Alleged N100bn cash diversion: EFCC undecided on ex-Gov Odili’s prosecution
ABUJA—The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is still undecided on what to do to bring the former Rivers State Governor, Dr. Peter Odili, to account for the N100 billion, which his administration allegedly misappropriated between 1999 and 2007.
Finding by Vanguard indicates that despite media reports that the EFCC had concluded plans to charge Odili to court over the lingering N100 billion case, the anti-graft agency has not yet taken a firm legal action to try Odili since its hands had effectively been tied by the perpetual injunction slammed on it by Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court in March 2008.
A competent source confirmed to Vanguard last night that the commission had not yet upturned the perpetual injunction slammed by the court and could, therefore, not proceed to prosecute the former governor.
Finding indicates that the anti-graft agency is currently weighing options on what to do with the controversial Odili’s graft case. One of the options is to pursue the case pending at the Appeal Court with renewed vigour and get the injunction quashed with a view to making Odili and his officials to appear in court and defend themselves. The other option is to leave the case altogether if legal opinion shows that the agency has no real chance of winning the case against the former governor.
A reliable source familiar with the matter told our correspondent that it was not true that the commission had concluded arrangements to try Odili afresh.
The source explained that the commission merely indicated its readiness to review all pending corruption cases involving former governors, including that of Odili.
The top source said: “What the planned review means is that for now, EFCC has not quashed the perpetual injunction in favour of Odili but the agency is simply reviewing the cases including that one with a view to taking a decision as to what to do next in his case and other pending cases.”
It will be recalled that on October 6, 2008 EFCC filed an appeal against the first injunction of March 2007 at Port Harcourt division of the Court of Appeal. In 2010, the EFCC engaged A.B. Mahmoud, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria to pursue the appeal of ‘perpetual injunction’ judgement obtained by Odili.
However, while the case was ongoing, Odili again went to the Court of Appeal seeking to be included in the case as an interested party.
Based on that request, the Court of Appeal on January 27, 2011, ruled that Odili should be joined as an interested party.
However, Vanguard learned last night that the case was last heard on March 15, 2012, and neither EFCC nor Odili has taken any further step in the matter till date.