Check excesses of ICPC operatives, company cries out to AGF

Disturbed by the unlawful invasion of its premises by the operatives of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC), the management of Pinnacle Communications, on Tuesday, called on the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), to check the excesses and unwarranted display of power by the ICPC.

The company, a licensed Digital Switch-Over operator in Nigeria, also appealed to the AGF to investigate the unlawful invasion of its premises located at Asokoro District of Abuja by ICPC operatives with a view to deflating alleged prejudice in the agency’s dealings with the company.

Counsel to Pinnacle Communications, Abayomi Oyelola, who told a press conference yesterday that operatives of the Commission made unlawful attempt to break into the company’s premises on January 15, 2020 without any court warrant, noted that the AGF’s intervention was immediately required to compel the anti-corruption agency to observe the rule of law.

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The company’s lawyer said the press conference was, “to draw the attention of the appropriate authorities and the general public to the despicable, unwarranted, and illegal invasion of the company’s office operatives of the ICPC.

“The action was, no doubt, a dastardly and gangster-like manner with an acclaimed order from above to arrest the company’s Chairman and Managing Director as well as seal the Pinnacle Operational office.

“The operatives and policemen came fully armed in four vehicles, 3 hilux vans and a car, garbed in ICPC jackets that authenticated their identities. The company’s security cameras had captured the incidence with available footage as evidence.

“During the encounter, Pinnacle communications officials demanded the warrant of arrest and order of court that legally gave them the impetus.

“The operatives failed to produce any document. Rather they claimed that they were working with geographical coordinate. Whatever that means in anti-corruption parlance,” Oyelola said.

He further said that, “after Pinnacle officials made some calls to report the brazen and unpleasant incident in the presence of the invaders, one of the ICPC operatives answered a call’’.

According to him, the ICPC official handed over the phone to one of his colleagues that appeared to have led the operation, adding that, Pinnacle officials heard the conversation of the operative saying, “We are here already, we have not entered, they claim he is not around, No pressmen, nobody.

“Afterwards, the operative on the telephone suddenly said to his colleagues, let’s go, let’s go let’s go, and they left hurriedly in that botched operation,’’ the counsel said and added that the invasion amounts to regulatory terrorism.

“This illegal attempt to harass and intimidate the company and its officials further confirms that ICPC has been on a witch-hunt mission from the beginning,” he said.

Pinnacle expressed concern on dastard act by ICPC and, “as law abiding citizens, we are urging the ICPC’s Chairman, Prof Bolaji Owasanoye, to respect the rule of law and call his men to order so as to forestall actions that could further tarnish the image of the commission.’’

ICPC had dragged Pinnacle to court regarding payment on Digital Switch Over operation.

Pinnacle communications gained prominence when in 2014, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) which was elected to guide the country’s digitalisation process advertised the opening for a private signal distributor.

Following the advertisement, 16 companies bided and pinnacle communications, a fully indigenous company won.

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