CrimeNews

Why EFCC can’t declare me wanted over arms deal, by Aboubakar, Nigerien businessman

* Warns against seizure of his 'legitimately' acquired properties

From NDUKAIHE UGWU, Abuja

Saying that he had always been available and that officials of the government and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had access to him or knew very well how and where to see him, a businessman, Mr. Hima Aboubakar has faulted the anti-graft Commission for declaring him a wanted person.

In his letter to the acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mohammed Umar, Aboubakar, a citizen of Niger Republic, said he couldn’t be declared wanted when he neither ran away nor was in hiding in any way, insisting that officials of the federal government and EFCC knew where he was and had unfettered access.

Taking umbrage at reported plans to confiscate his properties in Nigeria, Aboubakar specifically warned EFCC to stay away from such properties because, according to him, he legitimately acquired them.

About two months ago, the EFCC declared Aboubakar wanted for a case of criminal conspiracy, contract scam, misappropriation of public fund and money laundering.

Nigerien Hima Aboubakar, alleged arms dealer in tango with EFCC

But Aboubakar, through his lawyer, Dr. Kayode Ajulo, in a letter dated September 3, 2020 and addressed to the Acting Chairman of the commission, said the court order the commission relied upon to carry out the forfeiture of the properties cannot be executed.

According to him, the EFCC claimed that they secured an order authorising them to seize the property but Dr. Ajulo said the order was obtained without the court having jurisdiction.

He also told the Acting Chairman that his client had already filed a notice of stay of execution of the order of the court.

He said the commission secured the order without giving any notice of the pendency of the action to his client.

Said he in paragraphs 2.I to 2.3 of the letter: ”That the property known as Plot. No. I506, Cadastral Zone, A06, Maitama has been finally ordered to be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria by virtue of the judgment issued by the Federal High Court, Abuja dated 13 July, 2020.

”That the occupants are by your Letter, requested to explain thecircumstances of their presence in the property on or before 14m August, 2020 to the Directorate of Asset Forfeiture & Recovery Management, 5 Floor Left Wing, Head office Complex, Plot 301/302 Institute and Research District, Jabi- Abuja-Airport Road, Abuja.

”That if the said occupants fail to comply with your directives, they would be treated as illegal occupants.”

But Aboubakar, through his lawyer said: ”Sometime in early August 2020, he received a call from an anonymous caller that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had sealed his properties and frozen his monies in the bank.”

Dr. Kayode Ajulo, Him Aboubakar’s lawyer

He said he was not served any order of the court for him to show cause why the properties and monies in the accounts should not be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

According to him, by virtue of the coronavirus pandemic ravaging the entire world which has led to the death of several persons and the total lock-down of countries borders and airspace, he could not have travelled from Niger Republic into Nigeria to defend the action against his properties.

He also said the officers of the Commission who made the

Application had at various times travelled to Niger Republic to visit him and are conscious of the fact that he is not a Nigerian and is not resident in this country.

Ajulo told the EFCC that the judgment of the Federal High Court cannot be executed in any manner whatsoever against his Client pending the determination of the said Applications.

”In my considered view, it would amount to an effrontery for a party or court to proceed with the execution of judgment knowing full well that a Motion for Stay regarding that judgment is pending in Court.

”The essence of an order for stay of execution is to maintain the status quo before the order and prevent the successful party from insisting on his adjudged rights by invocation of the coercive jurisdiction of the courts in a process of Execution”, he said.

”We, therefore, admonish that all actions relating to the execution of the judgement in the above-captioned suit be stayed pending the determination of Our Clients Motion for Stay of Execution so as not to foist a situation of helplessness on the Court”, he said.

The commission in a statement said “the man is accused of a series of frauds to the tune of over $394m, 9.9 million pounds and N369m.”

He further stated that, the suspect who is the Chief Executive Officer of Societe D`Equipment Internationaux, SEI, is alleged to have received the sum for the purchase of equipment for the Nigerian Military. He, however, added that “investigations have revealed discrepancies in the supply of the equipment”

The report said, Aboubakar failed to honour the commission`s invitation and was currently evading investigation, thus the need to declare him wanted.

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