Businessman sues AGF, EFCC for unlawful detention, seeks N250m compensation
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) have been dragged before an Abuja High Court over an alleged unlawful detention of a business man, Engineer Bashir I. Bashir in November last year without trial as well as seizure of his numerous properties.
Plaintiff who is challenging his unlawful detention and illegal seizure of his properties and freezing of his companies’ bank accounts wants the Federal Capital Territory High Court to declare as unlawful, unwarranted and un-constitutional his detention without trial, having allegedly breached section 35 of the 1999 constitution.
In the fundamental human rights enforcement suit filed on his behalf by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Anachebe Benbella Anachebe, the plaintiff is also asking for a compensation of N250m from EFCC for the breach of his fundamental right to personal liberty.
The suit marked FCT/CV/22/2016 has one Alhaji Musbahu Bashir and his company – Alhani Investment Ltd as 2nd and 3rd respondents.
He also seeks court’s declaration that the insistence of EFCC that he must sign of his N80m worth landed property at GRA, Kaduna to the 2nd and 3rd respondents as unlawful, unwarranted and un-constitutional having contravened his rights to fair hearing as enshrined in section 36 of the 1999 constitution.
Plaintiff also seeks court intervention to stop EFCC from forcing him to assign 10% of shareholding of his company – LEDA Greenpower Ltd to 2nd and 3rd respondents in the suit on the ground that such forceful action breaches high right to fair hearing.
Besides, the businessman wants the court to declare that the 2nd and 3rd respondents – Alhaji Musbahu and his Althani Investments are not entitled to use their connections with the Instrumentalities of EFCC and AGF who are 1st and 4th respondents to criminalize a purely civil and business dispute arising from their joint venture to bid for the Kaduna Disco.
Plaintiff therefore sought court order for his immediate un-conditional release pending when the defendants are ready to charge him to court for whatsoever offence conceived by them.
He also applied for an order for the immediate release of his international passport and another order for EFCC to unfreeze the bank accounts of his companies.
Plaintiff claimed that the petition of the 2nd and 3rd respondents which alleged “criminal misappropriation and obtaining money under false pretence” against him and upon which he was arrested and detained by EFCC on November 7, 2016 was capricious, spiteful, oppressive and most un-warranted.
He said that he had in September 2016 been first arrested and granted administrative bail and visited EFCC office severally to aid the investigation into the petition.
During one of his visits, plaintiff claimed that the EFCC operatives surprised him when they asked him to come to terms with the 3rd respondent – Musbahu Bashir “in his own interest” and thereafter revoked his administrative bail on the alleged “order from above”.
Plaintiff further averred that EFCC operatives later informed him that he can only be released on bail upon producing two Directors in a Federal Ministry and who must have landed property in the Abuja Municipal Area adding that the outlandish bail condition later turned out to be mere bargaining to make him sign off his properties for the 2nd and 3rd respondents.
He urged the Court to hold that the conduct of the EFCC and AGF is a clear abuse of power, capricious, oppressive and wanton disregard for his rights to freedom of liberty and fair hearing.
Meanwhile, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on February 16, 2017, arraigned Mr Bashir Ishaq Bashir alongside his companies before Justice S.E. Aladetoyinbo of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT High Court, Maitama, on a three-count charge of obtaining by false pretence and cheating to the tune of $1 million.
Bashir was alleged to have collected the said sum as part payment of a $3 million agreement from Althani Investments Company Limited for the purpose of forming a consortium to bid for shares at the Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company. The bidding failed and several attempts made by the company for a refund of the money proved abortive.