The Akwa- Ibom State High Court, sitting in Ikot Ekpene, on Friday vacated an order of interim injunction restraining the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from investigating the accounts of Akwa Ibom State Government.
Justice Ntong F.N. Ntong gave the ruling at the resumption of hearing on a motion filed by the anti-graft agency to counter an earlier injunction of the court.
Channels Television’s judiciary correspondent Shola Soyele, said that the court had on 13 July ruled in favour of an ex-parte motion filed before it by the Akwa Ibom State’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Uwemedimo Nwoko.
Mr Nwoko had sought an order of interim injunction restraining the Federal Government or any of its agencies, including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from arresting, detaining or investigating any official of the state government.
The motion also sought the restraining of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Inspector General of Police from arresting, detaining or investigating any official of the state government, past or present, without any report of indictment by the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.
However, the EFCC, through a motion on notice, filed on August 2, approached the court to quash the injunction.
At the resumption of the matter on Friday, counsel to the EFCC, Dr. Ben Ubi, told the court of an application dated 29 July and filed on the August 2, asking the court to vacate the restraining order.
In response, the Attorney General of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Nwoko argued that his seven days to respond to the EFCC’s application had not elapsed.
He said that he had filed a motion on notice for the enlargement of the lifespan of the interim injunction.
The judge, having listened to arguments on both sides, vacated the interim order of injunction and then adjourned the matter to October 19, 2016 for hearing of the preliminary objection of the EFCC alongside other applications.
The legal fireworks initiated by the Akwa Ibom State’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, against the EFCC and other agencies were sparked by a petition received by the EFCC against some governors and officials of the past regime in Akwa Ibom State.
The vacation of the restraining order on the EFCC has now paved ways for the Commission to continue its works in that regard.
It has also voided an earlier order restraining the Speaker of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly; Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly; Clerk of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly; Auditor General of Akwa Ibom State and the Accountant General of Akwa Ibom State from surrendering themselves or any document or financial records to the EFCC, ICPC or any other person.