In a bid to forestall his arrest and detention,Dr Kennedy Izuagbe, the managing director of Carlisle Properties Investment Limited, owned by Senate President Bukola Saraki, has dragged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before a Federal high court in Lagos, south west Nigeria.
Joined as co-defendants in the ensuing legal battle are Director of Operations of EFCC,Olaolu Adegbite and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.
Izuagbe , in a statement in support of the application to enforce his fundamental right filed before the court by Mahmud Magaji SAN, stated that he was first invited by EFCC on the 13th of November 2014 and after series of interrogations he did not hear from EFCC until 29th of April 2015 when he was again invited,.
EFCC requested for some documents including the one relating to how the Senate President,Dr Olusola Saraki purchased his landed properties that Carlisle Property and Investment Limited, manages but he told them that the landed properties and information relating thereto can only be properly addressed by Dr Saraki himself.
Izuagbe stated that he was surprised to read on pages of newspapers how EFCC has been manipulating media perception to the effect that the portfolio of his company could have been derived from the public service proceed of its beneficial owners.
On 26th of August 2015 while he was in United States on holiday, he was informed that EFCC came to the headquarters of his company with lorry load of policemen and ransacked their offices and carted away several documents
Consequently,based on the foregoing,he is approaching the court for an order directing the EFCC from further intimidating and harassing him and the company’s law abiding staff.
A counter affidavit sworn to by EFCC legal officer, Israel Akande and filed before the court by Barrister K M A Olusesi,denied almost all the averments in Dr Izuagbe’s suit.
Akande declared in the counter-statement that the commission is investigating a case of money laundering involving Dr Olusola Saraki where it discovered several lodgements of cash and monetary instruments by companies linked to Dr Bukola Saraki and regular cash inflows into his personal account by his aides and other yet to be identified persons totaling N15billion and another S13 million.
Mr Akande averred further that the situation peaked on 26th October,2009 when 88 different persons paid sums into Dr Bukola Saraki’s account on the same day totaling N80million and investigation commenced to unravel the sources of the fund.
In the course of investigation, it was discovered that Dr Kennedy Izuagbe was the managing Director of Carlisle Properties and Investment,company that received funds from several individuals and over 150 companies which funds were moved to Dr Bukola Saraki’s accounts and that,DrKennedy Izuagbe acting on behalf of his principal,Dr Bukola Saraki directed that the inflows into the company account be wired offshore to the beneficial owners.
Based on the investigation being conducted and considering the weighty allegations levelled against Dr Izuagbe,he was invited by the anti-graft agency with a view to obtaining his reaction to the allegations. He made voluntary statement and was asked him to report back.
However during the course of investigation he broke the news of his mother’s death and was allowed to go on compasssionate grounds.
Thereafter he went incommunicado and all efforts to get him proved abortive as his phone was no longer through hence hampering the course of investigation.
When all effort to reach him proved abortive,warrant of arrest was secured for his arrest,
Consequently,Mr Akande averred that EFCC is statutorily empowered to cause investigation to be conducted as to whether any person, corporate body or organisation has committed any economic or financial crimes. Therefore,restraining EFCC from further investigations into economic or financial crimes reported to it will send a wrong signals to criminally minded persons who may want to violate the law of the land with impunity and hide under the protection of the court. Consequently urged court to refuse to accede to the request of the applicants.
When the matter was mentioned, the two parties were not in court. In view of this development the court was unable to fix any date for hearing.
*Kuponiyi can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org