Lawyer accuses EFCC of unlawful arrest, detention
• Court orders anti-graft body to take over Lagos hotel
Ndubisi Chuks Nwasike, lawyer to retired employee of Shell Petroleum, Obi Timothy Nwasike, an engineer, has accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of unlawful arrest and detention of his client despite his failing health condition.
Nwasike was arrested on Sunday morning at the Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos by EFCC officials for alleged fraudulent diversion and criminal misappropriation of contract proceeds.
In a statement made available to newsmen yesterday, Nwasike said the facts for which the engineer has been arrested was a private commercial dispute between parties who have been doing business together for several years, and for which one party now wants to criminalize the dispute, using willing hands at the EFCC.
“The facts of that dispute are copiously stated in the claims at the Federal High Court, which the EFCC is a party to. EFCC has, however, ignored the court process served on it, and has descended to engage in settling a commercial dispute that is already sub-judice.
“The petitioners, Messrs. Okwy Okeke, Wilok Nigeria Limited, and Continental Alarm Limited, have also filed a suit at the High Court of Lagos State (LD/2629CMW/2016), on the same subject matter. Rather than wait for the courts to adjudicate, the EFCC has descended to play an ignoble role, to render nugatory, whatever decisions the Federal High Court and the State High Court will reach in the case before it, even at the risk of the life of Nwasike.”
While stating that his client has serious kidney problem, the lawyer further claimed that the EFCC was made aware that Nwasike was in critical medical condition in the United Kingdom, on standby for kidney transplantation, and while on standby, undergoing multiple dialysis treatments weekly.
He warned that should any immediate or future complications result to Nwasike’s health from detention, the EFCC will be held responsible and necessary steps will be taken to bring every individual responsible to book.
However, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, head of Media and Publicity for the EFCC, said his office has not been notified of the arrest and as such not in a position to speak on the issue.
He, however, stated that he would get back to our correspondent if he has any information on the issue while also stating that he doubts if the commission will detain anybody that is proven to have renal problem.
Meanwhile, Justice Chuka Obiozor of the Federal High Court, Lagos has ordered the temporary forfeiture of a hotel in Ikorodu, Lagos to the EFCC over N53.7m alleged fraud. The hotel, Victoria East Park Hotel and Suites is located along Igbogbo-Mayegun Road in Ikorodu.
The judge said EFCC should take over the hotel for 21 days to enable it to conclude its investigation of the alleged fraud before the court. The EFCC had in an ex parte application yesterday, told the court that it believed that the hotel was acquired with proceeds of fraud by one Ebiesuwa Fredrick, who is believed to be the ringleader of a syndicate of fraudsters based in Ibadan.
Counsel to the EFCC, Ayanfeoluwa Ogunsina, told Justice Obiozor that the anti-graft agency sought to take over the hotel to prevent the fraudsters from disposing it while investigation was still ongoing.
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