Thursday, 17 September 2015

Court Stops ICPC, EFCC, SSS From Probing Jonathan Aide

A federal high court has barred anti-graft agencies from arresting or probing Kingsley Kuku, the former president Goodluck Jonathan’s special adviser on thr Niger Delta and the chairman of the amnesty programme.

Kingsley Kuku has had a successful surgical operation and is almost ready for EFCC probe.

Premium Times reports that Kuku is accused of diverting billions of naira meant for amnesty programmes to former militants in the Niger Delta region.

A federal high court sitting in Abuja issued the order following an application filed by Ademola Abimbola,the counsel of the former amnesty coordinator.

In a motion filed by his counsel, Kuku complained that he was invited for interrogation by the EFCC and warned that he might be arrested.

According to the court’s ruling, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) are barred from arresting, detaining and investigating Kuku’s activities as head of the amnesty office.

The ruling also affects the department of the State Security Services, the Nigerian police force, the Nigerian Immigration Service and National Security Civil Defence Corps.

Justice Valentine Ashi insisted that none of the anti-graft and security agencies should take any action on the alleged fraud pending the determination of a suit filed before the court.

Meanwhile, the ICPC announced that it would challenge the court order.

Speaking with journalists, Okey Igbudu, the head of ICPC’s legal department, noted that the court directive would be challenged “in the interest of the public”.

“We usually challenge such cases and in the case of Kuku which was heard on Friday, September 11, the ICPC will challenge the injunction granted by the court as it has done in previous cases,” he said.

On Wednesday, September 16, at the resumed hearing of the motion, the EFCC asked the court to vacate the order stopping the investigation of alleged financial impropriety by Kuku.

During the hearing, Victor Ukagwu, the counsel to the EFCC, said that the body had received 14 petitions against Kuku’s handling of amnesty funds. Citing Sections 6, 7 of the EFCC Establishment Act 2004, he stressed that the commission had the powers to investigate financial crimes and allegations.

The council further insisted that Section 41 of the EFCC Act gave power of arrest to the commission but noted that Kuku was merely invited for interview in respect of allegations of financial impropriety against him.

Earlier this month, there were strong indications that the EFCC froze the bank accounts of the Keketobou Foundation, the charity organisation owned by Kingsley Kuku.