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30 Jan 2019

Court Orders EFCC To Refund N228 Million It Forcefully Collected From 3 APC Governors

The Federal High Court sitting in Jalingo on Wednesday ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to refund N228m it forcefully collected from the trio of APC governorship candidate, Sani Danladi, Senator Joel Ikenya and ex-Speaker of Taraba State House of Assembly, Mark Useni.

The order must be complied with within 72 hours, the court ordered. The defendants were charged to court by the EFCC on allegations of conspiracy and misappropriating the sum of N450m presidential campaign funds in 2015.

Justice Stephen Pam delivered the judgement in a case filed by the EFCC against Ikenya, Useni and Danladi.

In the judgement which lasted for several hours, Justice Pam held that the EFCC failed to substantiate its claims against the defendants.

The court also held that the EFCC could not furnish the court with substantive evidence against the defendants and urged the Commission to desist from infringing on the rights of innocent citizens.

The preponderance of economic and financial crimes like Advance Fee Fraud (419), Money Laundering, etc has had severe negative consequences on Nigeria, including decreased Foreign Direct Investments in the country and tainting of Nigeria’s national image.

The menace of these crimes and the recognition of the magnitude and gravity of the situation led to the establishment of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The legal instrument backing the Commission is the attached EFCC (Establishment) Act 2002 and the Commission has high-Ievel support from the Presidency, the Legislature and key security and law enforcement agencies in Nigeria.

The Act mandates the EFCC to combat financial and economic crimes. The Commission is empowered to prevent, investigate, prosecute and penalise economic and financial crimes and is charged with the responsibility of enforcing the provisions of other laws and regulations relating to economic and financial crimes, including:

Economic and Financial Crimes commision Establishment act (2004)
The Money Laundering Act 1995
The Money Laundering (Prohibition) act 2004
The Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 1995
The Failed Banks (Recovery of Debts) and Financial Malpractices in Banks Act 1994
The Banks and other Financial Institutions Act 1991; and
Miscellaneous Offences Act

“The prosecution did not provide this court with concrete evidence to nail the defendants. “The EFCC is hereby ordered to refund the sum of N228m which the Commission received from the defendants.” Senator Ikenya applauded the court for allowing the rule of law to prevail in the matter, describing the court as the last hope of common man.

One of the defence counsels, Ibrahim Effiong, said the ruling was an indication that the rule of law has come to bear. “The entire charges were abuse of court process. By this ruling, the EFCC should learn to allow the rule of law to prevail. Prosecution counsel could not be reached for comment.

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