8 October 2018

Nigeria: Court Strikes Out Benue Govt's Application Challenging EFCC's Powers

The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has dismissed a request by the Benue State government challenging the powers of anti-graft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to investigate alleged fraud in the state.

The judge, Nnamdi Dimgba, ruled that the EFCC is legally empowered to investigate alleged fraud in any part of the country, regardless of the location.

According to the judge, the enabling act, guiding the EFCC does not limit its powers only to federal government agencies.

Mr Dimgba said the doctrines of neutrality and impartiality as it relates to the EFCC, makes it mandatory for the commission to treat all agencies of government equally, especially with regards to the disbursement of public funds.

"Public institutions like the first defendant must not only be impartial or neutral, but must be seen to be so."

He, therefore, threw out the application for lacking in merit.

The Benue State government had approached the court with a request that the EFCC be prevented from further investigations into the Benue State government's activities.

The applicant's lawyer, Emeka Etiaba, asked the court to declare the EFCC's investigations illegal, on the grounds that the commission was allegedly overstepping its boundaries.

Mr Etiaba argued that as a federal government establishment, the EFCC lacked the power to investigate alleged fraud in states.

Mr Etiaba told journalists after the court ruling on Monday that his client would appeal the court judgment.


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