Court faults EFCC’s handling of Ajumogobia’s trial
Malami backs DSS, says invasion of judges’ residences was constitutional
A Federal High Court, Lagos yesterday criticised the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over the way it carried out its investigation against Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia who was accused of corruption.
The trial judge Muslim Hassan, while delivering judgment in a N50 million fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by Justice Ajumogobia against the anti-graft agency over her prolonged detention urged the EFCC to be professional in performing its duties.
Justice Ajumogobia, in the fundamental rights enforcement suit is seeking among other things, an order of the court declaring her continued detention by the EFCC as illegal.
Justice Hassan noted that the EFCC is vested with powers to arrest and detain any citizen suspected to have committed any offence, but said such powers must be exercised with caution.
The judge questioned the rationale behind the revocation of the administrative bail granted to Justice Ajumogobia by the EFCC on October 22, 2016, when she is not a flight risk.
“The respondent is hereby counseled to be professional and to always exercise caution and restraint in the exercise of its powers,” he stressed.
The judge, however, disagreed with Justice Ajumogobia that the remand order obtained by the EFCC from a magistrates court on November 10, 2016 is unlawful, illegal and a violation of her fundamental human rights.
According to Justice Hassan, the remand order was issued by the magistrates court pursuant to Section 264(1) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State, 2011.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami yesterday supported the Department of State Services (DSS) over the invasion of the residences of some judges.
Malami, who appeared before the Garba Datti-led House ad-hoc committee probing the issue maintained that the operation was done in accordance with the constitution.
Malami, who said there were reasonable grounds for suspicion of the affected judges, added that the state is vested with a constitutional obligation to abolish all corrupt practices using all its powers.
The minister said he was duly informed before and after the operation was carried out.