- The Akwa Ibom state government accuses EFCC of witch-hunt in an indictment concerning an alleged laundering of N1.7 billion
- The government says it has taken EFCC before a Federal High Court sitting in Uyo over the case
- President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Paul Usoro (SAN) denies EFCC's indictment and accuses anti-graft agency of misconceiving certain issues
The Akwa Ibom state government has reportedly described the alleged indictment of Governor Emmanuel Udom and some state officials over N1.7 billion by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as witch-hunt.
The government, through the commissioner for information and strategy, Charles Udoh, accused the EFCC of working with the opposition in the state in its indictment of the officials.
The statement described EFCC’s claim on the purported withdrawal of N1.7 billion from the state coffers as baseless and malicious.
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“The alleged indictment is tainted with political undertone to malign the integrity of the current government of Akwa Ibom state.
“It is another face-saving attempt by the EFCC to justify the several illegalities it has allowed itself to be used to perpetrate against the government and good people of a peaceful state by the opposition party.
“It is instructive to note that the EFCC is regurgitating this line of skewed narrative in the media for the umpteenth time in a flagrant act of impunity against the judicial process,” the statement said as reported by The Guardian.
According to the commissioner, the state government has instituted a legal proceeding against the EFCC at the Federal High Court, Uyo.
“The constitution and laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria authorize only the House of Assembly and the auditor-general to pry into the financial dealings of a state government”, the statement said as Udoh further claimed that the state had published its annual audited financial statements in the past three years.
“Copies of the state’s yearly audited financial statements are available in the public domain. It is mockery of the rule of law for the EFCC to allow itself to degenerate into a tool for character assassination, political mudslinging and witch-hunting by the opposition in Akwa Ibom state,” Udoh said.
Meanwhile, the president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Paul Usoro (SAN), who was accused with the state government of laundering a part of the fund, reportedly denied the allegation.
He made the denial in reaction to a suit filed against him by the EFCC at the Federal High Court, Lagos.
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The report said while addressing the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the Bar in Abuja, Usoro said no charges had been served on him by the commission.
The NBA president slammed the EFCC for misconceiving the issues about lawyers’ fees while tackling financial crimes.
“It has judicially and historically been acknowledged that issues of fees, as between a lawyer and his client, is a matter of privilege. By questioning lawyers on the legitimate fees that they have earned from clients, the EFCC is breaching the lawyer-client privilege and showing complete disregard for the judgments of the courts in this regard,” the NBA boss said.
Legit.ng earlier reported that the Akwa Ibom commissioner of police, Musa Kimo, recently denied police direct involvement in the state House of Assembly crisis which started on November 19.
Kimo said this on Wednesday, November 28, while addressing newsmen on another crisis which occurred on November 27, at the assembly.
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