Wednesday, March 23

EFCC too powerful, judge protests

EFCC too powerful, judge protests

Peter Affen, justice of an Abuja high court, on Wednesday flayed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as “carrying too much physical power everywhere”, for the tactics it employed in trying to stall a case involving the agency and Wolfgang Wolfgang, an Austrian security contractor who sued the anti-graft agency for detaining him without trial.

According to PRNigeria, Wolfgang had been in the custody of the EFCC since December 2015 in connection with the trial of Sambo Dasuki, former national security adviser (NSA).

Afam Osigwe, Wolfgang’s lawyer, had approached the federal capital territory high court for the enforcement of his client’s fundamental rights, but at the hearing of the matter, the EFCC through its counsel, Ibrahim Audu, told the court that it never detained the plaintiff.

The EFCC urged the court to dismiss it for gross incompetence and for lack of jurisdiction. It argued that there was no evidence to show that it arrested Wolfgang.

The proceedings took a twist when the EFCC lawyer filed a preliminary objection to Wolfgang’s application.

Justice Affen, who reserved ruling on the objection, stated that the plaintiff had the right to sue the EFCC.

Irked by the use of words of the EFCC counsel, the judge berated the anti-graft agency for attempting to intimidate the court, advising it to drop its toga of arrogance.

“You are in court, and I am the dominis litis here. This is not EFCC office. You must comport yourself. The problem is that you people (EFCC) have too much physical power and you carry it to everywhere you go,” he said.

“This is not a motor park and you must not be throwing your hands anyhow and be shouting. When you come before me, you will never remain the same. You owe the court a duty of deference. Leave your policeman or EFCC powers at the door. Didn’t they teach you that in law school?”

Wolfgang is asking the court to declare that his arrest and detention by EFCC since the December 28, 2015 is unlawful, unconstitutional, illegal and a violation of his fundamental rights guaranteed by section 35(1) & (4) of the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria.

He is also asking the court to award a cost of N2bn against the EFCC for aggravated damages.

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