- Dr Peter Odili was governor of Rivers state from May 1999 to May 2007
- He was a presidential aspirant in 2007 under the PDP
- An injunction had been granted to prevent investigating him and the finances of Rivers state
- Magu says the EFCC is now empowered to investigate anyone, anytime
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it will reopen the investigation of Peter Odili, former governor of Nigeria’s Rivers state in the south of the country.
A court injunction was granted in 2007 (over 12 years ago) preventing the EFCC from investigating or arresting the medical doctor-turned-politician, and former presidential aspirant of the PDP.
The court order also restrained the anti-graft agency from probing the finances of the Rivers state government.
Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman of the EFCC, on a visit to Port Harcourt on Tuesday said investigation into allegations of money laundering against the former governor would be reopened.
Magu said the commission has appealed against the injunction, but that the appeal is still pending at the Supreme Court.
He explained that subsequent judgments of the courts have held that the EFCC cannot be restrained from investigating anyone.
Magu disclosed that Rivers has the second-highest number of money laundering cases after Lagos state.
“I think Rivers is the next to Lagos in terms of crime. This is the headquarters of money laundering because there is a lot of oil money here,” he said.
“Nothing is going to stop us. Even the issue of the court order allegedly obtained by Dr Peter Odili and co, to stop the EFCC from investigation and prosecution, is still at the Supreme Court. We are on it.
“I am telling you that, that judgment cannot stand; it will only take some time but it cannot hold and we are going to conclude the investigation.
“There are so many investigations we are doing. I am sure the matter has suffered for about 13 years now. We are going to test it. The matter is in the Supreme Court. We will follow it up.
“That decision that is pending in the Supreme Court cannot hold water again. There is a subsequent judgment that has overridden it.
“Other judgments, I say nobody, not even a judge, not even the Judiciary, not even the court can stop us from investigating and prosecuting, ” he declared.
The Cable.ng reports that the acting EFCC chairman also said the commission secured 1,245 convictions in 2019.
He reiterated that the commission would continue to track and expose high-profile financial crimes in the country.
Magu also warned against oil bunkering in the Niger Delta, saying it is economic sabotage.
“Let me also use this medium to warn against illegal oil bunkering. Perpetrators should desist from their nefarious operations. The EFCC is resolute in its fight against economic sabotage and oil theft,” he declared.
“The Niger Delta is highly significant to our national economy and the Commission will continue to do all that is lawful and patriotic in ensuring that operators of illegal oil bunkering are brought to book,” the anti-corruption agency boss added.”