An Abuja-based Federal High Court has directed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to immediately release detained Mr Tunde Ayeni, the former Chairman to the now-defunct Skye Bank Plc.
This is a reversal of an earlier ruling by the court, which had granted permission to the anti-graft agency to arrest and detain the former bank Chairman for “investigation purposes”.
According to the presiding judge, Justice Yusuf Halilu, the earlier ruling by the court was illegal because the EFCC had knowingly withheld important information on the basis of which the initial permission was granted.
As a result of this, therefore, Mr Ayeni is to be released immediately. He already spent a total of thirteen days in detention following his February 6th arrest.
What information did EFCC suppress?
During the February 6th court hearing which ended in a ruling to arrest and detain Mr Ayeni, the EFCC had failed to present an alleged petition which the respondent claimed was written against the applicant. Instead, a petition that was supposedly issued by the office of Nigeria’s Vice President was presented instead.
Also, the EFCC had failed to informed the Abuja court that an administrative bail was earlier granted the applicant.
“Having considered all the facts before the court, it is clear that the respondent suppressed facts to mislead the court. If indeed there is a fresh petition against the applicant, and a pending matter is before the Federal High Court, the respondent need not a remand order, but to apply to amend the charge in which it is prosecuting the applicant.
“By coming for a remand order, the respondent had come to tamper with the sacred right of the applicant, which he enjoys. I wonder why the respondent do not attach the fresh petition it claimed it received. What I have before me is a petition written by the Office of the Vice President.”
The former bank Chairman is being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, because of his alleged roles which contributed to the liquidation of Skye Bank Plc.