Attempt by two oil marketers to stall the case instituted against them by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) before a Lagos State High Court failed yesterday as the court held that the anti-graft agency has powers to prosecute them.
The defendants, Aro Bamidele, Abiodun Bankole, and their company, A.B.S. Investment Company Limited, who were initially arraigned on October 5 2012, filed a preliminary notice of objection, challenging the EFCC and the court’s competence to try them.
EFCC filed an 18-count charge against the defendants bordering on conspiracy, obtaining money by false pretence, forgery and uttering.
The commission alleged that the defendants fraudulently obtained N1.3 billion from fuel subsidy funds from Federal Government for the purported importation of 30 million litres of Premium Motor Spirits (PMS).
Ruling on the preliminary objection, Justice Lateefat Okunnu said the application lacks merit. According to her, the Attorney General of the Federation and the EFCC are empowered to prosecute criminal offences under state laws even without a fiat from the state’s Attorney General.
“The EFCC Act which is an act of the National Assembly also empowers the commission to prosecute criminal matters under a state law. This Act and the country’s constitution are superior to the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State 2011,”Justice Okunnu ruled.