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Wednesday, 27 June 2018

ICPC, EFCC can try states, persons, authorities for graft – Court rules

ICPC, EFCC can try states, persons, authorities for graft – Court rules

A Federal High Court sitting in Sokoto on Wednesday ruled that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and the Independent and Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC, have powers to try any individual and authority for graft.

The court said both anti-graft agencies were legally mandated to investigate and prosecute any person or authority over allegations of corruption anywhere in Nigeria.

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Justice S. K. Idris, who gave the verdict in a suit filed by the Sokoto State government, seeking to restrict ICPC and EFCC from inviting, investigating, arresting or prosecuting any official of the state government on allegations of corruption, dismissed the claim, adding that the two anti-corruption agencies had been so empowered by an Act of Parliament to perform the duties of fighting corruption in all the 36 states of the federation.

Sokoto State government had approached the court through the Attorney General of the State, Suleiman Usman, asking for a declaration and injunction that would stop ICPC and EFCC from carrying out any anti-corruption duties on any official or government department of the state on any matter or issue which the State House of Assembly can legislate on.

However, Justice Idris in his submission, observed that the state government also failed to file an amendment or further affidavit to show any further acts of the alleged political witch-hunt by either ICPC or EFCC since after the 2015 elections.

The judge, while concluding on the matter, held that the Federal High Court was bound by the decision of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in AG Ondo v AG Federation (2002) which upheld the constitutionality of both the ICPC and EFCC Acts as enacted by the National Assembly, being applicable and binding on every state, person and authority in Nigeria, including Sokoto State.

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