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EFCC, ICPC Retain Powers To Probe State Spending- Court Rules 

A  Federal High Court in Asaba, Delta State, has upheld the authority of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate and prosecute alleged financial misconduct within the Delta State Government.

Justice Folasade Olubanjo, presiding over the case, emphatically affirmed that the overlapping mandates of ICPC and EFCC do not contravene constitutional principles of federalism and separation of powers.

 The lawsuit, initiated by the Attorney General of Delta State, aimed to challenge the jurisdiction of ICPC and EFCC in probing the financial affairs of the state government.

 The state government contended that only specific authorities, such as the state house of assembly and the auditor-general of the state, possessed constitutional mandates to oversee the management of state funds.

Among the state’s assertions was a plea for the court to recognize the exclusive authority of the state house of assembly to investigate the utilization of public funds, as enshrined in Section 128 of the Constitution.

Additionally, the state emphasized the role of the auditor-general of Delta State in receiving financial statements and annual accounts from the accountant general.

However, Justice Olubanjo firmly rejected the state’s arguments, emphasizing the cooperative nature of federalism in Nigeria. 

She cited numerous appellate decisions, including the landmark Supreme Court ruling in AG Ondo State vs AG Federation & 36 others, to underscore the shared responsibility of federal and state authorities in combating corruption.

In her judgment, Justice Olubanjo delivered a resounding rebuke to the plaintiff, ruling that the lawsuit lacked merit and failed to challenge established legal precedents. 

She dismissed the case, affirming the enduring authority of ICPC and EFCC to investigate alleged financial improprieties within the Delta State Government.

The court’s ruling marks a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts to root out corruption and promote accountability in Nigeria.

 It underscores the imperative of collaboration between federal and state institutions in safeguarding public funds and upholding the rule of law.

 

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