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Jonathan’s cousin remanded in EFCC custody

A Lagos Magistrate court sitting in Ikeja has ordered that Robert Azibaola a cousin to former President Goodluck Jonathan be remanded in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) pending the completion of investigation into an alleged diversion of $40 million dollars through One-Plus Holdings, a sister company of Kakatar Construction Limited which was for securing oil pipelines.

The alleged payment was said to have been made by the detained former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd).

Robert Aziboala who has been in commission’s custody since 233d of March 2016 had challenged his unlawful detention by the commission and Chief magistrate B.O Osunsanmi in her ruling on Friday, ordered that he should be remanded in EFCC’s custody.

Aziboala approached the Federal capital territory for the enforcement of his fundamental human rights In a motion ex-parte dated and filed on April 5 and brought pursuant to Order 5 Rules 3 and 4 of the fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules 2009, Section 35 of the 1999 Constitution (as
amended) praying the court to grant hm an interim bail pending his arraignment before a court of law by the respondent (EFCC) or pending the determination of the substantive motion in this suit.”

Justice Goodluck Olasunbo of the Federal Capital Territory held that Robert’s detention by the EFCC for over two weeks was unconstitutional.

Justice Olasunbor averred that the applicant(Robert) had disclosed sufficient
evidence before the court to warrant the granting of his reliefs. Relying on the exact provision of the constitution  the judge said that under section 35 (5) of the said provision , the constitution provides that a person who is under arrest or detention shall be brought before a court of law within reasonable time

The judge however admitted him to bail pending his arraignment before a court of law or pending the determination of the substantive motion on notice in this.

The applicant’s bail shall be with two sureties. Each surety shall be a serving or retired Director in any of the federal
government ministries or parastatal and must be resident within the federal capital territory. The applicant shall deposit his international passport to the Chief Registrar of this Court.

In the same vein, the court ordered the EFCC to release Robert’s colleague and Executive Director of KakatarConstruction and Engineering Company Limited, Mr. Dakoru Atukpa who had also been in
detention for the same period.

The matter however took a new twist as Robert was moved from Abuja to Lagos by the EFCC only to be taken to the Lagos Magistrate court Ikeja asking for an order for his detention which was granted.

Counsel to the defendant, Gboyega Oyewole said  the unfortunate disregard of an order of court by the EFCC is an afront to his clients and the constitution . ” It is unlawful and and the commission should be called to order”.

Oyewole further said, ” Robert ought to be enjoying the bail granted him by the FCT high court . EFCC did not disclose this to the Lagos magistrate court ,

The EFCC had tried to extend the remand order from the magistrate court in the Federal capital but had met a brick in the light of the subsisting order by Justice Olasumbo of the Abuja high court releasing him on bail

Counsel to Azibaola, Chief Chris Uche (SAN):
This is scandalous to say the least. It is a sad irony that a Commission that claims that nobody is above the law is portraying itself as being above the law.‎

What they did in Lagos is forum shopping and an abuse of court process. They knew that such impunity will not work in Abuja, the reason they went to Lagos to continue the illegal detention of my client using the guise of fresh charges against him. This is ‎an unfortunate attemtpt to undermine the positive order of the court and overreach the order to release my client on bail. We shall take all necessary steps to ‎ensure that this impunity does not stand.

The matter before the Lagos magistrate court was adjourned to 23rd May. Robert was however remanded at the EFCC custody.

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