Court orders EFCC to lift restriction on firm’s account

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A Federal High Court in Abuja presided over by Justice Taiwo Taiwo has ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to vacate all restrictions placed on the account of the Exited Staff of Eleme Petrochemicals Company Co-operative Investment and Credit Society Limited.

Justice Taiwo, while delivering a judgment in a matter of injunction brought by the Exited Staff against EFCC, wondered what the Commission claimed to be investigating in a matter that has been decided by the Federal High Court and National Industrial Court respectively.

He also held that the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) whose petition the EFCC claimed to be investigating also acted outside their mandate, especially as it regards to the shares of Eleme Petrochemicals Company Co-operative Investment and Credit Society Limited.

The judge held that the shares remained legally acquired and anyone who feel aggrieved should approach the court for redress and not to use the EFCC as a tool for intimidation

“The EFCC has the right to investigate but must be seen to do this within the armbit of the Law, EFCC is not a court of law and must not allocate to itself the powers of the court,” Justice Taiwo ruled.

Justice Taiwo also said his Court will not shield anyone from investigation but the EFCC must also desist from the act of trying to turn a matter that is purely civil case to a criminal case.

He gave the EFCC Seven days to write First Bank PLC to lift the ristriction placed on the account and allow access to funds in their Custody.

He also instructed the Bank to immediately honour the judgement when served with the order of the court.

He also awarded N5m damages against the EFCC for illegally arresting and detaining a member of the Co-operative Society for five days without a court order.

In February 26, 2009 the Federal Government through the National Council on Privatisation had approved the sale of 10% of its equity shares in Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals ltd, Port Harcourt, Rivers State to the host community and interested staff of Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals ltd.

The 10% equity shares was shared as 7.5% was allotted to the host community while the remaining 2.5% was allotted to the Staff of Indoroma Eleme Petrochemicals.

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