Group lauds EFCC on plans to prosecute Odili

The Anti-Corruption Network (ACoNet) has praised ongoing efforts by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to vacate the subsisting perpetual barring the Commission from investigating the management and utilisation of Rivers State finances.

Social Action’s Head of National Advocacy, Abuja, Mrs Vivian Bellonwu, who gave the commendation via a statement on Monday expressed optimism that the Commission’s move will help towards ensuring accountability on the management and utilisation of public resources by elective officeholders in the oil-rich State.

“The acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Magu, in a recent visit to Port Harcourt, Rivers State, declared the resolve of the anti-graft body to vacate the repugnant injunction to pave way for investigations into the management cum use of finances of Rivers state government by an elected official of successive administrations in the State.

“The Rivers State government had during the tenure of a former State Governor, Dr Peter Odili in 2008 sought and obtained a bizarre perpetual injunction from a Federal High Court restraining the EFCC and other anti-graft agencies from investigating the activities of officials of the state.

“This was clearly to shield him and officials that worked with him at the time from being made to account in any manner whatsoever, for their service to the state, in line with the very basic principles of democracy.

“This obnoxious injunction has since been latched unto by successive administration after the Odili’s and in this guise, supposedly elected officials have had a field day riding roughshod over the people in the State and expending the State’s resources at their whims, caprices and to their glee to date.

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“The Anti-Corruption Network is therefore pleased with the latest gesture of the EFCC to vacate this terrible injunction and look into the books and management of the resources of the state in line with its constitutional mandate.

“This is the right thing to do. It is pertinent to note that the Anti-Corruption Network, in Rovers state, ACONet, has been at the forefront of campaigns and engagements with the EFCC and other relevant institutions, to abrogate the obnoxious injunction in order to pave a way for accountability by public officials to the people of the State. By this development, ACoNet is glad that these campaign and advocacy efforts are beginning to yield positive outcomes,” she noted.

While expressing its displeasure over the disposition of the Rivers State government to the pronouncement of the acting boss of the EFCC, Anti-Corruption Network condemned in “strong terms the statement credited to the Commissioner for Information in Rivers state, to the effect that Anti-Graft body cannot investigate or prosecute any official of the state found wanting.

To this end, the Group urged the Commission to “discountenance such antics by the officials of the State as they are diversionary and replete with motives aimed at frustrating the well-thought-out plans of the Anti-Corruption body which are long overdue.

“ACONet, therefore, pledges its support to the EFCC as it works to vacate the injunction and usher in a season of probity and accountability in public expenditure in River state. It is also in the same vein, strongly urging the EFCC to go beyond merely declaring its intent and ensure that appropriate action or actions are taken to actualize this step. The Network will closely monitor progress made in this regard.

“ACONet is a coalition made up of active civil society organizations that work to promote fiscal responsibility, transparency and pubic finance accountability.

“The Anti-Corruption Network is a coalition of anti-corruption advocates who see the need to work with other segments of the society to address the issues of corruption in their states. They work to strengthen citizens’ actions against corruption,” the Group stressed.