A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting in Apo, Abuja, on Wednesday, dismissed a fundamental human rights enforcement suit brought before it by a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, seeking an order releasing him from the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Fani-Kayode, who was the spokesperson for the then Peoples Democratic Party’s Presidential Campaign Organisation in the 2015 general election, had filed the suit following his arrest by the anti-graft agency on May 9, 2016 regarding criminal allegations relating to diversion of funds meant for arms procurement to political campaigns.
EFCC had arraigned Fani-Kayode alongside a former Minister of Finance, Nenadi Usman, who was the Director of Finance of the campaign organisation and others for money laundering before a Federal High Court in Lagos..
Delivering judgment in Fani-Kayode’s suit challenging his detention by the EFCC, Justice Olukayode Adeniyi held that the legal action lacked merit, adding that the detention was not illegal since it was backed by an order of court.
Justice Adeniyi, however, faulted the practice by the EFCC of arresting and detaining a suspect for the purposes of investigation.
EFCC had earlier told the court that it was investigating Fani-Kayode for fresh allegation, which it said, was different from the case of the N800 million which the former Minister of Aviation allegedly received as campaign fund from the $2.1 billion meant for procurement of arms to fight the Boko Haram insurgency in the North Eastern part of the country.
The Commission also disclosed that fresh petition received against the former minister by its Special Task Force in its Lagos office, was what prompted it to move him from Abuja to Lagos.
Counsel for the EFCC, Mr Salisu Majidadi, appeared before Justice Olukayode Adeniyi, on behalf of the commission, to oppose Fani-Kayode’s fundamental rights enforcement suit seeking an order releasing him from the custody of the anti-graft agency.
But Fani-Kayode’s counsrl, Chief Ifedayo Adedipe, who earlier argued his client’s suit, insisted that the commission, having failed to present the fresh petition as exhibit before the court, showed there was no proof that there was any ongoing investigation of his client.
The judge after hearing from both parties on the matter had fixed Wednesday to deliver judgment in the matter.