Court fixes date on suit challenging EFCC’s powers to probe Benue govt

EFCC operative used to illustrate the story
EFCC operative used to illustrate the story

The Abuja division of the federal high court will on October 8 decide on an application challenging the legality of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s investigation into allegations of fraud in Benue State.

The court gave the date on Wednesday, after taking arguments from counsels.

Following the freezing of the Benue State account on August 8 by the EFCC, the State Government filed a suit in court challenging the commission’s powers to investigate its financial operations.

Speaking during the opening of the session in court on Wednesday, the federal government’s counsel, Sylvanus Tahir, responded to the application by the state.

Also, the counsel to the Benue State government, Emeka Etiaba (SAN), said the provisions of section 128 of the constitution has specifically made it clear that it only the House of Assembly in a state can directly carry out such an investigation.

According to Mr Etiaba, sections 6 and 7 of the EFCC Act does not empower it to investigate state finances.

After listening to both counsels, the judge, Nnamdi Dimgba adjourned the matter till October 8.

The EFCC recently lifted restrictions on the bank accounts run by the state and that Akwa Ibom, which also suffered a similar fate.

Authorities in Benue and Akwa Ibom States had raised alarm that their accounts had been frozen, trapping workers’ salaries, pensions and crippling public activities.

But while Benue officials confirmed unblocking of all the accounts affected, Akwa Ibom was only able to confirm a partial relaxing of limited access imposed on its accounts in commercial banks.

Governor Samuel Ortom, who recently defected from the ruling APC to the opposition PDP, also confirmed in a statement that the state’s accounts are now fully active.

The state had raised an alarm that its bank accounts were frozen without any explanation.

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