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ICPC: Court Affirms ICPC to Prosecute Delta Gov’t Officials

9th May 2024

ICPC building

ICPC BUILDING

A Federal High Court in Asaba, Delta State, has upheld the powers of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission to investigate and prosecute officials of the Delta State government who allegedly engage in corrupt acts.

The spokesperson of the anti-graft agency, Demola Bakare, made the development known in a statement on Wednesday.

The Delta State Attorney-General had filed a suit challenging the powers of the ICPC, under Sections 6 and 28 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000 (ICPC Act 2000) to investigate state government finances and invite Delta State officials for interviews in the course of investigations.

The plaintiff in the suit FHC/CS/165/2023 also contended that by sections 120, 121, 122, 123, and 125 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), only the Delta State House of Assembly and the state Auditor-General had the powers to look into the state’s finances and demand for documents. The ICPC, however, argued that sections 6 and 28 of the ICPC Act 2000 empowered the commission to exercise its enforcement function on any person, including state government officials.

The commission, represented by the Director of the Legal Services Department, Henry Emore, stressed that the ICPC Act 2000 did not discriminate between the state government and the Federal Government in the fight against corruption.

“Furthermore, there is no conflict between the provisions of sections 6 and 28 of the ICPC Act and Sections 120-125 of the Constitution; the two are rather complementary,” he argued.

In his judgment on Wednesday, May 8, 2024, Justice F. Olubanjo of the Federal High Court, Asaba Division, agreed with the submissions of the ICPC in its entirety and held that Nigeria practised cooperative federalism and, as such, the fight against corruption a function of both the states and the federal governments.

He also noted that the issues before the court had been settled in a plethora of appellate decisions, among which is the Supreme Court judgement in AG Ondo State vs AG Federation and 36 ors.

The suit was, therefore, dismissed with no cost awarded.

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