A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos presided over by Justice Mojisola Olatoregun has dismissed a fundamental rights enforcement suit instituted against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by former President Goodluck Jonathan's cousin, Azibaola Robert.
Justice Olatoregun, in her judgement, declared that the suit instituted by Azibaola is abuse of court process, as the applicant has instituted other multiple suits in other courts. She added that the steps taken so far by the EFCC are in accordance with the appropriate laws.
Azibaola joined Attorney General of the Federation and the Federal Republic of Nigeria as respondents.
In an affidavit sworn to by a lecturer at the Niger Delta State University, Bayelsa State, Dr Faith Robert, it was averred that Azibaola, who hails from Bayelsa State, is a cousin of and close confidant of the immediate past OPresident of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, and this is the singular reason for his current travails in the hands of respondents who want him to implicate the said former President at all cost.
Due to his vast experience, sometime in 2012, he was contacted by late General Patrick Azazi to temporarily curb the problems of Petroleum, pipeline vandalization and oil bunkering. Consequently, in September 2014 the sum of $40million was paid into the account of Oneplus Holdings Nigeria limited for the assignment with the agreement that he would be paid 10% of the said sum.
However, there was change of Government in May 2015, and surprisingly, a committee set up to review some projects of last administration instructed his company to refund the $40million immediately. Afterwards, he was detained through a warrant for remand obtained at a magistrate court for alleged financial misappropriation on a purely civil transaction.
Azibaola urged the court to declare that the act of the respondents in obtaining remand orders against him for the purpose of keeping him in their custody is flagrant violation of his fundamental right as guaranteed by the Nigerian constitution.
However, in a counter affidavit sworn to by a counsel to the EFCC Idris Abdullahi Mohammed, he averred that sometime in November 2015, the EFCC received an intelligent report against Azibaola, his company, and Stella Robert, his Director of Finance and Account Dakuru Atukpa and others on suspicious contract awarded by the former National security Adviser to the President Colonel Sambo Dasuki (retired) from the committee set up to audit the procurement of defence equipment by the armed forces from 2007 to date. The committee discovered that between 2012 and March 2015, Dasuki awarded fictitious contracts to several companies to the tune of N2,219,188,609.50,$1,671742,613.58 and E9,905,477.00.
Colonel Dasuki also directed Central Bank of Nigeria to frivolously transfer the sum of N650million to Tunji Adeniyi & co, meant for purchasing a property at Plot 2245Maitama Cadastral to the applicant and 40million US Dollars to Oneplus holdings limited meant for the Supply of Tactical Equipment to special forces. The money was transferred without the award of any contract.
Azibaola was accused of receiving the sum of $40million and diverting it to his own personal use and to the use of others, and swapping deals with the above sum with several companies through the aid of his wife Stella and his account officer, one Mr Amobi Agum.
Idris Mohammed averred further that in an effort to conceal and obscure proceeds of these transaction, Oneplus Holdings Nigeria limited, through its Managing Director/Chief Executive officer, Azibaola Robert and the Director of Finance and account Stella Robert ordered the transfer of $1,500,000 to Reya Telecommunications limited, who subsequently in a personal transaction transferred the sum of $1,400,000 to NETSPACE Telecommunications.
In view of these revelations, Azibaola and his wife were invited by the EFCC several times but they refused to honour such invitations. They later showed up in the fear that EFCC could declare them wanted, and in view of the applicant running from one place to another and frustrating the investigation, EFCC sought and obtained a remand order from a court in Abuja.
In another investigation conducted by the EFCC, it was also discovered that the applicant, while being Managing Director of Mangrovetech Construction and Engineering Company Nigeria limited, now Kakatar Ce limited, received the sum of N2,504,917,058.88 from the Nigerian Maritime Administration and safety Agency on the 18th of February and converted same to his own use.
Idris Mohammed contended that the commission was empowered by law to investigate, arrest and detain a person by court upon reasonable suspicion of committing an offence.
Consequently, the applicant's suit was deemed frivolous, an abuse of court process, and a time-wasting effort that should be dismissed with cost.