Court stops EFCC’s fresh probe of Abuja land dispute
by Nigerian Tribune
A Federal High Court, Abuja, has restrained the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), from launching a fresh probe into the dispute arising from the 2005 land transaction in Abuja, involving former Minister of Information, Emeka Chikelu, Bedding Holdings Limited and a businessman, Alhaji Dahiru Barau Mangal.
The trial judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola, gave the restraining order on Tuesday, at the hearing of the fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by Bedding Holdings’ Chief Executive Officer, Chief Sylvester Odigie.
EFCC is, by the court’s order, restrained from proceeding to invite or arrest the plaintiff pending the determination of his suit.
The order was informed by the refusal of EFCC’s lawyer, Salisu Majidadi, to give an undertaking, assuring the court and parties that his client would abide by the doctrine of lis pendens, and refrain from taking any further steps likely to affect the rest (subject matter of the case) before its conclusion .
Applicant’s lawyer, John Okoriko, had complained to the court that despite the health challenges of his client, there were threats of arrest from the anti-graft agency.
Upon hearing the applicant’s lawyer’s complaint, the judge asked EFCC’s lawyer to give an undertaking that his client will not arrest the plaintiff while his case is pending, a request Majidadi declined, saying he was not instructed by his client to give any undertaking.
The judge, after issuing the restraining order, adjourned further proceedings to September 25, 2014, before which other defendants in the suit, Alhaji Mangal and his company, D. B. Mangal Nigeria Limited, are expected to file their defence.
Odigie in the suit, is contending that the move by the EFCC to re-open investigation into the transaction, which was completed in 2005 and on which a court had given judgment, amounted to flouting a subsisting court order restraining it (EFCC) from dabbling into a private contractual dispute and a violation of his rights.