Detention: Court grants Fayose’s aide bail, slams N5m fine on EFCC

•EFCC to appeal

Justice Olukayode Adeniyi of a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory,  Abuja, on Thursday, admitted Abiodun Agbele, an aide to Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, to bail in the sum of N50 million and one surety in the like sum.

The judge, while delivering judgment in the fundamental rights enforcement suit filed against the anti-graft agency by Fayose’s aide, slammed a N5 million damages against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as compensation for his unlawful arrest and detention.

Justice Adeniyi held that the detention of Agbele since July 1, 2016 till date in Abuja by the EFCC was wrong, unlawful unconstitutional and a gross violation of his fundamental rights.

Adeniyi, in the judgment, agreed with Agbele’s counsel, Mr Olalekan Ojo, that the detention of the applicant beyond the period stipulated under Section 35 of the 1999 Constitution, was a gross violation of the rights of the applicant to freedom of liberty, dignity and right to own properties.

The judge condemned the action of the EFCC for brazenly violating fundamental rights of individuals under the guise of performance of its statutory functions, adding that the fine imposed on the anti-graft agency was to make it operate within the ambit of the law.

The court also took swipe at the EFCC for not being honest to the Magistrate Court to obtain a remand order to detain Agbele, adding “That if the Magistrate Court had been informed of the pendency of this fundamental rights suit, definitely, it will not have granted the remand order, upon which the applicant was detained..

“The detention of the applicant after a suit had being lodged at this court is unconstitutional and illegal as the applicant has already ran to this court to seek refuge from the violation of his rights by the respondent,” he said and voided the remand warrant issued by the Magistrates Court for being of no effect to the applicant, having been obtained during the pendency of the instant case.

Justice Adeniyi also lambasted security agents, especially the EFCC, for imposing stringent conditions on suspects in the name of granting administrative bail, adding that the stringent conditions violated Sections 30-33 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015.

Meanwhile, the EFCC has said it will immediately appeal the ruling of a Federal Capital Territory High Court which, on Thursday, granted bail to Mr Abiodun Agbele, a suspect who is being investigated by the commission for a range of alleged criminal infractions bordering on fraud and money laundering.

Justice Olukayode Fadeniyi, in a ruling which the commission described as “shocking” offered bail to Agbele and ordered the EFCC to pay the suspect N5million as compensation for unlawful detention. The judge claimed that the failure of the EFCC to charge Agbele to court, since his arrest, amounted to an abuse of his fundamental rights.

But the commission described Justice Fadeniyi’s conclusion as “curious” against the background of the information presented to the court, which included the fact that the suspect was being held with valid remand warrants issued by competent courts.

The EFCC, however, said it was filing a motion for a stay of execution of the ruling.