New Telegraph

Business Transaction: Court Restrains EFCC From Inviting, Arresting Businessman

The Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos, presided over by Justice Ibrahim Kala, has stopped the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), from further threatening a businessman, Engineer Akintayo Ebenezer Ogunleye, with arrest, harassment, humiliation, and detention over a business transaction that existed between him and three investors.

The judge equally ordered the EFCC and its officers to forthwith halt all investigations directed against the businessman for the payment of the balance of the business transaction that existed between him and the three investors.

Justice Kala arrived at the decision while granting a motion exparte on a fundamental rights enforcement suit designated FHC/L/CS/534/2024, instituted by the businessman against the Commission alongside six others.

Others listed as 2nd to 7th respondents in the suit filed on behalf of the businessman by his lawyer, K. S. Abioye are Michael Wetkas (Zonal Head of Economic and Financial Crime Commission); Mr Olawale Akande, Inspector-General Of Police (IGP), Trovest Nigeria Limited; Totima Investment Limited and United Capital Trustees Limited.

The trial judge held that the orders subsisted until the hearing and determination of the businessman’s substantive suit.

In his fundamental rights action brought pursuant to Sections 46(1)(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (As Amended); Articles 5, 6 and 12 of the African Charter on Human and People Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap A9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2009, and under the court’s inherent jurisdiction, the businessman, who is the Group Chief Executive, Bethssida Africa Development PIc., the businessman is asking the court for the following reliefs; “A declaration that persistent threat of his arrest, harassment, humiliation and detention, by the fifth respondent, using the officers of the first, second, third, and fourth respondents over the business transaction that existed between him and the fifth, sixth and seventh respondents, is illegal and unconstitutional as it violates the applicant’s fundamental rights to personal liberty, freedom of movement and dignity of human person guaranteed by Sections 35, 41 and 34 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended) and Articles 5, 6 and 12 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap. A9, Laws of Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents whether by themselves, their agents, privies, and servants from further threatening the applicant with arrest, harassment, humiliation, and detention over the business transaction that existed between the applicant and the fifth, sixth and seventh respondents.

“An order directing the first, second, third and fourth respondents, whether, by themselves, their agents, privies, and servants to forthwith halt all investigations directed against him, for the payment of the balance of the business transaction that existed between the applicant and the fifth, sixth and seventh respondents.

“An order directing the respondents to render a public apology to him in three national dailies for the persistent threat of arrest, harassment, and humiliation and detention of the applicant, over the business transaction that existed between the applicant and the fifth, sixth and seventh respondents.

“An order directing the respondents either jointly or severally to pay to him the sum of N100 million, as compensation or damages, for the psychological trauma suffered by him from the activities of the respondents that infringed his fundamental rights.”

Meanwhile, Justice Kala has fixed May 2, for the hearing of the businessman’s substantive suit.

The judge also ordered that the originating motion and the hearing notice should be served on the second to seventh respondents.

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