Rivers State Government has said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has no power to investigate the financial transactions of the state.
The state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, made the remark in Port Harcourt on Wednesday in reaction to statements credited to the acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Magu.
Magu had said on Tuesday in Port Harcourt that Lagos and Rivers states were headquarters of money laundering.
He had added that the court judgment halting the EFCC from probing Rivers State would not stand.
He had said, “Nothing is going to stop us, even the issue of the court order allegedly obtained by Dr Peter Odili and others to stop the EFCC from investigation and prosecution has been overtaken by events.
But Nsirim said the EFCC could only probe the Rivers State Government if it vacated the Federal High Court judgment that declared that it could not investigate the financial transactions of the government.
“Magu cannot claim that the judgment cannot stand, except he wants Nigerians to believe that he has started issuing instructions to the Supreme Court.
“It is unfortunate that in a democracy, someone holding a public office would want to muzzle the court,’’ the commissioner said.
On the allegation that Rivers State is the second capital of money laundering in Nigeria after Lagos, the Nsirim boss wondered how the EFCC arrived at such conclusion.
“To justify this allegation, the EFCC should make public the names of people they have arrested and prosecuted in Rivers State over money laundering. If this is not done, Magu’s statement would just be seen as mere playing to the gallery to enjoy cheap publicity,” he said.
Nsirim added that the state government would support the EFCC to fight corruption within the ambit of the law, but would reject any attempt to subvert the rule of law in the state.
The commissioner advised the acting EFCC chairman to be patient and desist from the illegality of ‘‘arrogating to himself the judicial powers of the courts.’’