‎Benue accounts: Court rules on suit against EFCC Monday

Godwin Tsa, Abuja

The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court will today deliver judgment in the suit challenging the powers of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the accounts belonging to the Benue State Government.

The EFCC had earlier this month frozen the bank account of Benue State Government claiming it was investigating alleged fraud but, quickly de-freeze the account same day the order was made.

‎Before Monday’s judgment, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba had, on August 21, restrained the EFCC from conducting further investigations into the finances of Benue State.

The court directed the anti-corruption agency to suspend action pending the determination of the suit that was lodged before it by the Benue State Government.

In an Originating Summons marked FHC/MKD/CS/42/18 filed by the Attorney General of Benue State, Michael Gusa, the state government is challenging the powers of the EFCC to investigate or inquire into the accounts and/or appropriations, disbursements and administration of the funds of Benue State Government having regard to the clear provisions of sections 1(1) and (3), 125(2), (4) and (6), 128 and 129 of the 1999 constitution.

It has the Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly; the Clerk, Benue State House of Assembly; Benue State House of Assembly and the Auditor-General, Benue State as other Respondents.

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‎All the parties to the suit had adopted their briefs of arguments canvassed on behalf of their counsel for and against the suit.

While Emeka Etiaba (SAN) canvassed arguments on behalf of the Benue State Government, Slyvanus Tahir, did same for the EFCC.

Issues brought before the court for determination were; “whether by virtue of sections 6, 7 and 38(1) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Act 2004, or any other law, the EFCC or any other body, authority or person beyond the Benue State House of Assembly and the Auditor- General, Benue State (4th and 5th respondents), has the power to investigate or inquire into the accounts and /or appropriations, disbursements and administration of the funds of Benue State Government having regard to the clear provisions of sections 1(1) and (3), 125(2),(4) and (6), 128 and 129 of the 1999 constitution.

“Whether in the absence of any resolution duly passed by the Benue State House of Assembly authorising the EFCC or any other body, authority or person to investigate and/or inquire into the accounts or appropriations, disbursements and administration of the funds of Benue State Government, the EFCC or any other body, authority or person can lawfully and constitutionally embark on such exercise without breaching the clear provisions of Sections 1 (1) and (3), 125(2), (4) and (6), 128 and 129 of the Constitution.

“Whether the continued invitations of Officials of Benue State Government, investigations and/or inquisitions into the accounts and/or appropriations, disbursements and administration of the funds of Benue State Government by the EFCC or any other body, authority or person under any guise having regard to Sections 1(1) and (3), 125(2), (4) and (6), 128 and 129 of the Constitution do not negate the Doctrine of Separation of Powers as enshrined under Sections 4, 5 and 6 of the Constitution.

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Upon favourable determination of the questions, the plaintiff is seeking “A declaration that by the provisions of Sections 6, 7 and 38(1) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and any other law, the EFCC or any other body, authority or person does not have the power to investigate and/or inquire into the accounts and/or appropriations, disbursements and administration of the funds of Benue State Government having regard to the clear provisions of Sections 1 (1) and (3): 125(2), (4) and (6), 128 and 129 of the Constitution.

The Plaintiff also wanted an order of perpetual injunction restraining the 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants from surrendering or sharing their powers of control over the public funds of Benue State as provided under Sections 128 and 129 of the Constitution to the 1st Defendant or to any other body, authority or person.

 

The post ‎Benue accounts: Court rules on suit against EFCC Monday appeared first on The Sun Nigeria.

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