Olisa Agbakoba: EFCC has no power to investigate Kogi’s finances

A former president of the Nigerian Bar Association, Olisa Agbakoba, has stated that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has no legal standing to investigate a government’s budgetary practices.

At a press conference on Sunday in Lagos, Agbakoba stated that only the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and state assemblies are authorised to investigate governmental spending.

About a recent high-profile case in which EFCC agents arrested several individuals in Kogi state on suspicion of money laundering, the senior counsel stated, “I believe that case should not be the business of the EFCC at all.”

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“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 supreme court has recently said in one of its judgments that the EFCC cannot be a jack of all trades and that they should concentrate on what the law empowers them to do under Section 46 of their Act.

“It is not the duty of the EFCC to be chasing the Kogi state government and threatening to storm the state house to seize documents or harass the accountant-general of the state.

“What the EFCC is currently doing is turning itself into a one-man Robin Hood riot gang. That must not be allowed, and that is the impunity that I refer to.

“If I were the lawyer to the Kogi state government, what I would do is to go to court and tell the court that as a result of the supreme court judgement, the EFCC does not have the power to demand that we should provide documents or give them our accounting books.

“If we have lost money, we are the ones to complain, and if we are not complaining or complicit in any fraud, then the appropriate agency to handle it is the ICPC or the state house of assembly.”

Agbakoba added that the EFCC “must go to the national assembly to do so” if it wants to broaden its mandate.

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