The Ekiti State Government has floored the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in its bid to probe the state's finances. The judgment was given at a Federal High Court in Ado Ekiti on Tuesday in a suit filed by the government against the EFCC, Inspector-General of Police, Speaker of the state House of Assembly, the Clerk, the state's Auditor General and the Accountant General. Other defendants are the chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board, Skye Bank, Access Bank, Zenith Bank, First City Monument Bank, Diamond, Keystone, Heritage, Fidelity, First Bank and Union Bank.
The state’s Attorney General filed the suit after the commission sent invitation letters to some government’s officials seeking details of some of the state’s financial transactions.
Justice Taiwo O. Taiwo held that the financial institutions were not entitled to submit, to release to, or in any manner whatsoever to disclose to any person, body or agency, including the EFCC and the IG, or any other investigating body, any document, financial information relating to the bank accounts of the state government. The court also held that the EFCC could not usurp the oversight functions vested in state House of Assembly under Sections 128 and 129 of the 1999 Constitution to initiate a probe or criminal proceedings against a state official. According to him, only the state legislature is vested with oversight and investigation roles over state finances, appropriation and implementation after receiving a formal report from the Auditor General based on financial records from the Accountant General.
The EFCC has , however, rejected the court judgment, saying it would seek redress at the Court of Appeal.