An FCT High Court on Tuesday fixed the ruling of the bail application of Abiodun Agbele, an aide to Gov. Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti, till July 21.
Agbele was arraigned by Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) for alleged money laundering of N1.2 billion from the Office of the National Security Adviser.
The judge, Justice Olukayode Adeniyi, adjourned ruling earlier fixed for Tuesday after a closed door meeting with both counsel in the matter.
Agbele’s counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), had challenged the breach of his client’s fundamental human rights by the EFCC. Ozekhome told the court that the application, dated July 11 was supported by 33-paragraph affidavit, and another nine paragraph affidavit of urgency.
He said that EFCC operatives had detained his client since June 27, and prayed the court to award N500 million as compensation for his unlawful detention. Ozekhome argued that EFCC did mention Agbele to have paid the said money into his own account but rather he paid the money into peoples’ account.
He made a submission that it was wrong practice by EFCC to detain suspects before beginning to look for evidence or commence investigation. “EFCC got a warrant of remand on June 30 from a Magistrate Court in Lagos pursuant to Section 293 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act of Lagos.”
He said that they should have arraigned him within 48 hours as stipulated by Section 35 (5) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). The counsel said that Section 35(5) was inconsistent with Section 293 of the ACJA because the constitution was superior.
He said that Agbele was granted administrative bail with stringent conditions and EFCC renewed his detention after the given grace period of 14 days lapsed. Ozekhome, therefore, urged the court to grant him bail on self-recognition or on liberal terms since his client had not been proven guilty.
But EFCC’s counsel, Mr Andrew Akoja, while opposing the bail application, argued that the issue of breach of fundamental rights did not arise at all.
Akoja said he had filed a 31-paragraph counter affidavit stating why Agbele should be detained. While he admitted that the Magistrate court might be an inferior court to the Federal High court, “the statute has bestowed power on that court’’.
He, therefore, urged the court not to grant bail to the applicant, arguing that before now, the treasonable offence was perceived to be the highest offence in the country, “ but now corruption is the highest’’.
Akoja further argued that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter since the alleged offence was not committed within Abuja Magisterial District.