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Makinde warns EFCC, confirms arrest of Accountant General

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Oyo state governor, Seyi Makinde has cautioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against alleged harassment of officials of the state government.

Makinde issued the caution while confirming the arrest of the Oyo state Accountant General, Gafar Bello by the anti-graft agency last Friday.

According to a statement issued by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Taiwo Adisa, the arrest of Bello was related to the EFCC’s “illegal” probe of the state’s security votes from its Consolidated Revenue Fund, and not money laundering as reported in the media.

The statement denied a report that the Accountant General was arrested for allegedly laundering N9 billion local government funds for Governor Makinde.

“There is no truth whatsoever in the claim contained in the online newspaper that the interrogation of the Accountant General of the State, Mr. Gafa Bello, by the EFCC has to do with an alleged laundering of N9 billion local government funds. In truth, no money is missing in the local government treasury and no money has been traced to the account of any politician in respect of any future election. The claim is not only mischievous but false,” the statement reads partly.

READ ALSO: P&ID scam: EFCC asks court to issue arrest warrant for three Marqott Directors

Makinde, however, argued that the EFCC lacks the power to investigate, audit or probe the disbursement and expenditure of its security votes especially because the matter was already before the Federal High Court in Ibadan.

The statement reads further, “The Attorney General of Oyo State, Prof. Oyelowo Oyewo, had in a suit with reference number FHC/IB/CS/23/22, filed on February 8, 2022, sought to restrain the EFCC from questioning the disbursement and expenditures of the security votes of the state contained in the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the State.

“The Attorney General, according to the processes before the court, is seeking an injunction restraining the Attorney General of the Federation and the EFCC from conducting any investigation whatsoever into the disbursements and expenditures of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, contingencies funds of Oyo State including the security vote; an order of injunction restraining the EFCC and the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from inviting the Accountant General of Oyo State for questioning or probing in respect of the disbursements and expenditures of the security vote and an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Attorney General of the Federation, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Chairman of EFCC and their agents from interfering with the activities of any government official in Oyo State.

“At the hearing of the suit on Tuesday, the trial judge ordered the EFCC to accept the service of the Oyo State government’s originating processes and pending applications after hearing the complaints by the Attorney General of Oyo State, Prof. Oyelowo Oyewo, indicating that the anti- graft Agency had brazenly refused service of the processes at the Abuja Head Office for reasons unknown to the law.”

The statement indicated that the presiding Judge, Hon. Justice N Agomoh, at the sitting on March 1, berated the attitude of the EFCC for refusing service of court processes, and ordered both parties to sheath swords and maintain the peace so that the court could do its work.

He ordered the agency to accept the service, and cease all forms of arrest and intimidation, while adjourning the case to March 9, 2022.

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