Bayelsa-born President of Baraza Multipurpose Cooperative Society Limited (BMCSL) Pastor Oyinmiebi Bribena and his wife, Beatrice Bribena, have sued the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to court, seeking the enforcing of their fundamental human rights.
The EFCC had in a statement issued on Friday by its Head, Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwajaren declared the couple wanted for allegedly defrauding members of the BMCSL of funds to the tune of N2 billion.
The couple insisted that they were not invited for questioning over the allegations before they were declared wanted by the anti-graft agency.
Also, Bribena had earlier filed an originating summons before the Federal High Court Yenagoa against the EFCC for the determination of some questions with regards to the powers of the Commission to interfere in disputes between members of the Co-operative Society and the Cooperative Society, considering the provisions of the Nigerian o-Operative Societies Act 2004.
In a statement issued to newsmen on Saturday, Bribena accused the EFCC of acting the script of persecuting and harassing people based on sentiments and influenced by public opinion rather than due process as required by law.
“To be sure, there is no basis for the EFCC so-called statement. 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 formally 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 dismissed 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, adding that the EFCC was also formally notified on Baraza operations from the onset.
According to Bribena, “despite the fact that members of the Co-operative Society approved that the society trade with their contributions at the Online Foreign exchange market for monthly returns which ran smoothly until the unfortunate events where most of the funds were lost in the Market”, he has constantly made frantic efforts at recovery and refunding members their contribution as authorized by the general meeting of the cooperative.
He added that the action of the Commission is a clog in the wheel of progress.
Bribena also said he will not relent in efforts being made to clear his name and called on all members of BARAZA Multipurpose Cooperative Society Limited to remain calm.
He assured that with the right commitment and resolve to sort out the issues on ground, every member will recover their contributions.