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In Abuja Court orders EFCC to pay man N5m for unlawful detention

The court said the EFCC failed to provide concrete evidence to back its reason for detaining the applicant for about 41 days without being charged to court.

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has been ordered to pay N5 million to a suspect, Abba Mohammed, for violation of his right.

Justice Jude Okeke of the FCT High Court gave the order on Monday, April 11, ruling that the EFCC failed to provide concrete evidence to back its reason for detaining the applicant for about 41 days without being charged to court.

Justice Okeke held that: “The applicant’s contention that his fundamental right was denied him by the respondent was not proved otherwise; there must be reasonable suspicion upon which the detention was made.

“The right of the applicant has been violated by the respondent by detaining him for about 41 days without making reference to any court.

“His fundamental right to liberty was denied him and he was detained for about 41 days; he applied to this court and an order to release him on bail was given.

“He was refused bail despite meeting the bail conditions given to him by this court; the respondent, acting under the cover of section 7 of the EFCC Act, failed to present enough evidence.

“I have given due consideration to the following contentions as earlier stated under sections 131 and 133 of the Evidence Act 2011.

“There is no concrete evidence before the court to prove the allegation of N17 billion arms scam and the alleged N300 million traced to the applicant’s account are true.’’

He held that the allegation was based on rumour, adding that the respondent failed to lay credible evidence before the court to prove the arrest and detention of the applicant.

READ: 'EFCC out to embarrass me,' Rickey Tarfa says

He therefore upheld the relief sought by the applicant that the court should order EFCC to pay him N200 million for general damages but reduced the amount to N5 million.

The court also awarded N50, 000 to the applicant for cost of instituting the case.

Mohammed arrested and detained by the EFCC on November 26, 2015, and was admitted to administrative bail the following day.

The FCT High Court, Maitama, on December 17, granted him exparte order which the EFCC disobeyed before the Federal High court granted him bail on January 7.

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