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EFCC Can Investigate State Finances – Federal Judge

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San Francisco, August 03, (THEWILL) - A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday ruled that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has the constitutional powers to investigate state finances.

Justice Mohammed Idris while delivering judgment in a suit filed against the anti-graft agency by the Delta State government ruled that since the EFCC was created via an Act of the National Assembly, it has the backing of law to investigate suspicious financial dealings of states and all arms of government.

Delta State through its Attorney General had accused the commission of interference and prying into the state’s finances over its probe of the state’s dealings with Oceanic Bank.

It also argued that the commission has no powers to investigate its finances adding that only the National Assembly was constitutionally empowered to do so.

The commission had in July 2005 asked Oceanic Bank for documentations on transactions between it and Delta State in the wake of its investigation of Chief James Ibori, who was a former governor of the state.

Oceanic Bank, who also entered the suit as a defendant had argued that the information requested by the commission was a breach of the client-customer privilege.

The judge in dismissing the suit awarded N10, 000 naira as cost to the EFCC.