Following EFCC’s investigation into the recent privatisation of some agencies of the Bauchi State Government, a High Court in Bauchi has ordered the anti-graft agency to stop intimidating personnel of the Bauchi State Environmental Protection Agency, (BASEPA), Wiki Hotels and Zaranda Hotels and Towers in the guise of conducting investigations.
Presiding over an application suit no BA/326/2022 filed by the Bauchi State Government and BASEPA seeking an order of the court restraining EFCC from investigating the privatisation process of Bauchi State-owned companies, Bauchi State Chief Judge, Justice Rabi Talatu Umar warned the anti-graft agency against painting the “Keep-Off” inscription on the walls of BASEPA, Zaranda Hotels and Towers and Wikki Hotels.
The Chief Judge ordered EFCC to remove all inscriptions it had inserted on the building of those organisations, arguing that such inscriptions intimidate personnel of the agencies, thereby denying them the needed peace of mind to deliver their work pending the determination of the matter.
EFCC had on Thursday last week written on the building of BASEPA and other agencies: “Keep-Off. Under investigation” something that prompted public suspicion about suspected wrong dealings and caused panic among the staff of the agency.
While the anti-corruption agency remains silent about the details of the investigation, unconfirmed reports in circulation suggested that EFCC is tracking suspected shoddy dealings in the privatisation process of state-owned assets recently by the Bauchi State Government.
Meanwhile, Bauchi State Privatisation Committee insisted that due process was diligently followed in the process of the privatisation of state-owned companies including Zaranda Hotels, Wikki Hotels, Bauchi Meat factory, and Bauchi Fertilizer Blending Company among others.
Also, Bauchi State Government in a pierce press statement signed by the Special Adviser to the governor on Media and Publicity, Comrade Mukhtar Mohammed Gidado, accused EFCC of exposing the Governor Bala-led administration to political and public ridicule, especially around election time.
“The government, knowing fully well that the actions were illegal as there was no basis whatsoever in law and fact that would warrant painting its property by the EFCC, sought for the intervention of the court of law,” the statement read in parts.
Bauchi State Government argued, without supplying facts, that the move by the EFCC to probe the privatised companies is unwarranted and ill-motivated and meant to disrupt the economy of the state.
“We note that all these brazen invasions are coming days before the opposition party launched its Gubernatorial campaign in the state. Perhaps the EFCC, knowing that the opposition party has nothing to offer in the state decided to provide it with a talking point. More so as the EFCC is fully aware that the state has established its Anti Corruption Commission following which it wrote to the EFCC informing it.”