our contracts were clear and physically signed by members before subscription, which has nothing to do with me. Besides, so long as the Cooperative’s business transactions are legitimate, how does this amount to Conspiracy, Obtaining Money by False Pretence, Money Laundering and Ponzi Scheme as declared by the EFCC?
“I have had to be at the EFCC at some point based on an invitation by the commission and I swiftly honoured that invitation, so why is it different now?”
He further maintained that although members of the cooperative approved that the society trade with their contributions at the online foreign exchange market for monthly returns, the cooperative ran smoothly until the unfortunate events where most of the funds were lost in the market.
Bribena averred that he has constantly made frantic efforts at recovering and refunding members’ contributions as authorized by the general meeting of the cooperative, describing the action of the EFCC as a clog in the wheel of progress.
While urging the EFCC to “do the proper thing” by inviting him or going to court with their facts, he appealed to human rights and civil society organizations to caution the anti-graft agency from damaging his reputation further.
Meanwhile, Bribena has dragged the EFCC before a Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa seeking the enforcement of his fundamental human rights.
He also asked the court to determine if the EFCC can interfere in disputes between members of the cooperative society and the cooperative society, considering the provisions of the Nigerian Co-operative Societies Act 2004.