The government of Oyo State declared on Tuesday that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) lacks the power to investigate, audit or probe the disbursement and expenditure of its security votes contained in the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the State.
The state government, which detested the harassment of its officials by the anti-graft agency, stated that the subject matter was already before the Federal High Court sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, also indicated that contrary to reports contained in an online newspaper (Sahara Reporters), there was no truth in the claim that the Accountant General of the State, Mr. Gafar Bello, was arrested by the EFCC in relation to an allegedly missing N9 billion local government funds.
“There is no truth whatsoever in the claim contained in the online newspaper that the interrogation of the Accountant General of the State, Mr. Gafa Bello, by the EFCC has to do with an alleged laundering of N9 billion local government funds. In truth, no money is missing in the local government treasury and no money has been traced to the account of any politician in respect of any future election. The claim is not only mischievous but false,” the statement read.
The Attorney General of Oyo State, Prof. Oyelowo Oyewo, had in a suit with reference number FHC/IB/CS/23/22, filed on February 8, 2022, sought to restrain the EFCC from questioning the disbursement and expenditures of the security votes of the state contained in the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the State.
The Attorney General, according to the processes before the court, is seeking an injunction restraining the Attorney General of the Federation and the EFCC from conducting any investigation whatsoever into the disbursements and expenditures of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, contingencies funds of Oyo State including the security vote; an order of injunction restraining the EFCC and the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from inviting the Accountant General of Oyo State for questioning or probing in respect of the disbursements and expenditures of the security vote and an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Attorney General of the Federation, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Chairman of EFCC and their agents from interfering with the activities of any government official in Oyo State.
The statement further indicated that the Attorney General of the State had told the Federal High Court presided over by Hon. Justice N Agomoh, that the EFCC had evaded service of the processes since the case was first filed in February, the court at its sitting on Tuesday March 1, ordered the EFCC to accept the service.
“At the hearing of the suit on Tuesday, the trial judge ordered the EFCC to accept the service of the Oyo State government’s originating processes and pending applications after hearing the complaints by the Attorney General of Oyo State, Prof. Oyelowo Oyewo, indicating that the anti- graft Agency had brazenly refused service of the processes at the Abuja Head Office for reasons unknown to the law,” the statement read.
The presiding Judge also deprecated the attitude of the Agency for refusing service of court processes, and ordered parties to sheath swords and maintain the peace so that the court could do its work.
He also ordered the cessation of all forms of arrest and intimidation, while adjourning the case to March 9, 2022.