Chief magistrate B.O Osunsanmi of a Lagos Magistrate Court sitting in Ikeja has ordered that a cousin to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Robert Azibaola, be remanded in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) pending the completion of investigation into an alleged diversion of $40 million dollars through One-Plus Holdings, a sister-company of Kakatar Construction Limited which was for securing oil pipelines.
The payment was said to have been made by the detained former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd).
Robert Aziboala who has been in EFCC custody since 23rd of March 2016 is challenging his unlawful detention by the commission.
Aziboala had approached an FCT High Court for the enforcement of his fundamental human rights in a motion ex-parte dated and filed on April 5 and brought pursuant to Order 5 Rules 3 and 4 of the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules 2009, Section 35 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) praying the court to grant hm an interim bail pending his arraignment before a court of law by the respondent (EFCC) or pending the determination of the substantive motion in this suit.”
The court presided over by Justice Olasunbo Goodluck had in her ruling held that Robert’s detention by the EFCC for over two weeks was unconstitutional.
Justice Goodluck said that the applicant (Robert) had disclosed sufficient evidence before the court to warrant the granting of his reliefs. Relying on the exact provision of the constitution, the judge averred that under section 35 (5) of the said provision, the constitution provides that a person who is under arrest or detention shall be brought before a court of law within reasonable time.
The judge however admitted him to bail pending his arraignment before a court of law or pending the determination of the substantive motion on notice in this suit.
In the same vein, the court ordered the EFCC to release Robert’s colleague and Executive Director of Kakatar Construction and Engineering Company Limited, Mr. Dakoru Atukpa who had also been in detention for the same period.
A new twist however transpired as Robert was moved from Abuja to Lagos by the EFCC only to be taken to the Lagos Magistrate Court, Ikeja asking for an order for his detention which was granted
According to his counsel, Gboyega Oyewole, the unfortunate disregard of an order of court by the EFCC is an affront to his clients and the constitution. “It is unlawful and the commission should be called to order”.
His counsel said, “Robert ought to be enjoying the bail granted him by the FCT High Court. The EFCC did not disclose this to the Lagos Magistrate Court, Justice Osunsanmi . The EFCC had tried to extend the remand order from the magistrate court in the Federal capital but had met a brick in the light of the subsisting order by Justice Olasumbo of the Abuja High Court releasing him on bail
Another Counsel to Azibaola, Chief Chris Uche (SAN) while reacting to the development said that “This is scandalous to say the least. It is a sad irony that a commission that claims that nobody is above the law is portraying itself as being above the law. What they did in Lagos is forum shopping and an abuse of court process. They knew that such impunity will not work in Abuja, the reason they went to Lagos to continue the illegal detention of my client using the guise of fresh charges against him..
The matter before the Lagos magistrate court was adjourned to 23rd May. Robert was however remanded at the EFCC custody.