•as Clerk warns commission against disregarding court order
The Oyo State House of Assembly has faulted the invitation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to its members in relation to a purported ongoing investigation.
The Clerk of the Oyo State House of Assembly, Mrs Yetunde Oludara Awe, in a letter, queried the propriety of the EFCC’s invitation to the Assembly members in the face of a pending suit challenging EFCC’s power to probe state Legislature’s finances.
In the letter to the EFCC, dated October 11, 2022, a copy of which was sighted by newsmen in Abuja, Mrs Awe warned the commission against disrespecting the court and taking the law into its hands.
She said no member of the state Assembly would honour any invitation from the anti-graft agency until the pending case is determined.
The Oyo State House of Assembly sued the EFCC earlier this year over its (EFCC’s) planned probe of the Assembly’s finances.
In the suit marked: FHC/IB/CS/71/2022 filed through its lawyer, Musibau Adetunbi (SAN), the Oyo Assembly is contending among others that by the provision of Section 125 of the Constitution, the EFCC is forbidden from looking into the financial books of the State Assembly.
They argued that such power only resides with the Auditor General of Oyo State by virtue of Section 125 of the Constitution.
In an earlier ruling, Justice Uche Agomoh of the Federal High Court in Ibadan dismissed EFCC’s objection to the competence of the suit.
Justice Agomoh held that the suit was properly instituted and proceeded to assume jurisdiction, a decision the EFCC appealed via a notice of appeal filed on October 7, 2022.
Mrs Awe noted in her letter of complaint to the EFCC, that despite the pendency of the suit, and rather than defer to the court, officials of the commission were still sending writing the Oyo State House of Assembly and its members, including the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Adeni Edward Ogundoyin.
Part of the letter reads: “Kindly recall that there is pending litigation at the Federal High Court between your office and the Oyo State House of Assembly & three others.
“Please take note that this matter is for and on behalf of the thirty-two members of the House of Assembly Oyo State.
“It is equally on record sir, that there is an undertaking by your counsel that the authority of the court shall be respected during the pendency of this suit.
“As you are aware, we have a counsel on record representing us in the said suit and this is why it was shocking that any correspondence at all will be directed to us.
“We expected that all communications be directed to our counsel since you are aware of the pendency of the case and you are aware of our counsel.
“We, therefore, implore you to please desist from addressing any correspondence surrounding this suit to us any further during the pendency of this suit.
“All further correspondences should be directed to our counsel.
“Kindly be informed that in view of the fact that the power of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to invite the Honourable Members is being challenged in a competent court of law, the Honourable Members will not be able to honour your invitation.
“We humbly appeal to you, as an organisation subject to the law of the land, to kindly continue to respect the authority of the court pending the determination of this suit.
“After all, neither the House of Assembly nor the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is above the law.
“Let each and every one of us subject ourselves to the doctrine of the Rule of Law.”