LG Funds: NFIU Does Not Have Powers To Prosecute, Says Lawyer

Ignatius Igwe  
Updated May 21, 2019
A lawyer, George Eke

 

A legal practitioner, George Eke, says the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) does not have the powers to prosecute culprits.

Appearing as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, he said that unlike the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the NFIU is incapacitated with arraigning violators of some financial crimes.

“My only worry is that they (NFIU) don’t have prosecutorial powers. And you cannot begin to threaten anybody when you cannot take the person to court and prosecute him.

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“But I think they want to hide under their sister organisation, the EFCC because it has overwhelming powers to prosecute,” he said on Tuesday.

His comments come two days after the Nigeria Governors’ Forum urged President Muhammadu Buhari to call the NFIU to order over funds allocated to all Local Government Areas (LGAs) across the country.

In a statement by the NGF’s spokesman, Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, the governors said the agency was dabbling into a matter that was beyond its mandate.

But reacting, he said the local governments are short of funds, lamented that the state governors have not given the local councils their dues from the joint accounts.

He alleged that most governors have rubber-stamps the local governments to the extent that about 80 per cent of the states don’t have elected local government chairmen.

“We expected that the NGF was going to react in this manner. The reason is that the joint account is very important to the governors.

“As a matter of fact, that is actually what attracts quite a number of people to contest for that position because it is like a free fund.

“The intendment of the constitution is that these monies will be paid into the joint account and the governors, in turn, will pass it to the local governments so that they can have this third-tier development,” he stated.