By Wahab Abdullah & Sunday Akano
Ogun State Government has dragged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to court over the arrest of the officials of the state, for their alleged role in fraud and financial malpractices.
In the suit filed by the state through its lawyer, Tayo Oyetibo, SAN, the state accused the anti-graft commission of pursuing a private agenda against the state government and its officials.
In the suit filed before a Federal High Court, Abuja, the plaintiff, among others, is praying the court to declare that the EFCC has no power to investigate the financial affairs of the state government and the local governments in the state.
The EFCC recently quizzed the Acting Accountant General of the State, Adeseye Sunday Senfuye, officials of the Stateâ€™s Ministry of Lands on purported investigation into the affairs of the Bureau of Lands and Survey of the state, Obafemi/Owode Local Government Council and Ikenne Local Government Council.
Among other reliefs sought, the plaintiff is seeking for a declaration that by virtue of the provisions of section 7(1)(a) and (b) of the Economic and Financial CrimesÂ Commission (Establishment) Act 2004, the power of the defendant to conduct investigations of crimes is limited to criminal offences committed by persons, corporate bodies or organisations but does not extend to the government of Ogun State or any of its local government councils, particularly but not restricted to Obafemi Owode Local Government Council and Ikenne Local Government Council.
In addition, the state is praying the court to declare that the defendant has no power under the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act 2004 or any other law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to charge the government of Ogun State, Obafemi Owode Local Government CouncilÂ or Ikenne Local Government Council with the commission of a criminal offence.
Further, the plaintiff wants, â€œa declaration that the defendant has no power under the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act 2004 or any other law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to conduct an inquiry into the affairs of the Government of Ogun State or the Obafemi Owode Local GovernmentÂ Council or the Ikenne Local GovernmentÂ Council.
â€œA declaration that the directive given by the Defendant on the 7th day of July 2010 or any other date to the 5TH Plaintiff who is the acting Accountant General of Ogun State to produce and submit to the Defendant the documents relating to the affairs of the Ogun State Government, particulars of which are set out in the subjoined schedule, constitutes an inquiry into the affairs of the Ogun State Government and therefore is unconstitutional, illegal, null and void.â€
Consequently, the plaintiff is also seeking for an order of the court restraining the Defendant either by itself, its servants, officers, agents, and or representatives from arresting, or detaining the 5th Plaintiff or any of the officers of the 1st to 4th Plaintiffs on account of non-production of the books of accounts of the aforementioned tiers/levels of Government
Following the development, the state has lodged a formal complaint to the chairman of EFCC, Farida Waziri, over the alleged harassment of the officials of the state and local government by operatives of the commission.