Court Orders Remand of Goodluck Jonathan’s Cousin Until Investigations are Complete

by on April 23, 2016

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.”

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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.

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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

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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.

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