Kano govt takes legal action against FG over “intimidation” of state anti-corruption agency

Bar. Muhuyi Magaji Rimin Gado

By Maduabuchi Nmeribeh/Kano

Kano state government has taken legal action against the Federal Government over what it described as intimidation of the state Anti-corruption Commission (PCACC) by the  Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and Code of Conduct Bureau.

The three Federal Agencies, at different times, invited the Executive Chairman of PCACC, Bar. Muhuyi Magaji Rimin Gado, wanting to find out details of the Commission’s activities from 2011 to 2023.

Bar. Muhuyi viewed the invitations and enquiry as “politically motivated” and part of ploys by some powerful politicians under Investigations to evade justice.

EFCC, ICPC and the Code of Conduct  Bureau are Defendants in the case.

The Court, presided by Justice Farouk Lawan Adamu, ordered the federal agencies and their agents to stop questioning or investigating officials of PCACC, and or meddling into the matters of PCACC.

The Order with suit no K/M1128/2023, further advised all the parties involved in the case to maintain Status Quo Ante-Bellum

The case was instituted by the Attorney General of Kano state, Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-corruption Commission, and Rimingado (as first, second and third plaintiffs), against the EFCC, Code of Conduct Bureau, and ICPC) as first, second and third defendants.

“Upon reading Motion Exparte, together with accompanying affidavit duly sworn to by one Khalifa Auwal Hashim on 28th August, 2023.

“And after hearing Mr. H. I. Dederi Esq. (Attorney General of Kano State) of Counsel for the Applicant, it is hereby ordered that all parties to maintain Status Quo Ante-bellum.

“Order is hereby include by way of Interim Injunction restraining the Defendants/Respondents from meddling or delving into the affairs or taking any step on, related to or in connection with the functions, duties and affairs of the Plaintiffs/Applicants,” the order stated.

The Court also declared that: “By virtue of the Supreme Court decision in Nwobike vs FRN, the powers of the EFCC and other respondents to investigate alleged financial crimes is not at large and does not transcends all boundaries.

“The scope of the powers of the EFCC are not open-ended and indefinable and does not include the powers to investigate alleged infractions committed at state levels where there are relevant penal provision.

“The purpose of acts enabling the creation of the Respondents to investigate alleged administrative malfeasance or financial crimes is not to make a pigmy or to render other similar agencies and relevant penal legislations at state level ineffective, moribund, inapplicable or redundant.

“The EFCC, ICPC and Code of Conduct Bureau cannot arbitrarily meddle or interlope into the affairs of the office of the Attorney-General or any other agency, department or parastatal under his supervision without recourse to the Hon. Attorney-General as the head of the Department or Chief Law Officer of the State.

“The EFCC or any of the respondents are not empowered by their enabling laws to investigate financial crimes allegedly committed in respect of the finances, administrative structure and properties of state governments based on faceless, vague and nebulous complaints by meddlesome interlopers.”

In the Originating Summons, the Court ordered that: “Let the defendants within five days after service of this summons on them inclusive of the day of such service cause an appearance to be entered for them to this summons which was issued upon the application of Attorney-General of Kano State, Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission, and Barrister Muhuyi Magaji Rimin Gado seeking for the determination of the following questions:-

“Whether in view of the Supreme Court decision in Nwobike vs FRN, the powers of the EFCC to investigate alleged financial crimes is at large and transcends all boundaries?

“Whether the scope of the powers of the EFCC are open-ended and indefinable and includes powers to investigate alleged infractions committed at state levels despite relevant penal provisions.”

The plaintiffs had prayed the Court to grant an Order: “Directing all parties to maintain Status-Quo Ante-bellum.

“An Order of Interim Injunction restraining the defendants/respondents from meddling or delving into the affairs or taking any step on, related to or in connection with the functions, duties and affairs of the Plaintiffs/Applicants in this matter pending the hearing and determination of the Originating Motion on Notice.

“An Interim Order restraining all the Respondents either by themselves, agents, staff, privies or whosoever, howsoever, in whatsoever way or manner from inviting, threatening, coercing, cajoling, arresting or in any way or manner interfering, meddling or interloping in the affairs of any staff or person under the services of the plaintiffs by whatever designation or nomenclature called, pending the hearing and determination of the Originating Motion on Notice.

“An Order of this court accelerating the hearing of this matter by abridging time within which the defendants may file and serve their respective court processes in this Matter.”

However, Bar. Muhuyi  on Monday, declared that no amount of intimidation and blackmaiil by people he described as fifth columnists would stop the Commission from investigating and prosecuting alleged corrupt public office holders in the state.

Bar. Muhuyi who spoke to Journalists in his office also described recent news alleging corrupt practices within the management of the Commission, as part of plots by highly connected politicians, who are under investigation by the Commission to dent its image and evade justice.

According to him, all the activities of the Commission are being conducted within the ambits of the law establishing it.

He said no amount of gimmicks by corrupt public office holders, both past and present will stop the Commission from carrying out its constitutional responsibilities.

He said: “You are aware of unfolding events concerning the commission in recent times. These are orchestrations of those who have clear cases of corruption to answer. They are doing everything possible to frustrate the efforts of the commission, but we are not deterred.

“Just recently, a law firm defending the case of N4 billion fraud at KASCO, which is already before a Kano High Court went as far as writing the Inspector General of Police for withdrawal of Police personnel attached to the commission.

“Their argument was that the commission has no power to investigate corrupt public office holders. To us, this is laughable and we will not give in to such cheap ploys by those who siphoned public money to evade justice.”

Bar. Muhuyi maintained that, “since the case is in court; and we have enough evidence to prove our case, we are not losing sleep. We will remain focused; and will continue trying our best towards ensuring that public funds and property diverted into private pockets and use, will be recovered.”

According to him, though the Commission would keep abiding by the Rule of Law, nothing would stop it from fishing out and prosecuting corrupt public office holders.

He said the Commission already has a Court of Appeal judgment that allows it to investigate, not only executive  members of government and government  agencies but, even those working in the judiciary.

“We are not deterred in all our investigations because we have weighty allegations against them. We have Court of Appeal judgment which empowers the Commission to investigate, not only the staff or former executive members of Kano State executive arm of government, but even those  working in the judiciary.

“The  Court of Appeal said the Commission has the powers, without even writing a letter to the Chief Judge, to investigate a matter.

” So, as far as we are concerned, they are only postponing the D-day. Nothing would stop the state from prosecuting or initiating criminal prosecution against any person ,because section 211 of the Constitution is so explicit. So, as far as we are concerned, we are not deterred.

“I believe we are on course. We will continue with our Investigations, and we will try as much as we can to get rid of corrupt practices from the system,” he stated.