New Law Empowers Lagos To Take Over Tinubu, Fashola, Ambode’s Cases From EFCC
The ‘Lagos State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission Law’ signed by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu last week empowers the state government to take over corruption cases involving the state’s finances from any other agency.
The new law provides for an anti-corruption agency to be established to handle financial crimes and corruption cases involving the state’s finances.
With the new law now in force, anti-graft agencies such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), and others could therefore be compelled to hands-off corruption cases involving Lagos State’s finances to the state’s anti-corruption agency.
According to Section 13(3) of the law, “The commission shall upon the commencement of this law take over the investigation of all anti-corruption and financial crime cases involving the finances and assets of Lagos State Government being investigated by any other agency.”
Also, Section 13(5) reads, “The commission shall have the power to the exclusion of any other agency or body to investigate and coordinate the investigation of corruption and financial crimes cases involving the finances and assets of the state government.”
Former Governors Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Babatunde Fashola, and Akinwunmi Ambode are said to be subjects of investigation by the EFCC.
Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, who is being investigated by EFCC, facilitated the new law’s passage.
EFCC is said to be investigating Tinubu, the godfather of Lagos politics, over allegations of corrupt enrichment and tax evasion involving a consultancy firm, Alpha Beta Consulting to the tune of N100 billion.
Some civil society organisations had petitioned the EFCC over allegations that cash-laden bullion vans were driven into Tinubu’s house on the eve of the 2019 general election.
As part of a wider probe, the anti-graft commission in November 2020 wrote the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) to demand the assets declaration forms of Tinubu and Fashola, although details of Fashola’s were never made public.
Ambode is being investigated over alleged N9.9 billion.
Obasa’s account was ordered frozen by a court and the EFCC grilled him in October 2020 over alleged corruption.
The former governors and other top-serving and former Lagos government officials could become beneficiaries of the new law should the anti-corruption agency to be established by the new law asks the EFCC to hand over corruption cases to the state government.