The Akwa Ibom state government has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to act within the ambit of the law and refrain from allowing itself be used by desperate politicians in a manner that calls into question professionalism and neutrality in the eyes of the public.
Reacting to a publication in a national tabloid about the agency’s probe on the account of the state government, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Charles Udoh said it was ludicrous that EFCC has allowed itself to be used as a tool of lopsided political mudsling and witch-hunting by the opposition in the state against the integrity of the Akwa Ibom State Government.
“The attention of the Akwa Ibom State Government has been drawn to a publication in the Nation Newspaper of November 11, 2018 alleging an Economic Financial & Crimes Commission (EFCC) probe of Akwa Ibom Government over withdrawal of N6.5bn from the state coffers”.
“We wish to state emphatically as follows; that this is a malicious allegation and a desperate face saving effort by the EFCC to justify the several illegalities it has allowed itself to be used by the opposition to perpetrate against the Akwa Ibom State Government which have attracted widespread condemnation within and outside the country”, the release read.
The Commissioner reminded the EFCC that the constitution and laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria authorizes only the state House of Assembly and the state Auditor-General to pry into the financial dealings of a state government and the current administration has made Akwa Ibom State one of the few states; if not the only state that publishes its annual audited financial statements.
“This underscores the state government’s commitment to transparency, accountability and integrity in governance. Copies of the state’s annual audited financial statements are available in the public domain”, he stated.
He noted with dismay that story of EFCC probing the state government was earlier published in the same newspaper by the same author on August 12, 2018, and since it did not have the intended effects, EFCC has sadly condescended to regurgitating the story in a flagrant act of impunity against existing laws of Nigeria.
Hear him, “The Akwa Ibom state Government will do all within its lawful limits to protect the integrity of governance in the state. Recall that the Akwa Ibom State Government had served notices of contempt to the EFCC and would not be dragged into a public discourse on a matter that is patently sub judice. This matter is before the Federal High Court Uyo”, he said.