By OLUGBENGA SOYELE, Lagos
A Federal High Court in Lagos will on July 5 hear a suit filed by Robert Azibaola, a cousin to former President Goodluck Jonathan, challenging the powers of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to remand suspects under the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA).
Azibaola had filed the suit in April 2016 after he was arrested and detained by the EFCC over allegations of receiving 40 million dollars from a former National Security Adviser Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) for supplying “tactical communication kits”.
The commission claimed that he received another N650 million from Dasuki on Dec. 8, 2014.
He has since been arraigned by the anti-graft agency before a Federal High Court in Abuja and was granted bail by the court.
In the suit filed on his behalf by a Human Rights lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, Azibaola joined the EFCC, and the Attorney-General of the Federation as respondents.
In the suit the plaintiff is praying the court to hold that sections 293 and 294 of the ACJA 2015, which the EFCC relied on to secure remand orders from magistrate courts, were inapplicable in his case.
He said the sections were for capital offences such as murder, armed robbery, kidnapping or treasonable felony for which a legal advice from the Attorney-General is required before a charge is filed.
Azibaola said that the sections do not apply to financial crimes.
He is also praying the court to hold that EFCC’s alleged attempt to force him to implicate Jonathan was contrary to section 7 of the ACJA, which he said has outlawed the practice of arresting a citizen in lieu of another.
The applicant said that he was engaged to meet with stakeholders in the Niger Delta to explore how to prevent oil pipelines vandalism, oil bunkering and crude oil theft, among others.
According to him, the assignment was duly executed upon payment, adding that under Section 8 of the ACJA, he should not be arrested or prosecuted for a civil contract or transaction.
He avers that he is being persecuted on account of his blood ties with Jonathan.
Meanwhile, in its processes, EFCC denied detaining the applicant illegally, adding that his claims were unfounded.
The commission said Section 264 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State 2011 empowered it to detain suspects based on remand warrants issued by magistrate courts.