Court restricts EFCC from arresting, further inviting Innoson’s Lawyer
A Federal High Court, in Abuja has restricted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, from arresting and further inviting Nigeria’s indigenous auto industrialist, Innoson Nigeria Ltd counsel, Prof. McCarthy Mbadugha, SAN.
This is coming against the backdrop of , Innoson’s long running legal battles with Guarantee Trust Bank Plc.
Innoson Nigeria Ltd is concerned about the interference of the EFCC, in the legal matters in a manner that it has become apparent that EFCC is pursuing the interest of the bank in the pretext of exercising its statutory investigatory powers and curbing of financial crimes and the bank is pulling strings in the EFCC.
In a statement made available to newsmen by Innoson Group, Head of Corporate Communications and Affairs, Cornel Osigwe, it stated that, in January 2022, EFCC invited Mbadugha to an interview on 1st February 2022. Mbadugha honoured the invitation.
“During the interrogation, EFCC showed him the counter affidavit to show cause which his Secretary deposed to and filed on 23rd March 2011 in opposition to the tier one bank affidavit to show cause in a matter which has been decided by the Federal Court and the decision of the Federal High Court which has affirmed by the Court of Appeal is presently pending at the Supreme Court- SC. 694/2014.
“EFCC told Mbadugha that the depositions in the counter affidavit to show cause were false and asked him the source of the information. But the SAN emphatically told EFCC its personnel interviewing, embarrassing and humiliating him, that the depositions are true.
“That it was his client that provided all the information he used in prosecuting the case and that he verily believed his client. Mbadugha insisted that both the trial court and Court of Appeal found that the depositions in the Bank’s affidavit were false and that the first generation bank did not deny the depositions in the counter affidavit of 23rd of March 2011 and that he relies and stands on the judgments of the two courts which have settled the matter and can only be overturned upon appeal and not the needless belated charade of investigation of the truth of the stated facts. EFCC kept him in its custody for over seven hours.”
He further stated that, subsequently his counsel, Mike Ozekhome, a renowned Senior Advocate of Nigeria filed, at his instruction, a fundamental human rights suit at the Federal High Court, Abuja Division against EFCC and 5 other persons which include the tier one bank.
Consequently, he stated that, following, an ex parte application at the Federal High Court Abuja by Ozekhome, praying the court for an ex-parte Order of Injunction restraining the EFCC from inviting, arresting or detaining or keeping in its custody the counsel to Innoson Nigeria Ltd, Mbadugha in relation to the allegations which he knows nothing about pending the hearing and determination of the substantive originating motion.
“The Federal High Court granted the application and ordered that status quo ante bellum as at 7th February 2022 be maintained until the determination of the originating motion.
“EFCC is a Federal Government Agency, created by Law to fight against financial crimes and provide law and order in the business environment based on objective principles. It is unheard of that counsel who has filed processes to put forth the position of his client as it was related to him in his instruction should thereafter be quizzed on a matter that is not his personal matter and in which he had acted on purely in his professional capacity. It is obvious that the aim of EFCC is to muzzle the mouth of Innoson’s counsel.
“The counter affidavit that EFCC is presently investigating was filed in the Federal High Court, Ibadan Division in the matter between Innoson Nigeria Limited and Nigerian Customs Service Board.
“The tier one bank filed an affidavit to show cause in March 2011 in a garnishee proceedings in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/603/2006 between Innoson Nig Ltd and GTB.
“In response, Innoson filed through its Solicitors- McCarthy Mbadugha & Co. – on 23 March 2011 a counter affidavit to the affidavit to show cause. This resulted in the bank filing a further affidavit to show cause and Innoson Nig Ltd filing a reply/further counter affidavit to the further affidavit to show cause.”