Court awards N40million in damages to ICPC for illegal detention of businessman
The Akwa Ibom State High Court in Uyo awarded 40 million naira in damages to the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offenses Commission (ICPC).
Judge Nsemeke Daniel delivered his ruling in a lawsuit filed by Uyo-based businessman Ubong Williams, challenging his unlawful arrest and detention by the commission.
The court in issue No: HU / FHR.67 / 2021 held that the arrest, torture, harassment and intimidation of Mr Williams by ICPC agents were unlawful and violated his basic rights such as contained in the Constitution of 1999 as amended.
The court ruled that the notice of seizure issued by the ICC to freeze Mr Williams’ account at a second-generation bank was unlawful, unlawful and infringed his right.
She therefore ordered the ICPC to withdraw the notice of seizure dated March 25, 2021 from Mr. William’s account while also canceling the lien placed on the account.
Mr Williams, consultant to the Akwa Ibom state government, was arrested by the ICPC in a similar petition currently before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) tribunal .
ICPC agents led by Akwa Ibom State Commissioner Shola Shodipo picked up Mr. Williams from his office on Thursday March 18 and took him to Abuja where he was held for two weeks without trial.
But in an ex parte petition filed on his behalf by his lawyer, Andem Andem in case number HU / FHR.67 / 2021, he urged the court to declare that the anti-corruption agency’s action violated his fundamental rights. .
In the lawsuit, the ICPC, its director of operations, Akem Lawal, and Akwa Ibom State Commissioner, Shola Shodipo, are named as the first, second and third defendants, respectively.
While opposing the prolonged detention of his client, Mr Andem argued that the anti-corruption agency failed to notify Mr Williams of the particular offense for which he was arrested.
Mr Andem also considered that keeping his client in detention without bringing him to trial was unconstitutional and violated his fundamental rights.
Ruling on the request, Presiding Judge Nsemeke Daniel ordered that Williams be released from detention pending the decision of his fundamental rights application in this court.
Despite the court order, the ICPC kept him in detention until April 8, 2021, when the commission chairman, Bolaji Owasanoye, finally approved his release.