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Mambilla: Agunloye sues EFCC, demands N1bn for ‘unlawfully’ declaring him wanted

Mambilla: Agunloye sues EFCC, demands N1bn for ‘unlawfully’ declaring him wanted
March 01
22:22 2024

Olu Agunloye, a former minister of power and steel, has sued the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly declaring him wanted unlawfully.

The EFCC is prosecuting Agunloye over a $6 billion Mambilla hydropower contract.

The suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/167/2024 which has the attorney-general of the federation (AGF) as the second defendant has been assigned to Emeka Nwite, judge of a federal high court in Abuja.

Agunloye submitted that the EFCC declared him wanted without any form of judicial intervention, recourse to constitutional safeguards or order of court.

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The former minister is praying the court to order the EFCC to remove his name from the wanted list published on the commission’s official website or any other related platform.

He also wants the court to issue an order of perpetual injunction restricting the defendants from further declaring him wanted in relation to the Mambilla hydropower contract except ” by a judicial intervention and recourse to all constitutional safeguards available to him in law and equity”.

Agunloye is seeking N1 billion as “general damages”.

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In the affidavits supporting the originating summons, the former minister said the EFCC invited him for interrogation on May 3, 2023.

Agunloye said he honoured the invitation on May 16 2023, despite his “frailties and hailing health conditions”.

“Upon my release on administrative bail, the 1st defendant (EFCC) persisted in hounding me to return for further grilling, which I frowned at because I was undergoing serious medical treatment related to my heart,” he said.

“When the threat and disturbances became alarming, in June 2023, I filed a suit in court to challenge the unnecessary harassment, because I was not running away; but only attending to my health with notice to the 1st defendant.

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“It was however traumatizing on the night of Tuesday, 12th December 2023, when I started receiving calls from all around the globe, that I had been declared wanted by the 1st defendant.

“Knowing fully well that I was not on the run, I reported at the EFCC headquarters here in Abuja the next day – 13th December 2023, where I was served with a criminal charge and was detained till 18th December 2023; on 10th January 2024, I was arraigned in court and admitted to bail on 11th January 2024, because I am presumed innocent of all the criminal allegations.

“Despite the fact that the law presumes me innocent of the said criminal charge, the 1st defendant still holds sway on the unlawful publication on her website, declaring me wanted till the hour of filing this suit; creating prejudices against me in the eyes of the court, arbitral tribunal in France; and directly stripping me of all dignity and freedom to move around, in the eyes of all citizens of Nigeria and abroad.

“As a result of this action by the 1st defendant, I have become a subject of ridicule, stripped of my dignity, freedom of movement and even presumption of innocence, with respect to a criminal trial which I am currently being prosecuted of, by the 1st defendant.”

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Agunloye was arraigned on a seven-count charge bordering on fraudulent award of a contract and official corruption.

The anti-graft agency said it traced some suspicious payments made by Sunrise Power and Transmission Ltd to Agunloye’s bank accounts.

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo had also challenged Agunloye to tell Nigerians where he derived the authority to award a $6 billion contract to Sunrise for the Mambilla hydropower project in 2003.

 

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