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Court orders EFCC to release Ayeni, ex-Skye Bank chairman

Court orders EFCC to release Ayeni, ex-Skye Bank chairman
February 19
13:01 2019
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An Abuja high court on Tuesday set aside an order it issued to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to detain Tunde Ayeni, former chairman of the defunct Skye Bank Plc, for 14 days.

The court accused EFCC of misleading it to grant the application in the first place.

Yusuf Halilu, the judge, said the anti-graft agency had suppressed facts in obtaining the detention order.

He then ordered EFCC to release Ayeni from detention.

Ayeni’s counsel, Ahmed Raji, had filed a suit on enforcement of fundamental rights, seeking his release from custody.

EFCC had last week approached the court through an ex-parte application seeking a 14-day remand order.

This, it said, was to investigate a petition from the office of the vice-president over Ayeni’s alleged infractions when he was chairman of Skye Bank.

The court then granted the application.

Raji informed the court that there is a pending suit before the federal high court against EFCC on the same matter and that Nnamdi Dimgba, the judge, had admitted Ayeni to bail.

A. I. Audu, representing EFCC, opposed to Raji’s application, saying it was a different issue different from the one before the federal high court.

He said EFCC also received a petition against the applicant from a NGO, and that  Ayeni had been giving useful information to the commission before being taken ill.

This, he said, prompted EFCC to seek for an order to further remand him to complete the investigation.

Raji, however, said the “fresh” petition was dated 2015 and the money in question was a loan which Ayeni was already servicing. Accessing a loan, he argued, was not a crime.

Halilu held that with the submissions of both counsel, it was clear that the respondent suppressed facts when it came to ask for a remand order.

He said the court was not aware of all the facts presented by Ayeni’s lawyer and which EFCC could not deny.

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