The Rivers State Government has reiterated that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has no power to investigate the financial transactions of the state.
Reacting to comments credited to the acting Chairman of EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, stated that EFCC could only investigate the government if it vacates the Federal High Court judgment that declared that it cannot investigate the financial transactions of the government.
A Federal High Court in Port Harcourt had in 2008 ruled that EFCC has no powers to investigate Rivers State.
The anti-graft commission had appealed the judgment, which is still pending before the Court of Appeal.
But Magu who spoke with reporters during a visit to Port Harcourt, said the commission would re-open the investigation soon, boasting that the judgment which barred the ant-graft agency from investigating the state cannot stand.
In his reaction, Nsirim said the EFCC boss cannot be categorical and emphatic that the judgment cannot stand, except he wants to prove to Nigerians that he has started issuing instructions to the Supreme Court.
“Magu cannot claim that the judgment cannot stand, except he wants Nigerians to believe that he has started issuing instructions to the Supreme Court.
“It is unfortunate that in a democracy someone holding a public office would want to muzzle the court,” the commissioner said.
On the allegation that Rivers State is the second capital of money laundering in Nigeria after Lagos, the Rivers commissioner wondered how the EFCC arrived at that conclusion.
“To justify this allegation, the EFCC should make public the names of people they have arrested and prosecuted in Rivers State over money laundering. If this is not done, Magu’s statement would just be seen as mere playing to the gallery to enjoy cheap publicity,” he said.
He advised the EFCC chairman to be patient and desist from the illegality of arrogating to himself the judicial powers of courts.
“The EFCC should desist from self-help and unnecessary political propaganda, as it will yield no results,” he stated.