Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has dismissed a fundamental right enforcement suit instituted against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by Azibaola Robert, a cousin to former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Justice Mojisola Olatoregun who dismissed the suit held that it was an abuse of court process as the applicant has instituted multiple suits on the same subject matter before other courts.
In an affidavit sworn on his behalf by a lecturer of the Niger Delta State University, Bayelsa State, Faith Robert, it was claimed that Azibaola, who hails from Bayelsa State, is a cousin of and close confidant to the immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan and this is the singular reason for his current travails in the hands of EFCC who wants him to implicate the former President at all cost.
The despondent also claimed that “owing to his vast experience, sometimes in 2012, Azibaola was contacted by late General Patrick Azazi to temporarily curb the problems of petroleum, pipeline vandalisation 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 an agreement that he will be paid 10% of the said sum.”
However, owing to the change of Government in May 2015, a committee set up to review some projects of the last administration instructed his company to refund the $40million immediately, and thereafter he was detained through a warrant for remand obtained at a magistrate court for alleged financial misappropriation on a purely civil transaction.
In the affidavit put in support of his fundamental rights enforcement suit, Azibaola urged the court to declare that the acts of the respondents in obtaining remand orders against him for the purpose of keeping him in their custody is a flagrant violation of his fundamental right as guaranteed by the Nigerian constitution is unlawful.
He urged the court to make an order restraining the respondents from further violating his rights through unlawful arrest and detention.
However, in a counter affidavit sworn to by a counsel of the EFCC, Idris Abdullahi Mohammed, the EFCC averred that sometimes in November 2015, it received an intelligence report against Azibaola Robert, his company, his wife, Stella Robert, and 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 a committee set up to Audit the procurement of defence equipment by the armed forces from 2007 to date. The committee between 2012 and March 2015, the National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki awarded a fictitious contract to several companies to the tune of N2,219,188,609.50, $1,671742,613.58 and €9,905,477.00.
Colonel Dasuki also directed Central Bank of Nigeria to frivolously transfer the sum of N650million to one Tunji Adeniyi and co meant for purchasing a property at Plot 2245Maitama Cadastral 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.
That Azibaola received the sum of $40million and diverted same to his own personal use and to the use of others. He swapped deals with the above sum with several companies through the aid of his wife Stella Robert and another of account officers one Mr Amobi Agum.
Idriss Mohammed also claims that in an effort to conceal and obscure proceeds of these transactions, Oneplus Holdings Nigeria limited through its Managing Director/Chief Executive officer, Azibaola Robert and Stella Robert ordered the transfer of the sum of $1,500,000 to one Reya Telecommunications limited who subsequently in a personal transaction transferred the sum of $1,400,000 to NETSPACE Telecommunications.
Documents recovered by the EFCC during a search of Oneplus Holdings Nigeria limited on March 24, 2016 indicates that the duo of Stella Robert and one Dike Ndubusi received in cash between October 17, 2014, and 27th January, 2015 the total sum of $7,556,000 which was converted to N1,344,208,000 for their personal use, the above transaction were carried out in 31 transactions.
A total sum of $4,313,856.4 was directly transferred to sister companies of Oneplus Holdings Nigeria limited and other related in-house transactions for the procurement of machines and equipment for sister companies via Reya Telecommunications limited and Jorgenson.
The EFCC claims that in view of this revelations, Azibaola and his wife were severally invited by the Commission but refused to honour such invitations.
When he later showed up, he filed multiple suits before several courts out of the fear that the EFCC may declare him wanted.
The Commission says owing to the applicant running from one place to another and frustrating its investigations, the EFCC sought and obtained a remand order from a court in Abuja.
The EFCC counsel submitted that the commission is empowered by law to investigate, arrest and detain a person by the court upon reasonable suspicion of committing an offence.