A cousin of former President Goodluck Jonathan and the Managing Director of One-Plus Holdings Limited, Mr. Azibaola Roberts, who has been in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for close to a month now, has written the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), threatening to commence committal proceedings against the EFCC chairman.
A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) presided over by Justice Olasunbo Goodluck had on April 7th, 2016, after listening to counsel to Roberts, Chief Chris Uche (SAN) and Gordy Uche (SAN), ordered the Commission to immediately release the MD of One-Plus Holdings and his Executive Director (Projects), Atukpa Dakoru from detention.
In the letter dated 18th March, 2016, the senior lawyer regretted that in spite of being served with the two orders of the court, the EFCC has refused to obey any of them, and has continued to hold his client in defiance of the court.
Lamented Uche: “This is regrettable, considering the fact that the government is one that has stated its commitment to respect for the rule of law and has pledged to prosecute the war against corruption within the ambit of the rule of law”.
“It must also be remembered that it is before the same courts of this country that your Commission arraigns and will arraign suspects.”
Continued the senior lawyer: “We therefore request that you release our clients forthwith as ordered by the court,” threatening that “we shall be compelled to commence committal proceedings before the court if the court’s order is not complied with in line with your Commission’s motto that no one is above the law” he declared.
It would be recalled that the EFCC had on March 23, arrested Robert over alleged diversion of $40 million through One-Plus Holdings, a sister company of Kakatar Construction and Engineering Company Limited, meant for securing oil pipelines. The payment was said to have been made by the detained former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd).
Frustrated by his prolonged detention, Robert, through his lawyer, Uche (SAN), approached the court for the enforcement of his fundamental 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), Uche (SAN) prayed the court to make “an order granting his client 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 senior lawyer had submitted that the court was clothed with jurisdiction to grant the applicant bail having regard to Order 4 Rule 3 and 4 of the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Rules of 2009 as well as Section 168 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015 and Section 35 (5) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
In the suit marked: FCT/CV/1370/2016, Uche drew the court’s attention to the physical, mental and psychological torture his client had been subjected to in an underground cell of the EFCC since March 23 when he was arrested, and urged the court to grant his client’s request.