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FG to Sokoto Attorn-Gen: You can’t usurp EFCC’s powers

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By Soni Daniel

Abuja—THE Federal Government has halted a move by the Sokoto Attorney General to usurp the power of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in the prosecution of a serving commissioner in the state, accused of money laundering, diversion of public funds and breach of public trust.

The commissioner, who was charged along with a former Permanent Secretary in the state local government and chieftaincy ministry, have been standing trial for the said offences brought against them by EFCC since 2016, but their trial was ordered handed over to the Sokoto Attorney General on the orders of a Federal High Court Judge, Justice Idrissa Kolo, last week.

EFCC operatives

The judge ordered that going by the Attorney General’s fiat, the case should be handed over to the Sokoto Attorney General.

However, apparently unhappy with the order, the Director of Public Prosecution, DPP, of the Federation, has countered the ruling, saying the Sokoto Attorney General does not have the power to dabble into criminal prosecution being handled by EFCC on behalf of the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF.

The DPP argued that the fiat being sought by the Sokoto Justice Minister could only be applied to cases that are impossible for the AGF to prosecute, and that the commissioner’s trial and that of the former permanent secretary do not fall into such category.

In a letter to the judge dated May 5, the DPP noted: “The powers of the Sokoto Attorney General under the fiat shall be for the prosecution of offences which may be practically impossible for the office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation to prosecute.

“Since EFCC is a federal prosecuting agency under the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, this case is not one that the Honourable Attorney General of Sokoto State is empowered to prosecute by virtue of the fiat.

“More so, the case is being diligently prosecuted by the federal agency.”

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