By Chioma Onuegbu & Harris-Okon Emmanuel
Akwa Ibom State Government has filed a N50 billion suit against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and some banks before a Federal High Court sitting in Uyo, over the freezing of its accounts, describing the action of the anti-graft agency as unconstitutional and illegal.
The state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Uwemedimo Nwoko, who disclosed this to newsmen, weekend in Uyo, said that the state government was determined to pursue the matter to its logical conclusion because the anti-graft agency had no powers to freeze the accounts of the state government.
The state government is asking the court to determine:
*Whether the accounts of Akwa Ibom State Government held with banks or financial institutions fall within the financial crimes enforcement purview of section 34 of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Established) Act 2004.
*Whether the account of Akwa Ibom State Government with a bank or financial institution can be subjected to a freezing order pursuant to section 34 of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Established) Act 2004.”
Nwoko said: “I am sure that we are going to win the case. There is no doubt about that because there was no basis for their action, even in the constitution of Nigeria or any other enabling law made by anybody whether the National Assembly or the state Assembly or any other convention, that authorizes any federal agency or any agency to shut down the account of a state government as done by the EFCC.
“I want to state clearly that even if there were to be an investigation that the EFCC was carrying out on whether there was any fraud committed against Akwa Ibom State in that circumstance, it should be the government of Akwa Ibom that should be the victim. So, there was no basis for freezing the account under the guise of investigating a fraud against the state government.”
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