The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, yesterday said the commission will soon reopen investigations on Rivers State governors and politicians for alleged financial offences, despite a court injunction to the contrary that is pending at the apex court.
Justice Ibrahim N. Buba of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, had in 2009, given a perpetual injunction restraining security agencies including the EFCC from investigating Odili and others over financial crimes. But Magu insisted that nothing would stop the commission from investigating and prosecuting the state governors, who are found culpable.
He further explained that events had overtaken the court order allegedly obtained by former Governor Peter Odili and others to stop the commission from investigating and prosecuting them. He said the court order could no longer hold even though the matter was still at the Supreme Court, vowing that the case would be investigated and concluded.
“The matter has lingered for about 13 years now. We are going to test it at the Supreme Court and we will follow it up. That decision pending in the Supreme Court does not actually hold water again. There is a subsequent judgement that has discarded it. Clearly, there are other judgements that came up that nobody can stop us from investigating and prosecuting.”
Magu stated this yesterday, while briefing journalists on the updates of the commission’s activities at its zonal office in Port Harcourt. His words: “Nothing will stop us. The court order allegedly obtained by Dr. Peter Odili and others has been overtaken by events. Even though the matter is still at the Supreme Court, it cannot stand. We will proceed.
“That judgement cannot stand, it will only take some time, it cannot hold and we are going to conclude the investigation. There are so many investigations we are doing, we will take it before the court, let the court refuse to prosecute their case.
Meanwhile, Magu described Rivers State as headquarters of money laundering after Lagos State, stressing that the commission was committed to tracking and exposing all criminal activities in the country. He also disclosed that the high rate of money laundering in Port Harcourt was traceable to the large oil businesses in the state.
“I think Rivers State is next to Lagos in terms of crime, this is the headquarters of money laundering, because there is a lot of oil money, bunkering money here. “I think you can rate Port Harcourt the second to maybe Lagos when you talk of people playing with sinking, diving, hiding, maybe because of the large oil deals,” he stated.
On the achievements of the commission in 2019, Magu stated the EFCC secured about three convictions of governors, who are now serving various jail terms, adding that 1,245 convictions were recorded last year. He sought cooperation of all Nigerians in the fight against corruption in the country