A federal high court in Lagos has adjourned till May 4, 2016 hearing in a fundamental human rights suit filed by a former Director of the defunct Societe Generale Bank Nigeria Plc, Kennedy Izuagbe against the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).
Izuagbe is also the Managing Director of Carlisle Properties and Investment Limited, and is involved in the alleged discrepancies in the Asset Declaration Forms of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.
When the matter was mentioned, the two parties were not in court neither were they represented by any legal practitioner.
Consequently, the trial judge, Justice Saidu Saliu adjourned the matter for hearing.
Izuagbe, alongside two other applicants, Carlisle and investment limited, and the director/shareholders of Carlisle properties investment limited had urged the court to stop the EFCC from arresting him.
Joined as co-defendants in the ensuing legal hostility, are, Director of Operations of EFCC, Olaolu Adegbite and the Attorney General of the Federation.
The applicants had through their lawyer, Mahmud Magaji SAN, stated that he was first invited by EFCC on November 13, 2014 and after series of interrogations he did not hear from EFCC until April 29, 2015 when he was again invited by the EFCC, and 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 documents of Dr Olusola Saraki and information relating thereto can only be properly addressed by Dr Saraki himself.
However, Dr Izuagbe stated that he was surprised to read on pages of Newspapers how EFCC has been manipulating media perception to the effect that the value portfolio of his company could have been derived from the public service proceed of its beneficial owners.
He further stated that on August 26, 2015 while he was in United State 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, he prayed the court for an order directing the EFCC from further intimidating and harassing him, and his law abiding staff.
But in a counter affidavit sworn to by EFCC legal officer Israel Akande EFCC through its lawyer, Mutairu Olusesi, stated that the commission is investigating a case of money laundering involving Dr Olusola Saraki where it discovered several lodgments 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 totalling N15billion,and another $13million(United States dollar).
Mr. Akande averred further that on October 26, 2009 about 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.
The commission added that 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 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, and 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 compassionate 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, a 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.
The Commission urged the court to refuse to accede to the request of the applicants.