- The Abuja division of the Federal High Court turned a request by the Benue state government challenging the power of the EFCC to investigate alleged fraud in the state
- The judge, Nnamdi Dimgba, said EFCC is legally empowered to investigate alleged fraud across the 36 states of Nigeria regardless of the location
- The state government, while faulting the judgment, said it would challenged it at the Court of Appeal
The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on Monday, October 8, dismissed the suit filed by the Benue state government challenging the powers of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate its accounts.
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, who dismissed the suit for lacking in merit, ruled that the EFCC is legally empowered to investigate alleged fraud in any part of the country, regardless of the location.
Dimgba explained that the doctrines of neutrality and impartiality as it relates to the EFCC, makes it mandatory for the commission to treat all agencies of government equally, especially with regards to the disbursement of public funds.
“Public institutions like the first defendant must not only be impartial or neutral, but must be seen to be so,” he said. Dimgba, however, threw out the application for lacking in merit.
The state government had approached the court with a request that the EFCC be prevented from further investigations into the Benue State government’s activities.
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Counsel to the state government, Emeka Etiaba (SAN), confirmed that the state would challenge the judgment at the appellate court asked the court to declare the EFCC’s investigations illegal, on the grounds that the commission was allegedly overstepping its boundaries.
He argued that as a federal government establishment, the EFCC lacked the power to investigate alleged fraud in states.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had reported that the EFCC froze the bank accounts belonging to the government of Benue state after it was said to have secured a court order for this.
The government’s accounts were frozen on the claim that Governor Samuel Ortom’s security vote was being investigated.
The report quoted a top official of the state as confirming this. The EFCC has, however, not reacted to this claim at the time of this report.
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