A Federal High Court in Abuja, yesterday, restrained both the House of Representatives and the Federal Government from acting on the report of the House of Reps’ Ad Hoc Committee on Petroleum Subsidy Regime pending the determination of a case filed by one of the indicted marketers, Integrated Oil and Gas Limited.
The Integrated Oil and Gas Limited had asked the court to make an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the Attorney General of the federation (AGF), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Inspector General of Police from acting on the report of the Ad Hoc Committee pending the final determination of the case filed by it.
The House of Representatives and the suspended Chairman of the committee, Farouk Lawan were listed as first and second defendants.
Justice Gladys Olotu made the interim order following an agreement among lawyers to the parties that their clients would not do anything that would affect the case before the court.
Lead lawyer to the Attorney General of the Federation, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN) and Damien Dodo (SAN), explained the implication of the directive, “We have reached a no arrest, no detention, no prosecution, no refund agreement pending the determination of the suit.”
The committee had in its report asked Integrated Oil and Gas to refund N13. 2 billion paid to it by the Federal Government for petroleum products it imported between 2006 and 2011 on the ground that the amount was not sustainable.
But the oil firm was dissatisfied and instructed its lawyer, Mr. Tayo Oyetibo (SAN) to file a suit in which it asked the court, among other prayers, to nullify the committee’s report on the grounds that it was not given fair hearing before the committee came to its conclusion.
It also asked the court to restrain the House, the AGF, the EFCC and ICPC from acting on the report.
At the hearing of the case, arguments ensued on whether the court could stop the anti-graft agencies from carrying out their statutory duty. At a point, Justice Olotu excused the lawyers and gave them 20 minutes to confer and agree on the position to be adopted by the court.
The lawyers agreed that no action would be taken against the company until the court has given final judgment in the case.
Justice Olotu commended the lawyers for their maturity and consequently issued an order based on the agreement stopping the defendants from acting on the report as it affected Integrated Oil and Gas pending the time she would give final judgment.
In an affidavit he deposed to, the Managing Director of the company, Anthony Iheanacho said that his company did not collect any subsidy for petroleum products not imported.