The Rivers State government has said a subsisting Federal High Court judgment will have to be vacated, before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), can investigate the administration of Governor Nyesom Wike.
The government insisted that the anti-graft agency has no power to investigate the financial transactions of the state.
This followed a statement credited to EFCC Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, on Tuesday, that the judgement that has been preventing the commission from investigating the financial transactions of the state government, adding that it will not stand.
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Magu ranked Rivers second in money laundering in the country to Lagos, saying the oil-rich status of the south-south state exposed it to such high-level of financial criminality.
However, in a swift reaction, Paulinus Nsirim, the state Commissioner of Information and Communications, stated that the commission would be acting ultra vires without first vacating the judgment.
He said: “EFCC can only investigate the government, only if the Federal High Court judgment that declared that barred the commission from doing so is vacated, and until then, the EFCC boss should stop claiming what he has no powers to do.
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“Magu cannot claim that that judgement cannot stand, except he wants Nigerians to believe that he has started issuing instructions to the Supreme Court.
“It is unfortunate that in a democracy, someone holding a public office would want to muzzle the court.”
On the allegation that the state is second to Lagos in money laundering, Nsirim questioned how the EFCC arrived at the conclusion.
“To justify this allegation, the EFCC should make public the names of people they have arrested and prosecuted in Rivers State over money laundering. If this is not done, Magu’s statement would just be seen as mere playing to the gallary to enjoy cheap publicity,” he added.
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He further said the Rivers government will support the agency in fight against corruption within the ambit of the law, but will reject any attempt to subvert the rule of law in the state.
The commissioner urged Magu to be patient and desist from the illegality of arrogating to himself the judicial powers of courts.
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“The EFCC should desist from self-help and unnecessary political propaganda as it will yield no results,” the commissioner counselled, he also stated.
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