Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Galaxy Transportation and Construction Services Ltd, Engr Babagana Dalori, has dragged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, wherein he is seeking N50bn as aggravated damages for his unlawful detention since March 2019.
The suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/857/2019, brought by way of originating summons, dated July 19, 2019, was filed by Ganny Ajape Esq. on behalf of Engr Dalori.
Plaintiffs in the suit are Engr 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 N50billion Naira 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, freezing of the personal/corporate accounts and continuous detention without arraignment and trial of the plaintiff for ever four (4) months”.
Among other reliefs, the plaintiffs want a declaration that the EFCC’s order sealing their business concerns and premises without regards to the laid down procedures is unlawful, unwarranted, illegal, overreaching and a clear abuse of office and privilege.
They are also seeking a declaration that the act of the freezing of their corporate and personal bank account by EFCC since the arrest and detention of the 1st Plaintiff in March, 2019 till date and continuously thereafter is unlawful, 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.
More so, the plaintiffs are praying for an order unfreezing their corporate and personal accounts frozen upon the orders/directives of the EFCC.
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, 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), 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 22nd July 2019, stated 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 have subjected him to unprecedented harassment, intimidation and untold hardship and all efforts to secure his bail since March 2019 have proved abortive” Ojirobe averred.
No date has been fixed for mentioning of the matter.