FG May Reopen N100 Billion Odili Case

Former Rivers State Governor, Peter Odili

The federal government could reopen a N100 billion embezzlement case against former governor of Rivers State, Peter Odili.

THE PUNCH newspaper, quoted Itse Sagay, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, PACAC, as faulting a Federal High Court Judge for granting a perpetual injunction which has scuttled the ex-governor’s prosecution.

Justice Ibrahim Buba had given an order of perpetual injuction preventing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and any other government anti-corruption agency from prosecuting or arresting Odili, who was accused of allegedly embezzling about N100bn of Rivers State money during his eight-year tenure as governor.

The PACAC chairman said, “That judgment was unconstitutional. The judge who gave that perpetual injunction did what was unconstitutional.

“In effect, he was saying that the police should not do their work. He was removing the prosecutorial powers of the police and the prosecution in Nigeria.

“It is illegal and Supreme Court judgments have said so.  So, the whole thing we should do now is to restore legality so that if you are charged, you should be able to come to court and defend yourself instead of asking that you should not be investigated.

“That is totally illegal and unconstitutional and not acceptable.”

Sagay urged anti-corruption agencies not to be demoralized by such developments, adding that efforts were on to ensure that such orders would never again be given by the law courts.

“The important thing is not to give up because if you give up, the whole system will collapse,” he said.

“Personally, I have said any judge that gives an order of perpetual injunction against investigation, interrogation and arrest, should be regarded as having committed a serious act of wrongdoing, which should merit disciplinary action by the NJC.

“I can assure you that under the new system that we are all running, there is no case that will be allowed to remain permanently under injunction. They will have to go through the process and be declared guilty or not guilty.

“This case can be reopened, definitely,” the Professor stated.



    The PUNCH reports that On December 12, 2006, the EFCC had issued an interim investigative report and prepared a draft of 223 charges against Odili, accusing him of embezzling N100bn during his tenure.

    But in a counter move, the then Attorney General of the state, Odein Ajumogobia, SAN, on February 23, 2007, sued the EFCC, the then Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Rotimi Amaechi, and other defendants in a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt.

    In the suit, Buba of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt granted Odili’s prayer to bar the EFCC from investigating, prosecuting or ever harassing him and officials of his administration.

    It was learnt that the EFCC had filed an appeal at the appellate court since 2008 but the case had not been assigned to anybody.

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