The Dean of Faculty of law, Enugu state University of Science and Technology, ESUT, Prof Frank Asogwa, has said the constitution empowers the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to freeze the account of any sitting governor if suspected to be invlved in illegal financial practice and money laundering.
The don was reacting to a statement by the Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, who on Monday revealed how he was unable to conduct financial transactions at a Zenith Bank branch in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital following the blockage of his account with the bank by EFCC.
This, the commission admitted to, saying its action was in connection with an ongoing investigation, adding that details of its findings will be made public soon.
But speaking with reporters in Nsukka, Enugu State, Asogwa said the anti-graft agency acted within the ambit of the law.
According to Asogwa, the law allows EFCC to freeze any personal bank account of individuals under investigation if the said account points to subject of investigation.
“EFCC has the legal right to freeze the account of any sitting governor that his personal account was suspected to have been used for money laundering and illegal financial transaction without the constitutional provisions of the law.
“If EFCC has proof that such account was used for money laundrying, no matter the immunity clause, the law allows the commission to freeze such account.
“The constitutional immunity for the President, Vice President, Governors and Deputy Governors only protect them from prosecution in law court but not from been investigated.
Asogwa stressed that the law only protects President, Vice President and Governors from being prosecuted while on seat but does not shield them from investigation.
The don also stated that the commission is not expected to inform anybody whose account was suspected of fraudulent transaction before freezing such account, stressing that such information can lead the suspect into destroying the evidence.
“The constitutional immunity only shields President and Vice together with the governors from prosecution while on seat but not from been investigated.
“Freezing of account is a prelude to investigation, if the constitution allows investigation of a sitting governor, there is nothing wrong freezing his account if there was enough evidence that his account is used for money laundering or other illegal financial acts. A sitting governor can be investigated but cannot be prosecuted until his tenure expires before he can be prosecuted,’’ he said.