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Thursday, 21 February 2019

Court approves of the Akwa Ibom Senator's detention by EFCC on alleged fraud in N30bn

On Thursday, the Federal High Court in Abuja ruled that in May last year the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission's arrest of the Senator representing Akwa - Ibom Northeast, Bassey Akpan, was lawful and constitutional.



According to Reports, Akpan has been detained by the EFCC on allegations of misappropriation, abuse of offices and money laundering in respect of N30bn and was elected as the State Commissioner for Finance in accordance with the Inter - ministerial direct labor scheme of Akwa Ibom.


Justice Okon Abang dismissed the senator's application to charge the Sum of N250m as compensation for his alleged illegal detention, by the commission and its acting President, Mr. Ibrahim Magu.
The court held that the lawsuit was without merit and that the court proceedings were abused. The Court ordered the Senetor to pay the EFCC and Magu a total of N20.000 for the costs of the file.

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In rejecting Akpan's claim that he was intimidated, embarrassed and harassed by the EFCC with incessant invitations, arrests and detention, Justice Abang held that, pursuant to Articles 6, 7 and 13 of the EFCC (Establishment) Act, "it is legal for the EFCC to invite him to question him."


"EFCC has the power to arrest the applicant and detain him for a reasonable suspicion of a crime in order to complete the investigation, but it must be within the scope of the law."
 Justice Abang ruled that Akpan's claim that the commission did not disclose his offense to him was untrue, adding that the different exhibits submitted to the court showed that the senator was invited for questioning In relation to allegations of misappropriation of approximately N30bn of the public fund of Akwa Ibom State.


The court ruled that the senator failed to provide credible evidence to demonstrate that on 15 May 2018, the commission and its acting chairman violated his rights to personal freedom and human dignity.
 He ruled that Akpan failed to disclose the periods of his arrest and release by the commission in the affidavit evidence submitted in support of the suit.

The judge noted that between May 14 and May 15, 2018, the EFCC claimed to have detained Akpan for only one night. The Court added that, in the absence of any evidence from the applicant showing that he was still in custody on 17 May 2018, it was unjustifiable that the affidavit lodged in support of the suit was not personally lodged by the senator, but by his legislative assistant.

The judge held that the affidavit had "to be deposed with the exception of the applicant's motion, otherwise the documentary hearing" "is restricted.

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