Kogi’s finances not EFCC’s business, says Agbakoba

ac olisa agbakoba san
ac olisa agbakoba san

A former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), has criticised the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over what he described as an unwarranted media trial of the Kogi State Government concerning the fresh case against a nephew of the state governor and the previous N20bn bail-out controversy.

Agbakoba made his position known at a press conference tagged “The Rule of Law in Nigeria Today” held in Lagos on Sunday.

Aliyu Bello, said to be a nephew to the Kogi State governor, Mr Yaya Bello, alongside one Dauda Sulaiman, were on Thursday arraigned before an Abuja Federal High Court, over alleged N10bn money laundering and fraud by the EFCC.

But Agbakoba said how a state spends its money should not be the business of the anti-graft agency.

He said, “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. 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.

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“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 Wood riot gang. That must not be allowed and that is the impunity that I refer to.”

Agbakoba advised the commission to remember that Section 46 of the EFCC Act had narrowed down its functions and in a case where it wants to expand its functions; it must go to the National Assembly to do so.

He added, “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 judgment, 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 we are complicit in any fraud, then the appropriate agency to handle it is the ICPC or the state House of Assembly.

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