Federal High Court, Abuja

The Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed the suit filed by the Benue State Government challenging the power of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate accounts of the state.

Delivering judgment on the suit on Monday, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba held that the suit was lacking in merit.

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The judge also held that the case was built on a misconception that the EFCC lacked statutory powers to investigate the financial activities of a State Government.

Justice Dimgba further held that the powers to fight corruption donated to the EFCC under Sections 6, 7 and 38 of its Act were broad and not limited to any geographical location.

He, however, cautioned the commission to carry out its statutory functions in such a way that it would‎ earn public confidence and must be impartial and neutral.

The Benue government dragged the EFCC to court over what it referred to as the frenzied investigation activities into its financial administration.

The Attorney-General of the state, Michael Gusa, who filed on behalf of the government contended that the EFCC was not empowered by law to inquire into or investigate the financial affairs of Benue State.

He contended further that if the EFCC wished to investigate it, it must first be empowered by a resolution of the Benue State House of Assembly.

He also argued that the several and regular invitation of the officials of the Benue government by the EFCC to its head office in Abuja, constituted a clog to the administration of the state.

The EFCC, however, maintained that its actions were based on intelligence reports and petitions by individuals and corporate persons on alleged misappropriation of funds belonging to the Benue government.

Counsel to the Benue government, Emeka Etiaba (SAN), who was accompanied by the state’s attorney general confirmed that the state would challenge the judgment at the Court of Appeal.