Court orders EFCC to remove Dr Izuagbe’s name from wanted list, pay N5m as damages
Justice Alagoa of the Federal High Court, Lagos on Thursday 4th November 2021 gave the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, seven (7) days ultimatum, to remove the name of Dr. Kennedy Izuagbe, a Director of Carlisle Property and Investment ltd, a firm in which former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki has interest, from its list of wanted persons.
The Judge also directed the EFCC to publish an apology in the media to Dr. Izuagbe and pay a sum of #5million as damages for an allegation of suspicion of money laundering offences which its investigations from several months have been unable to prove.
The orders were given pursuant to suit no FHC/L/CS/2127/2019 titled Suit brought pursuant to order 11 Rule 2 of the fundamental rights enforcement procedures rules 2009.
The courts’ orders read, “A Declaration that the Respondent (EFCC) has no power or authority to declare the Applicant (Dr. Izuagbe) “Wanted” without any order of a court of competent jurisdiction and in the absence of any facts providing reasonable suspicion that the Applicant has committed an offence to warrant such declaration.
“A Declaration that the action of the Respondent (EFCC) in declaring the Applicant a “Wanted Person” and publishing his name on the official website of the Respondent without’ any prior order or leave of a court of competent jurisdiction is illegal, wrongful, ultra vires and constutes a flagrant violation of the fundamental rights of the Applicant to personal liberty, private and family life, freedom of movement and right to not to be subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment as guaranteed under Sections 34, 35, 37 and 41 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,1999 (As amended) and Articles 2, 3(1) & (2), 4, 5, 6, 7, and 2 12(1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act 2004.
“An Order nullifying the declaration of the Applicant as a Wanted Person and the publication of his name among the list of wanted persons on the official website of the Respondent
“An Order directing the Respondent to forthwith remove the name of the Applicant, Kennedy Sule Izuagbe, from the list of “Wanted Persons” published on its official
“An Order directing the Respondent to forthwith remove the name of the Applicant, Kennedy Sule Izuagbe, from the list of “Wanted Persons” published on its official website and to publish a retraction of that declaration in one national newspaper circulating within Nigeria within 7 days of the judgment of this honorable court.
“The sum of N500 Million as compensation for the violation of the Applicant’s fundamental rights to personal liberty, freedom of movement and right to private and family life right to not to be subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment as guaranteed under Sections 34, 35, 37 and 41 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As amended) and Articles 2, 3 4,5, 6, 7, and 2 12(1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act 2004 by reason of the publication and continued retention of the name of the Applicant amongst the list of “wanted persons’ on the Respondent’s official website & (2) And for such further or other consequential order [s] as this Honorable court”
Recall that earlier, following the expiration of a period of three months (90 days) ultimatum given the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) within which to conclude investigations of money laundering against a firm (Carlisle Property and Investments Ltd), in which former Senate President, Bukola Saraki had interests and some of its directors including Dr. Izuagbe, Justice AM Liman of the Federal High Court had on the 15th of March 2021, given a judgment of perpetual injunction restraining EFCC from further harassment, threats or investigation of one of the directors, Dr. Kennedy Sule Izuagbe.
Also, Justice C.J Aneke in his judgment on 30th September 2020 gave an order instructing EFCC to conclude their investigation of allegation of money laundering against Carlisle property and Investment ltd and made the order foreclosing further investigations after three months which elapsed on 30th December.
Justice Aneke had given a declaration against any attempt by EFCC to arrest, and detain any of the directors of the company including Dr. Izuagbe, or to seize, impound, take over, confiscate or otherwise forfeit the assets and properties of the Directors, officers or staff, wherever they may be located within Nigeria or anywhere else in the world, in continuation of the witch- hunt against Dr. Izuagbe, due to his closeness with the former President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria – Dr. Bukola Saraki despite the pendency of Suit Nos: FHC/UCS/2127/2019 and FHC/ILICS/2219/2019 amounts to a violation of fundamental rights of the directors to personal liberty and to own movable and immovable property as guaranteed by Sections 35, 43 and 44 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and therefore illegal, unconstitutional and ultra vires of the Respondent.
He gave “An Order of Perpetual Injunction, restraining the EFCC by itself, its officers, agents and privies from arresting, detaining, prosecuting or threatening to arrest, detain and/or prosecute the 3” Applicant (Dr. Izuagbe) and any of the Directors, officers or staff of the 1 and 2 Applicants (Other Directors), or in any manner whatsoever, continuing to interfere with the fundamental rights of the Applicants to liberty in continuation of the witch- hunt against the 3 Applicant due to his closeness with the former President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria – Dr. Bukola Saraki.
In Thursday’s judgment, Justice Alagoa made recourse to the judgments of Justice AM Liman and Justice CJ Aneke bordering on the perpetual injunction restraining EFCC from further harassment of Dr. Izuagbe, his companies and associates since they could not find anything incriminating against him or any of his companies and that of Justice CJ Aneke foreclosing the right of EFCC (upon expiry on December 2020), the 90 days window the court granted them to conclude the investigation.