A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has stopped the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from declaring the former Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, wanted. The judge however dismissed Maina’s N100m suit against the EFCC for allegedly trampling on his rights.
Backstory: In a ruling delivered by Justice F.O.G Ogunbanjo, the High Court stated that it was unlawful for the anti-corruption agency to declare Maina wanted without first obtaining a court order.
She gave an order restraining the EFCC and all its other affiliates or related agencies from declaring the plaintiff “wanted” in relation to the suit at hand.
The outcome was however not all in Maina’s favor as Justice Ogunbanjo ruled that since it was “his personal decision” to go on a self-imposed exile, he could then not accuse the EFCC of trampling on his rights.
What the EFCC ought to do: According to the court, the EFCC should seek an official court order that will enable it continue publishing Maina as a fugitive either on the website of the EFCC or media.
Maina vs the EFCC: The pensions chairman had been declared wanted in 2017 after reports emerged stating that he had been reinstated into the Civil Service despite the corruption allegations against him since 2013.
Maina had however in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/957/2918 filed on September 6, 2018, sought a determination of the legality of being declared a wanted man by the EFCC.
He also sought an order of perpetual injunction against the EFCC, which would restrain the Commission from further harassment, or ever declaring him wanted.
Maina’s suit also called on the court, to order the EFCC and all its other affiliates or extended bodies, to not only steer clear of him, but also remove all images of his, name, references, addresses, details and other means of identification from its wanted list on its EFCC official website or any other platform being used.
Bottom Line: The allegations leveled against Maina which include diversion of pension funds aren’t minor allegations. But the judge is right, the rule of law must be obeyed in the way the EFCC carries out its duties.