Court declares EFCC’s arrest, detention of businessman illegal

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, has declared the arrest of a businessman, Dickson Onuchukwu by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, unlawful, illegal, oppressive and unconstitutional.

Trial judge, Justice Akintayo Aluko held that the plaintiff’s harassment, arrest and detention by the EFCC was a violation of his rights to dignity of human persons, personal liberty and freedom of movement.

Onuchukwu had in suit number FHC/L/CS/679/2018 by his lawyer, Anthony Omaghomi, dragged the EFCC, Inspector-General of Police, IGP, and the Lagos Commissioner of Police to court for alleged defamation of character, harassment and unlawful detention.

Onuchukwu, who had been arrested several times by the security agencies, was also paraded by the EFCC together with one Augustine Emenike and a Russian, Max Lobaty as the faces behind Swiss Golden International Company.

The commission, which described the online gold networking business as a ponzi scheme, had declared on all its social media handles that the sum of N216 million was recovered from the company, following petitions by some Kano residents that they were scammed of their money.

But determined to clear his name of any wrong doing, Onuchukwu, who was first arrested by the EFCC in November at his office (Swiss Golden Africa) in Ikeja, told the court that he provided documentary evidence to the EFCC that he was not an affiliate of Swiss Golden International.

Delivering judgment, Justice Aluko held that the EFCC acted illegally and violated the fundamental right of the applicant when it arrested and detained him based on the petitions which were not written against the applicant and where no complaint was lodged against him.

Justice Aluko held, “The failure of the 1st Respondent (EFCC) to place such intelligence information before the court for the court to evaluate its claim is an indictment on its part confirming the fact that such intelligence information does not exist as none has been made available to the court.”

READ ALSO: Sen Akpoti tasks IOCs to provide 1000 yearly internships for students

On the EFCC’s claim that it obtained a remand order to detain the applicant, the court held that “There is no basis for the said remand warrant/order because there is no credible evidence before the court showing that the petitioners in the petitions lodged any complaint against the applicant to necessitate obtaining remand order against him as the name of the applicant was not mentioned in the said petitions.

“The 1st respondent did not place any credible evidence before the court, to show any indictment on the applicant to necessitate obtaining remand order against him or to have justified his arrest, detention and chains of ceaseless invitations.

“It is my view that the 1st respondent just went ahead to obtain remand order as a licence to keep on arresting and detaining the applicant in violation of his fundamental rights without lawful basis.

“I am of the view that issuing all the chains of invitation letters against the applicant on the basis of petitions in which his name was not mentioned amount to unwarranted harassment. Similarly, the arrest and detention of the applicant based on the said petitions are uncalled for.

“Such arrest and detention constitute flagrant violations of the applicant’s fundamental rights to dignity of his human person, right to liberty and freedom of movement provided in sections 34(1), 35(1} and 41(1) CFRN.

“I have examined the entire depositions in the 34 paragraphs of the main affidavit and 15 paragraph further affidavit of the applicant including the exhibits attached and as a result hold the view that the multiple invitation letters issued and served on the applicant, his arrest and detention based on the petitions dated 18/10/2017 and 1/11/2017 where his name was not mentioned constitute needless and unwarranted violation of his fundamental rights.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *