Uduaghan Frowns As Court Okays EFCC To Investigate State Treasury

Source: OUR REPORTER. - thewillnigeria.com

ASABA, August 08, (THEWILL) Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan is displeased over a Lagos Federal High Court of Monday, August, 02, 2010 which ruled that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has the constitutional powers to investigate the finances of states and other arms of government.

THEWILL reliably gathered that since the unpleasant ruling, the state government has been uneasy especially considering that elections are around the corner.

A senior government official who spoke to THEWILL on Saturday on the condition that he would not be named said, "The governor is worried that the EFCC may be used to harass government officials and destabilize government under the pretext of conducting investigations.

"I have been informed by my commissioner that the governor wants us to be meticulous in our dealings since the court judgment was made public" adding that the governor does not want any embarrassments or distractions from his reelection campaign.

Dr. Uduaghan and some Delta politicians allegedly being backed by the presidency have been at loggerheads lately, but with no seeming credible opposition candidate to challenge him in the states 2011 gubernatorial election, Uduaghan is expected to get reelected for one more term in office.

Delta State government through its Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Chief Victor Otomiewo had dragged the commission to court, accusing it of interference and prying into the states finances over its probe of the states 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.

Delivering his judgment in the suit, presiding judge, Justice Mohammed Idris 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.