The Ogun State House of Assembly has dragged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before a Federal High Court sitting in Abeokuta, seeking an interlocutory injunction restraining the anti-graft agency from “inviting and interrogating” members of the assembly regarding an ongoing probe into an alleged financial fraud in the legislature.
The House also sued its former Deputy Speaker, Oludare Kadiri, for allegedly smearing the image of the House in the media.
The anti-graft agency had in June 2021 begun an investigation of the assembly for alleged financial misappropriation.
The EFCC acting on a petition written against the Speaker, Olakunle Oluomo, had written a letter to the Assembly, demanding information on all budget appropriations and allocations of the House from May 30, 2015, till date.
Daily Trust gathered that the petition may have emanated from the impeached Deputy Speaker, who had accused Oluomo of shrouding the House financial records in secrecy.
The embattled former Deputy Speaker also accused Oluomo of forging his signature to withdraw about N50million from the Assembly’s bank account.
Kadiri, who has been at loggerheads with the Speaker was impeached as the Deputy Speaker over alleged gross misconduct in March 2021.
But, the Assembly while fighting back by has dragged the agency and Kadiri to court for allegedly tarnishing the image of the House.
The Assembly accused Kadiri of leaking confidential information given to the EFCC to the media, using an alleged official of the agency.
In a suit marked FHC/AB/CS/7/2022 and dated, January 14, the legislature also accused the EFCC of “bias and conspiracy to impugn the House.”
In a copy of an originating summons, the House prayed the court to restrain the EFCC from “inviting, interrogating, imposing obligations and demanding or requiring attendance of the plaintiffs/applicants in connection with the criminal allegation made by the 2nd defendant/respondent against the plaintiff.”
The Assembly equally stated that its request from the EFCC for the provision of a copy of the petition against the House in line with section 36 (6) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was not granted by the anti-graft agency.
In the notice of action against the anti-graft agency, a copy of which was acknowledged by the Office of the Zonal Commander of EFCC, Lagos; the Agency and Hon. Kadiri were jointly sued through an originating summons, seeking a restraining order pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit filed by plaintiffs restraining the EFCC from taking further steps including “but not limited to inviting, interrogating, imposing obligations and demanding or requiring the attendance of the plaintiffs/applicants in connection with the criminal allegation made by the 2nd defendant/ respondent against the plaintiff.”
“Without prejudice to formal service of the relevant processes by the court bailiffs, this letter serves as clear and unequivocal notice to the EFCC that a motion for interlocutory injunction is currently pending before the court.
“By virtue of the attached (especially Annexure 2), EFCC is legally barred from giving effect to its invitation letter dated 5 January 2022 or from taking any further steps of any kind against my clients regarding the underlying investigation, until the application is decided by the court.
“As you are surely aware, once a dispute has been submitted to the Court’s consideration for adjudication, parties must not usurp the court’s powers to resolve the matter submitted or do anything that may make the decision of the court nugatory. A respondent in an application is particularly obligated to await the outcome of the application and not resort to self-help, foist a completed act on the Court, or conduct itself as if no processes are pending”, the suit notice partly reads.
In a swift reaction, Kadiri, on Friday night, said he was not aware of the legal action.
He said “I’m not aware of what is really happening, but I know that the EFCC is investigating the House, that is all I can say. I’m not aware of the legal action for now. I don’t think I have any privileged information that I should be given to anybody anywhere.
“In this country, it is even against the law when you withhold information from prosecuting agencies and the police. It is against the law for you to withhold information if you have it, but I don’t think I have any privileged information within the House, I’m a member and I don’t have any privileged information.
“The EFCC is trained to do their job, I’m not trained to do their job for them, but all I know is that the truth will prevail and Nigeria will be a better place for all of us. The EFCC is investigating the House for misappropriation, forgery and all these things, but I will be at the EFCC on Monday to give evidence.”