EFCC boss faces imprisonment for allegedly flouting court order
For allegedly flouting a court order by Justice Peter Affen of the Abuja High Court asking that Austrian security expert, Wolgang Reinl, be released from “unlawful” detention, a contempt charge has been filed against the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu.
The charge, contained in Form 49 of same court, is asking the nation’s anti-corruption czar to show cause why he should not be committed to prison for the offence.
Justice Affen had ordered EFCC to immediately release the international passport, cheque books, mobile phones and other properties belonging to the foreign businessman which were ‘unlawfully’ confiscated since December 2015 when his Abuja residence was ransacked by operatives of the agency.
The judge had also directed the EFCC to compensate the expatriate with N10 million for his ‘illegal’ detention from December 28, 2015 to February 5, 2016.
The contempt charge, addressed Magu, read in part: “Take notice that the applicant will apply to this court for an order for your committal to prison for having disobeyed the order of this court as made by Honourable Justice Peter Affen of the FCT High Court in Abuja on April 20, 2016 requiring you to release forthwith the applicant’s international passport seized or confiscated in the wake of his arrest and detention and delist him from your watch list or No-Fly list.
“And also, for your failure to obey the order of the court requiring you to pay the applicant the sum of N10 million as compensatory damages for the violation of his fundamental rights to dignity of human person and personal liberty.”
The court had equally held that the detention of the plaintiff for over a month was unlawful, unconstitutional and constituted a gross violation of the his fundamental right to dignity as enshrined in Section 34 and 35 and 43 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
In the suit, the plaintiff had prayed the court for an order of injunction restraining the EFCC by itself, servants, privies, agents or whosoever purporting to act on its behalf from violating or further violating his fundamental right as guaranteed by the constitution.
In its earlier defence, the EFCC had completely denied ever arresting, detaining or seizing any property of the security expert, claiming its detention records did not indicate anything like that.
However, in his judgment, Justice Affen had said “it occurs to me however that whereas the plaintiff specifically mentioned CSP Sharu and Madaki as two investigating officers involved in his arrest and detention, the counter affidavit by the respondent is deafening silent as to whether or not the duo of CSP Sharu and Madaki are the respondent’s operatives.
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