Tuesday, 3 October 2017

EFCC’s arrest of commissioner, AG unlawful – Ekiti

The Ekiti State Government on Monday described the arrest of the state’s Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Toyin Ojo and Accountant General, Yemisi Owolabi, as unconstitutional and a show of executive lawlessness.

The duo were arrested on Thursday by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged misappropriation of state resources.

Speaking at a press conference in Abuja on Monday, the state’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Kolapo Kolade, said the action of the EFCC was in breach of a subsisting order issued against the Commission by a Federal High Court in 2016.

According to him, the court, in a suit FHC/AD/CS/32/2016 had barred the EFCC from arresting, detaining or investigating any state official or officials whether past or present without any report of indictment by the Ekiti State House of Assembly.

Kolade said the state government had approached the court at the time to challenge the serial arrest and embarrassment of state officials by the EFCC over issues outside the purview of the anti- graft agency.

The commissioner said the order of the court was duly served on the EFCC on November 27, 2016, adding that the order has not been vacated by the court or any other superior court in the land.

Kolade said: “Following the interim order, the EFCC wrote a petition to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court for the transfer of the case to another Federal High Court judge and the case was subsequently transferred to the Akure Judicial Division of the Federal High Court.

“The Akure Judicial  Division of the Federal High Court sat over the case on the 24th day of January, 2017 and re-emphasized the order made earlier by the Ado Ekiti Judicial Division of the Federal High Court.

“The case was adjourned to 15/02/2017 for hearing. However, the judge referred the case back to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court to have a second look at the issue of transferring the case to the Akure Judicial Division of the Federal High Court.

“The order of the Federal High Court has not been vacated till date. In other words, the arrest and or detention of the Ekiti State government officials are subjudice.

“The EFCC is not above the law and the agency is bound to obey lawful orders made by courts as in this case.

“The actions of the EFCC are to say the least, unlawful and a raw show of executive lawlessness.”

He accused the EFCC of acting outside its constitutional mandate by attempting to look into the account books of the state, an action which he said violated Sections 125(5) (6) and 128 (2) (b) of the 1999 Constitution.

Kolade said the Sections vested such powers in the state’s House of Assembly only.

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