EPCCICSL: Federal High Court Berates EFCC , Ordered Restriction on Account Vacated
Justice Taiwo O. Taiwo of the Federal High Court , has ordered the Economic Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) to vacate all restriction placed on the account of the Exited Staff of Eleme Petrochemicals Company Co-operative Investment and Credit Society Limited.
Justice Taiwo while Delivering a judgment in a matter of injunction brought by the Exited Staff against EFCC, Wondered what the Commission claimed to be investigating In a matter that has been decided by the federal High Court and industrial court respectively.
He also held that the BPE whose petition the EFCC claimed to be investigating also acted outside their mandate , especially as it regards to the shares of Eleme Petrochemicals Company Co-operative Investment and Credit Society Limited. He held that the shares remains legally acquired and
anyone who feels aggrieved the normal thing to do is to approach the court for redress and not to use the EFCC as a tool for intimidation
“The EFCC has the right to investigate but must be seen to do this within the armbit of the Law, EFCC is not a court of law and must not allocate to itself the powers of the court “.
Justice Taiwo also said his Court will not shield anyone from investigation but the EFCC must also desist from the act of trying to turn a matter that is purely civil case to a criminal case.
Justice Taiwo refused the prayer of the applicants seeking to remove the chairman of EFCC from office over contempt of court , he held that the court lacks the power to do so and as such decline the prayers.
But then went further to declare that the matter of shares especially as it regards the ownership of shares by the Eleme Petrochemicals Company Co-operative Investment and Credit Society Limited is purely civil in nature.
He gave the EFCC Seven days to write First Bank PLC to lift the ristriction placed on the account and allow access to funds in thier Custody.
He also instructed the Bank to immediately honour the judgement when served with the order of the court.
He also Awarded #5m damages against the EFCC for illegally arresting and detaining a member of the Co-operative Society for 5days without a court order.
Recall that in February 26,2009 the federal government through the National Council on Privatization had approved the sale of 10% of its equity shares in Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals ltd, Port Harcourt ,Rivers State to the host community and interested staff of Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals ltd.
The 10% equity shares was shared as 7.5% was allotted to the host community while the remaining 2.5% was allotted to the Staff of Indoroma Eleme Petrochemicals.
Also Recall that the EFCC had placed a restriction on the account of the Co-operative Society claiming to be investigating a fraud , Matter which has led to litigations and the bank refusing to honour the instruction of the Co-operative on the order of the EFCC.
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