Tuesday 30 October 2012

Ibori’s $15m : Court rejects request to summon Clark

Ibori’s $15m : Court rejects request to summon ClarkA Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, refused oral application to summon the prominent South-South leader, Chief Edwin Clark, over his comment on the controversial $15 million traced to the convicted former Delta State Governor, James Ibori.
Ibori allegedly offered the money as bribe to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Clark had called for the sack of the EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde, over the needless controversy generated by the money.
At the resumed hearing of the suit by the commission, seeking forfeiture of the money to the Federal Government, the EFCC lawyer, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) criticized the elder statesman for commenting on the issue already before the court for adjudication.
Ruling on the request to invite Clark, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, who said the application was diversionary, pointed out that Clark is neither a party nor counsel in the matter before him.
He, however, said the commission is at the liberty to file a formal application to summon Clark before him.
Meanwhile, a London- based lawyer, John Olufemi Aina has filed an application on behalf of an individual, Olalekan Kayode asking the court to remit the $15 million bribe money to him on trust for the public.
Aina asked the court not to forfeit the money to the federal government on the grounds that all the looted funds recovered by the federal government from the family of the late General Sani Abacha, Cecilia Ibru, ex-Governor Joshua Dariye up to Halliburton were re-looted by government officials.
He said he will constitute a trust committee on behalf of Nigerians who shall determine what project to execute with it for the benefit of the general public.
Before adjourning hearing till November 11, Justice Kolawole asked parties to serve all pending applications.
Clark had accused Lamorde of displaying gross incompetence in the manner he was handling the case, adding that “Nigeria desires a more serious body to fight corruption not the EFCC, the one being led by Lamorde.”
The elder statesman said there was no controversy over the ownership of the money as being insinuated by the anti graft agency in the suit before the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Clark said the EFCC, Achibogu and all involved in the forfeiture suit filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja, should be probed to put the battle against corruption on the front burner of our “body polity.”
“As at today, the EFCC as presently constituted cannot fight corruption because it lacks the will, courage and determination, as the James Ibori $15 million bribe had revealed. The EFCC should be made of men of honour and probity.
“Despite the opinion some may hold on Ibrahim Lamorde the present Executive Chairman of the EFCC, he should be investigated for the unholy roles he had played in the James Ibori saga”, Clark added.
He was of the opinion that the money might have been offered as bribe to Ribadu to compromise him on the allegations of N120 billion supplementary budget fraud levelled against the former governor.

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