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Amnesty fraud: Court okays Kuku’s arrest, trial

By Lukman Olabiyi

JUSTICE Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Lagos has said the Economic and Finan­cial Crimes Commission (EFCC) can investigate former president Good­luck Jonathan’s special adviser on Niger Delta and coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Pro­gramme (PAP), Dr. King­sley Kuku over alleged financial impropriety.
The court also held that the anti-graft agency has the right to arrest Kuku if he refused to honour the commission’s invitation.
Justice Abang, however, ordered EFCC to comply with the law and respect his right not to be detained beyond 24 hours.
The judge ruled that the travail of the former spe­cial adviser had nothing to do with his political affili­ation.
Justice Abang made the declarations in a rights suit filed by Kuku against the EFCC and the Department of State Services (DSS).
Kuku prayed the court for protection against his possible arrest and de­tention by the EFCC and DSS.
The applicant, who is on medical treatment abroad, alleged that there was a plan to arrest him at the Lagos airport on his return to the country.
Kuku said unless the court intervened, he might be arrested and detained by the EFCC. He said the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) was al­legedly instigating his ar­rest.
The EFCC, however, challenged the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the suit. The anti-graft agency also asked the court not to grant any order stopping the investigation of those alleged to have stolen public funds. It informed Justice Abang that it had received a petition from one Dada Olubisi on be­half of former militants complaining of malprac­tices in the disbursement of the amnesty fund.
The anti-graft agency insisted that it was em­powered under Sections 6 and 7 of the EFCC (Es­tablishment) Act, 2004 to investigate financial crimes as well as arrest suspects.
Delivering his ruling, Justice Abang held that the court had jurisdic­tion to hear Kuku’s suit. He, however, dismissed the applicant’s claim that APC was behind the peti­tion against him.
“It is my humble view that the invitation sent to the applicant is lawful and constitutional.
The court cannot stop a statutory institution from performing its constitu­tional duty,” the judge held.
The court, however, re­strained the respondents from unlawfully arresting the applicant. It ordered EFCC to comply with the law in investigating any allegation against Kuku.