EFCC ordered to pay man N5m for declaring him wanted

A Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to delete the name of a businessman, Dr Kennedy Sule Izuagbe, from its websites as a wanted person.

Justice Lewis Allagoa also ordered the EFCC to publish an unreserved apology to Izuagbe on its websites and social media.

The court further awarded a cost of N5 million against the agency for breaching Izuagbe’s fundamental rights.

Justice Allagoa made the orders while delivering Judgment in Izuagbe’s fundamental rights enforcement suit.

He held: “The action of the EFCC declaring Dr Kennedy Sule Izuagbe, as a wanted person, despite an existing two judgments of the Federal High Court, which superseded the order obtained by the EFCC from a Magistrate Court, in Abuja, amounts to breach of the applicant’s fundamental rights”.

Izuagbe filed the suit marked FHC/L/CS/2127/2021 through his lawyer, Mrs Ifeoma Esom.

He prayed for a declaration that the EFCC had no power or authority to declare him “wanted” without a court order and in the absence of any facts providing reasonable suspicion that he had committed any offence.

Izuagbe sought N500million as compensation, but the EFCC through its Counsel Ayanfeoluwa Ogunsina averred that the agency sometime in 2019, received credible intelligence of an alleged monumental fraud involving about N5 billion, allegedly siphoned from the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service with the active connivance of some private firms including Izuagbe’s.

It claimed that Izuagbe honoured an invitation to explain himself, but subsequently failed to report back after a month, adding that a warrant for his arrest was obtained from an FCT Magistrate Court, following which the commission declared him wanted.

Justice Allagoa dismissed the EFCC’s arguments.

<<The Nation>>