Court orders FG to stop “intimidation” of Kano state anti-corruption agency 

The court also ordered the agencies to stop meddling into the matters of the antigraft agency.

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Court orders fg to stop “intimidation” of kano state anti-corruption agency A Kano High Court, presided by Justice Farouk Adamu, has granted an Exparte Order,  directing federal agencies and their agents to stop questioning or investigating officials of the PCACC.
The Kano State Government had dragged the Federal Government before the Kano High Court over what it described as harassment and intimidation of the state Anti-corruption Commission (PCACC) by three federal agencies.
This is sequel to an invitation sent to the PCACC and its officials by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and Code of Conduct Bureau, respectively, to answer questions over the administration of the commission from 2011 to date.
In an Exparte Order, the court, presided by Justice Farouk Adamu, ordered the federal agencies and their agents to stop questioning or investigating officials of the PCACC.
The court also ordered the agencies to stop meddling into the matters of the antigraft agency.
The Order with suit no K/M1128/2023, further advised all the parties involved in the case to maintain status quo.
The case was instituted by the Attorney General of Kano state, Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-corruption Commission, and Muhuyi Rimingado (as first, second and third plaintiffs), against the EFCC, Code of Conduct Bureau, and ICPC) as first, second and third defendants.
“Upon reading Motion Exparte, together with accompanying affidavit duly sworn to by one Khalifa Auwal Hashim on 28th August, 2023.
“And after hearing Mr. H. I. Dederi Esq. (Attorney General of Kano State) of Counsel for the Applicant, it is hereby ordered that all parties to maintain Status Quo Ante-bellum.
“Order is hereby include by way of Interim Injunction restraining the Defendants/Respondents from meddling or delving into the affairs or taking any step on, related to or in connection with the functions, duties and affairs of the Plaintiffs/Applicants,” the order stated.
The Court also declared that: “By virtue of the Supreme Court decision in Nwobike vs FRN, the powers of the EFCC and other respondents to investigate alleged financial crimes is not at large and does not transcends all boundaries.
“The scope of the powers of the EFCC are not open-ended and indefinable and does not include the powers to investigate alleged infractions committed at state levels where there are relevant penal provision.
“The purpose of acts enabling the creation of the Respondents to investigate alleged administrative malfeasance or financial crimes is not to make a pigmy or to render other similar agencies and relevant penal legislations at state level ineffective, moribund, inapplicable or redundant.
“The EFCC, ICPC and Code of Conduct Bureau cannot arbitrarily meddle or interlope into the affairs of the office of the Attorney-General or any other agency, department or parastatal under his supervision without recourse to the Hon. Attorney-General as the head of the Department or Chief Law Officer of the State.
“The EFCC or any of the respondents are not empowered by their enabling laws to investigate financial crimes allegedly committed in respect of the finances, administrative structure and properties of state governments based on faceless, vague and nebulous complaints by meddlesome interlopers.”
In the Originating Summons, the Court ordered that: “Let the defendants within five days after service of this summons on them inclusive of the day of such service cause an appearance to be entered for them to this summons which was issued upon the application of Attorney-General of Kano State, Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission, and Barrister Muhuyi Magaji Rimin Gado seeking for the determination of the following questions:-
“Whether in view of the Supreme Court decision in Nwobike vs FRN, the powers of the EFCC to investigate alleged financial crimes is at large and transcends all boundaries?
“Whether the scope of the powers of the EFCC are open-ended and indefinable and includes powers to investigate alleged infractions committed at state levels despite relevant penal provisions.”
The plaintiffs had prayed the Court to grant an Order: “Directing all parties to maintain Status-Quo Ante-bellum.
“An Order of Interim Injunction restraining the defendants/respondents from meddling or delving into the affairs or taking any step on, related to or in connection with the functions, duties and affairs of the Plaintiffs/Applicants in this matter pending the hearing and determination of the Originating Motion on Notice.
 “An Interim Order restraining all the Respondents either by themselves, agents, staff, privies or whosoever, howsoever, in whatsoever way or manner from inviting, threatening, coercing, cajoling, arresting or in any way or manner interfering, meddling or interloping in the affairs of any staff or person under the services of the plaintiffs by whatever designation or nomenclature called, pending the hearing and determination of the Originating Motion on Notice.
“An Order of this court accelerating the hearing of this matter by abridging time within which the defendants may file and serve their respective court processes in this Matter.”
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the state anti-graft agency has assured that nothing would deter the commission from carrying out its constitutional duties.
Rimingado told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that no amount of blackmail and smear campaign would deter the commission from performing its lawful mandate.
According to him, the anti-corruption fight was in the best interest of the state and country.
While reiterating the commission’s commitment to service delivery, the PCACC chairman pledged to abide strictly by the law establishing the agency.
He accused some corrupt public officers in the state of frustrating the commission.
Rimingado gave example of a recent development where a law firm defending a N4 billion fraud case petitioned the Inspector-General of Police seeking the withdrawal of policemen attached to the commission.
”The recent intimidations and smear campaigns against the commission are the handiwork of people with skeletons in their cupboard.
“”We will not cut corners and we will strictly adhere to the Rule of Law. We are committed to ridding the state of corrupt public officers,” he said. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
AAG/MST
Edited by Muhammad Suleiman Tola