N100 Billion Loot: EFCC Tells Ibori, It Is Not Over Yet
Indications have emerged that the perpetual injunction obtained by the former Rivers State Governor, Dr. Peter Odili, secured from a Federal High Court against his prosecution over diversion of over N100 billion during his eight-year tenure, would soon be set aside.
Latest findings revealed that contrary to report of discontinuation, the EFCC is pressing ahead with the case, with a view to bringing the former governor to book.
A source said that the EFCC is now determined to get the perpetual injunction against the commission lifted so that Odili and his officials could be made to account for the public funds which they were said to have diverted between 1999 and 2007.
The EFCC had carried out investigations into the management of Rivers State resources in the eight years that Odili held sway and released a verdict towards the end of 2006, detailing how the state’s funds amounting to over N100 billion were diverted.
The commission’s finding highlighted cases of large-scale fraud, conspiracy, conversion of public funds, foreign exchange malpractice, money laundering, stealing and abuse of oath of office against the former governor and some of his officials.
But in a bid to scuttle the EFCC’s legal action, the former governor approached Justice Ibrahim Buba, then of the Port Harcourt Federal High Court and secured a perpetual injunction restraining the commission or its agents from taking any action against Odili.
Since then, several attempts by the commission to vacate the order have however lingered from 2008 till date, prompting many to conclude that with ‘orders from above’, the EFCC has been forced to abandon the matter.
However, a top source in the EFCC said it was not relenting in getting the order quashed for prosecution to begin in earnest. The source said: “It is not true that EFCC has abandoned the case against Odili or any of the former governors. We are just following the normal court process and we will not shy away from it.
“In fact, that particular case came up in March this year at the Appeal Court in Port Harcourt and we are waiting for the next adjourned date to continue with our presentation.
“It is not that type of a case that can be abandoned so as not to give the impression that corruption is being promoted.
“Do not forget that it was the former governor who rushed to court to stop EFCC from prosecuting him after preliminary findings had proved that he and some of his officials should be tried for diversion of money.
“So, it is not even correct to suggest that EFCC has abandoned a case it did not initiate. What we did was to appeal against the perpetual injunction restraining us from prosecuting the former governor or even investigating his tenure.”
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