Monday, May 25, 2020 8:35 am
Asks EFCC to vacate subsisting court judgements
Okafor Ofiebor/ Port Harcourt
The administration of Governor Wike has insisted that it will not submit any of its officials to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for any investigations bordering on corruption allegations.
The Rivers State Government made the assertion while reacting to the allegation of money laundering involving withdrawal of a total of N118 billion cash between 2015 and 2018 by some of its officials at one of the new generation banks published in a national newspaper on Sunday.
EFCC, according to the story, had lamented that the Rivers State Government has refused to make the officials involved in the massive withdrawal of cash available for interrogation despite several letters and invitations.
But while accusing the EFCC of ‘media trial’ the Rivers State Government in a press statement signed by Paulinus Nsirim, its Commissioner for Information and Communications, vowed not to cooperate with the EFCC for the money laundering probe.
The State Government alleged that, “The latest attempt contained in the edition (May 24, 2020)of The Nation Newspaper alleged that the State Government has refused to release top officials for interrogation in connection to the withdrawal of N118 billion in cash between 2015 and 2018.
“We have repeatedly said that the State Government will not release its officials to the EFCC for investigations until the commission approaches the court to set aside subsisting orders of perpetual injunction granted by various Courts of Competent jurisdiction restraining the EFCC from investigating or inquiring into the Financial transactions of the Rivers State Government including its Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
“In view of these Subsisting judgments, it would amount to an act of brazen illegality for the EFCC to insist on interrogating any official of the Rivers State Government.
“For the avoidance of doubt, no official of the Rivers State Government would appear before the EFCC until the subsisting judgments in favour of the Rivers State Government are set aside on appeal.
“Resorting to the Media can only be described as cheap blackmail and witch-hunt to turn away public attention from the development strides in the State.
“This media trial that they engage in all the time will not take the place of our extant laws no matter how hard they try.
The statement advised EFCC to stop playing to the gallery and pursue its war against corruption within the ambits of the law, adding that the Rivers State Government is committed to the Rule of Law and cannot be intimidated by the EFCC.
The State Government added: “Those who want to use the EFCC to promote their political agenda in the State will fail because we know their antics.
Targeting Rivers State for this occasional media trial should be seen by the public for what it is, “political witch-hunt.”
It would be recalled that at twilight of administration of former Governor Dr Peter Odili there were attempts by EFCC to probe him. He went to court and obtained a perpetual injunction against EFCC. The Commission has not been able to untie the legal encumbrances or vacate the Injunctions.