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Unlawful detention: Dalori, Galaxy CEO, slams N50bn suit against EFCC

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Mr Babagana Dalori, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Galaxy Transportation and Construction Services Ltd, has filed a N50 billion suit against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Dalori, who filed the suit before the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, is asking for aggravated damages for his unlawful detention by the EFCC since March.

The suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/857/2019, brought by way of originating summons, dated July 19, is filed by Ganny Ajape Esq. on behalf of Dalori.

Plaintiffs in the suit are Mr Dalori and his company, Galaxy Transportation and Construction Services Ltd.

Specifically, the plaintiffs are praying for: “An order awarding aggravated damages of the sum of N50 billion against the defendant for the gross violation, loss of earnings and physical and psychological trauma occasioned by the sealing of the business premises of the plaintiffs.’’

The amount also covers the alleged freeze of the personal/corporate accounts and continuous detention without arraignment and trial of the plaintiff for over four months.

Among other reliefs being sought by the plaintiffs, is for the court’s declaration that the EFCC’s order sealing their business concerns and premises without regards to the laid down procedures was unlawful, unwarranted, illegal, overreaching and a clear abuse of office and privilege.

The plaintiffs are also seeking a declaration that the act of the freeze of their corporate and personal bank accounts by EFCC since the arrest and detention of the 1st Plaintiff in March till date and continuously thereafter was unlawful.

They further want the court to declare as unconstitutional and in gross violation of the applicants’ rights as enshrined in Sections 36(1) and 44(1) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, and Article 14 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Cap. A9 Volume 1 LFN, 2004, his arrest and detention.

Moreso, the plaintiffs are praying for an order unfreezing their corporate and personal accounts frozen upon the orders/directives of the EFCC.

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Before seeking the reliefs, the plaintiffs had asked the court to determine the following questions, among others.

“Whether upon a proper interpretation of the provision of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and particularly, Sections 36(1), 43 and 44, the defendant can be said to be justified in sealing of all the business concerns and premises of the Plaintiffs without regards to the laid down procedures for so acting.

“Whether upon a proper interpretation of the instrument establishing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and particularly Section 34(1) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Act and Article 14 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Right (Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap A9 Volume 1 LFN, 1990.

“That the defendant did not act ultra vires its statutory powers when it ordered the freezing of the corporate and personal accounts of the plaintiffs without adhering to the legal, regular and proper procedure for so acting.

“Whether upon a proper interpretation of the instrument establishing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) particularly Section 35(1) and (4).

“That the defendant cannot be said to have acted ultra vires, its constitutional powers by keeping the 1st plaintiff in its custody (detention) without bail and/or by directing the 1st plaintiff to deposit the sum of N200,000,000.00 (Two Hundred Million Naira) only before he could be released on bail.’’

An affidavit accompanying the originating summons was deposed to by one Shuiabu Ojirobe, head of the inspectorate unit of Galaxy Transportation and Construction Services Ltd.

The affidavit sworn to on July 22, said that trouble started when the plaintiffs who are into transportation, construction and quarry activities could not meet up with financial obligations to their numerous investors due to the embargo on quarry activities by the Federal Government.

According to the deponent, some of the numerous investors who became impatient authored a petition to the EFCC complaining that the plaintiffs were not forthcoming in meeting their financial obligations and return on investment to them.

“The defendant in reaction to the said petition invited the 1st plaintiff for questioning and had subjected him to unprecedented harassment, intimidation and untold hardship.

“And all efforts to secure his bail since March have proved abortive,” Ojirobe averred.

No date has been fixed for mentioning of the matter.

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