We have power to probe state finances, EFCC replies Agbakoba

THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has faulted claims by a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), that it has no power to probe a state’s finances.

In a statement by its spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, the anti graft agency described the senior lawyer’s comments as “indecorous and utterly irresponsible”.

Agbakoba, while speaking with journalists in Lagos on Sunday, said only the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and state assemblies have the responsibility to probe state expenditure.

“Like the current trending case where the EFCC arrested some people in Kogi State on allegations of money laundering, I believe that case should not be the business of the EFCC at all,” Agbakoba said.

“Is it their business how Kogi spends their money? Even if it is their business, is it their lawful business to make that enquiry?”

The EFCC vowed that no amount of intimidation and sponsored attacks will deter it from investigating cases of corruption at any level of government.

The ICIR reported that Aliyu Bello, a relative of Governor Yahaya Bello, alongside one Dauda Sulaiman, were arraigned before an Abuja Federal High Court over alleged N10 billion money laundering.

The development followed charges filed by the EFCC.

Faulting Agbakoba, the EFCC accused the lawyer of wrongly casting aspersions on its commitment to the rule of law.

The anti-graft agency also refuted Agbakoba’s claim of that it was engaging in media trial.

The Commission said Agbakoba was ‘playing the ostrich’ by continually harping on Section 46 of the EFCC Act while ignoring Section 7 of the same Act and various provisions of the Money Laundering Prevention and Prohibition Act, the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offenses Act, among others, which gave the agency power to investigate all fraud cases.

“In all his tirades no evidence was presented to support his claim that the EFCC has been lawless nor did he mention any law which the Commission’s investigation of the finances of the Kogi State Government violated.

“Instead his refrain was to a non-existent decision of the Supreme Court which he also failed to elaborate upon.”

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