The leadership of the Rivers State House of Assembly and the Peoples Democratic Party in the state have disagreed over the recent visit of the EFCC in a bid to probe the financial management of the House.
While the assembly has described the visit of the anti-graft agency as unlawful and an attempt to act out a script written by the Presidency, the state PDP said the recent visit of the EFCC operatives to the state was a welcome development.
In an interview with Saturday PUNCH on Thursday, the Deputy Speaker of the assembly, Mr. Leyii Kwanee, said the subsisting court injunction barring EFCC from arresting any government official should be respected by the agency.
Kwanee, who argued that the court order did not in any way portray any government official guilty of any form of financial mismanagement, insisted that the decision of the commission to investigate some lawmakers at a time when the House was in crisis was wrong.
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.”
But the state Chairman of the PDP, Mr. Felix Obuah, insisted that the EFCC should be allowed to carry out its responsibility without any form of hindrance.
Explaining that the criticism against the anti-graft body was unnecessary, the state party chairman argued that anybody who had no skeleton in his cupboard would not be afraid of the EFCC.
He decried the attitude of some youths, who protested when Lloyd was granted bail by the court.
Youths numbering up to 2,000 had protested the presence of the EFCC operatives at the premises of the state high court. The youths had felt that Lloyd would be rearrested by the agency after being granted bail.
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.”