Published On: Thu, Feb 8th, 2018

EFCC fights for power to wade into innoson,Gtbdispute

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The Economic and Financial Crimes (EFCC) still insist5  that it has the jurisdiction to intervene in the dispute between Innoson Group of Companies and Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), as the maain reason for the conflict is bordering on financial crimes.

Mr. Chile Okoroma who is the director of legals, while speaking before the Senate Committee on Anti Corruption, said it was a misconception that the tussle between both business entities is a civil one, or that the agency waded into the matter based on the dictates of the bank.

This is as the committee summoned the Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Mr. Segun Agbaje, to appear before it at its next sitting.

The Senator Chukwuka Utazi-led committee is investigating the alleged illegal arrest of the Chairman of Innoson Group, Mr. Innocent Chukwuma, by EFCC officials and alleged manhandling of his wife in December 2017, and the role of the commission in a transactional dispute between a private entrepreneur and a commercial bank in a matter which is already before the Supreme Court.

Okoroma said the EFCC can also wade into cases of duping between two persons, and can prosecute or play the role of an arbitrator if the accused person agrees to pay a refund.

Okoroma added that the EFCC arrested Chukwuma from his Enugu home after the businessman, who he said was on administrative bail, failed to honour invitations extended to him by the commission.

He further alleged that officials of the EFCC were assaulted by thugs when they tried to arrest the businessman.
“We are not partisan, we do not have anything to do with their civil matter, but if there is anything that has to do with financial crimes, it is our duty to investigate it,” Okoroma added.

But while being questioned by Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi APC), Okoroma was unable to categorically state whether the commission had a warrant of arrest for Chukwuma before invading his home.
As the lawmaker insisted on a “Yes or No” response to the question, Okoroma said the operation was conducted by the Lagos office of the agency.

Ruling, Utazi insisted that the Chief Executive Officer of GTB, Agbaje must appear at the committee’s next sitting instead of sending his legal team, since Chukwuma had personally shown up before the committee at an earlier sitting.

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