Court Clears EFCC To Investigate Akwa Ibom Finances


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Justice Ntong Ntong of the Akwa
Ibom State High Court, sitting in
Ikot Ekpene, Akwa- Ibom State,
on Friday vacated unction
restraining the Economic and
Financial Crimes Commission from investigating the accounts
of Akwa Ibom State Government
as well as some of the state’s
past officials.
The court had on July 13 ruled in
favour of an ex-parte motion filed before it by the Akwa Ibom
State’s Attorney General and
Commissioner for Justice,
Uwemedimo Nwoko, seeking an
order of interim injunction
restraining the Federal Government or any of its
agencies, including the EFCC, the
Independent Corrupt Practices
and Other Related Offences
Commission (ICPC), and the
Inspector General of Police from arresting, from detaining or
investigating any official of the
state government, past or
present, without any report of
indictment by the Akwa Ibom
State House of Assembly. An EFCC source said one of those
being investigated is Godswill
Akpabio, a former governor of
the state, and minority leader of
the Nigerian senate.
However, the EFCC, through a motion on notice, filed on
August 2, 2016, approached the
court to quash the injunction.
At the resumption of the matter
on Friday, counsel to the EFCC,
Ben Ubi, told the court of an application dated July 29, 2016
and filed on the August 2 asking
the court to vacate the
restraining order.
In response, the Attorney
General of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Nwoko argued that his seven
days to respond to the
application by the EFCC had not
elapsed. Besides, he said he had
filed a motion on notice for the
enlargement of the lifespan of the interim injunction.
The judge having listened to
arguments on both sides
vacated the interim order of
injunction and then adjourned
the matter to October 19 for hearing of the preliminary
objection of the EFCC alongside
other applications
The legal fireworks initiated by
the Akwa ibom State Attorney
General and Commissioner for Justice, against the EFCC and
other agencies were sparked by
a petition received by the EFCC
against some governors and
officials of the past regimes in
Akwa Ibom State. The vacation of the restraining
order on the EFCC has now
paved ways for the commission
to continue its work in that
regard, the Head of Media and
Publicity for the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, said in a statement on
Friday
“Also, the vacation of the order
has also voided an earlier order
restraining the Speaker of Akwa
Ibom State House of Assembly, Akwa Ibom State House of
Assembly, Clerk of the Akwa
Ibom State House of Assembly,
the Auditor General of Akwa
Ibom State and the Accountant
General of Akwa Ibom State from surrendering themselves or
any document or financial
records to the EFCC, ICPC or any
other person.”