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Court dismisses businessman’s suit to stop EFCC’s investigation

Court gavel.

Akin Kuponiyi

A Federal High Court in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria has dismissed a fundamental right enforcement suit filed by a Lagos businessman, Jarret Tenebe, his wife Toyin Tenebe and their company Fenix Impex Nigeria limited against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Joined as co-defendants are a Lagos business man, Femi Mabogunje and his company, Ammob Nig Limited.

The applicants were urging the court to restrain EFCC and its agents from arresting and detaining them but EFCC alleged that it was investigating a case of criminal complaint of conspiracy and obtaining by false pretence and fraudulent diversion of the sum of N250 million against them.

In an affidavit sworn to by Abiodum Obadimu, the Personal Assistant of Jarret Tenebe and filed before the court by a Lagos lawyer, John Oshigala, the deponent averred that Fenix impex Nigeria limited company was awarded contract to evacuate sludges seized by the Nigerian Navy and joint taskforce in the Niger Delta and Igbokoda area of Ondo State by the Ministry of Petroleum resources, NNPC.

According to the affidavit, Fenix Impex Company and Ammob Nigerian Company agreed to execute the contract together and shared the proceeds in the ratio 60 to 40, consequently Ammob Company made available N32 million for realization of the contract.

“Upon realization of the products and goods, the goods were handed over to a ship which sold away the said products worth more than one billion Naira and have not been seen from or heard from since 2014, thereafter, the two parties tried to work out the losses but have not come to any conclusion.

“The respondent initially reported the matter to special fraud unit of the Nigerian Police and later to EFCC, thereafter on the 25th of September, the officers of EFCC stormed his house and carted away some of his handbags and her wrangler jeep. Since then, there have been threats of arrest. Consequently, they have to run to the court for protection from this naked use and exercise of power,” the affidavit said.

They are now urging the court to restrain the defendants and their agents from further threat of arresting or detaining them.

In its counter affidavits sworn to by one of the operatives of EFCC,  Mr Abdulrasaq Aliyu, said the commission received a criminal petition written by law firm of Chinedu Ikem and company on behalf of Femi Maboguje and his company-Lapour Nigeria Limited bordering on conspiracy, obtaining by false pretence and fraudulent diversion of the sum of N250 million against Jarret Terebe his wife and their company Fenix Impex Nigeria limited.

The EFCC said Adefemi Mabogunje honored the invitation of the commission and adopted the content of his petition.

He said investigations by the commission revealed that the contract were jointly executed while Mabogunje gave the applicants N153.4 million to execute the contract and Jarrett Tenebe and his company were paid the contract sum by the awarding authority ministry of Petroleum resources, but that the applicants absconded with the entire money, including the money given to them to execute the contract as well as the 60% profit entitled to the applicant.

The commission urged the court to dismiss the suit on the ground that, it was a ploy to stall the investigation of the criminal complaint against the applicants and stopped them from its constitutional role of investigating crimes related matters.

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News – PM NEWS Nigeria

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