Court Fixes Aug 30 For Judgment In Matawalle’s Suit Against EFCC, ICPC, Others
Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court Abuja has fixed August 30, 2023, to deliver judgment on the suit by a former Governor of Zamfara State, Bello Matawalle, seeking to stop an investigation against him.
In the amended originating summons marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/753/2023 the State Security Service; Nigeria Police Force; Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nigerian Immigration Services, and the Attorney General of the Federation are the first to sixth defendants respectively.
Matawalle’sof President Bola Tinubu, in the suit sought a declaration from the court with regard to the judgments delivered by Justice Aminu Aliyu on May 31, 2023 in Suit No: FHC/GS/CS/30/2021 between The government of Zamfara and the EFCC and others, the fourth Defendant, has no authority or power to conduct an investigation, direct or cause to be directed, any inquiry or investigation and/or prefer any charge against the Plaintiff, his family, associates, and contractors to the Zamfara State Government, in respect of any money or funds belonging to the Zamfara State Government.
Also, based on the judgment and sections 4, 6, and 7 of the Zamfara State Anti-Corruption Law No. 12, 2021 he prayed the court to declare that any other body other than the Zamfara State Anti-Corruption Commission has no authority or power to conduct an investigation bordering on any alleged corrupt practices/financial crimes against him or his administration as Governor of Zamfara State.
In an affidavit in support of the originating summon Matawalle’s counsel, Kehinde Akinlolu (SAN) held that the totality of the purported findings and conclusions of the Defendants, particularly the 4th Defendant, by which they alleged corrupt practices and diversion of public funds of Zamfara State against him are utterly false and contrived to render him unworthy of leadership and public trust.
He argued further that all contracts awarded by his administration as Governor of Zamfara State were awarded through due process of law, properly documented and records were well kept.
He asserted that unless restrained, the defendants will arrest, detain and prosecute him, in breach of the extant Zamfara State Anti-Corruption Law and his constitutionally guaranteed right to fair hearing.
The counsel for the first defendant, O.A Aderohumu, asked the court to strike out the SSS name from the suit, while the counsel for the fourth defendant, M. K
Hussein prayed the court to dismiss the suit, describing it as unconstitutional and lacking in merit.
Legal counsel for the third and sixth defendants were absent during the Tuesday proceedings.
The representative of counsel for the fifth defendant M. B Kannap in an oral application said Immigration was empowered by section 31 of the Immigration Act 2015 to prohibit the departure of any person who is yet to satisfy an order of a court of competent jurisdiction or against whom a warrant of arrest had been issued.
In his ruling, the presiding judge, Ahmed Mohammed, reserved judgment on the matter till August 30.