The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has launched a probe into the activities of the Rivers State House of Assembly. The commission, apparently acting against a court order barring it from probing any Rivers government officials, probed Hon. Chidi Lloyd during his detention with the Nigerian Police Force.
EFCC operatives with insight into the investigation say the petition being probed are entirely separate from the criminal charges of attempted murder, intent to maim, assault and destruction of government property brought against Lloyd by the police. However the EFCC operatives would not disclose the details of the petition which forms the basis of the Assembly probe.
A source said, “It is still being kept under wraps for now. The commission is careful so that people do not misinterpret its steps.”
Amaechi loyalists are of the staunch opinion that the EFCC probe was launched by Evans Bipi and that the continued presence of the EFCC shows that Bipi still enjoys presidential support against the established government structure in Rivers state. Evans Bipi is known to be a first cousin of the First Lady and has reportedly refered to her as his “Jesus Christ” in the past.
Sources close to the commission said, “Lloyd will be investigated again. The earlier investigation has nothing to do with the new petition.
“EFCC has set machinery in motion for the daunting task to dig deep into the allegations of fraud. Apart from the speaker, his deputy and Lloyd, chairmen of the committees affected will also be invited.
“The charge against Lloyd at the state high court has nothing to do with this petition,” the source added.
Deputy Speaker of the assembly, Mr. Leyii Kwanee, said to reporters, last Thursday, that the decision of EFCC to probe the House during the general crises in the State was wrong and suspicious.
He said, “There is a subsisting court order that bars EFCC from investigating government officials in the state and the EFCC cannot investigate any government official in the state without going to the Appeal Court to upturn the order.
“Why is the EFCC interested in such investigation at a time that there is a crisis in the House? This is a script that is being acted out. We are aware that Evans Bipi had called on the EFCC to investigate the Speaker and that is why the anti-corruption agency is here.
“The EFCC’s visit is on the invitation of Bipi. But if the Presidency can hand over Bipi to the police, then we would know that they (Presidency) are neutral in the crisis. We believe strongly that Bipi too should be charged to court.”
However the PDP faction brimming with anti-Amaechi forces said EFCC is on the right path.
Chairman of the PDP, Mr. Felix Obuah, said “As far as I am concerned, nobody is above investigation and nobody is above the law. It is wrong for the youths to have protested at the court premises. The law must be allowed to take its due course.
“Those youths at the court premises were sponsored by the government. We are aware that our money is being carted away and if the EFCC comes to town to investigate how our money is being managed, I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.”