October 1, 2022

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EFCC kicks against court order to allow Obiano travel abroad

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has kicked against an interim order granting the immediate past Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, access to travel abroad.

The order was made ex parte by the Awka Division of the Federal High Court and presided over by Justice Hyeladzira A. Nganjiwa.

Nganjiwa said the ex-governor could travel to the United States of America for his medical appointment on the grounds of fair hearing.

The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) chieftain, is being investigated for alleged corruption and money laundering during his tenure from 2014 to 2022.

Obiano was arrested on March 17, 2022, at the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos, as he attempted to leave Nigeria, after handing over to Governor Chukwuma Soludo.

In a statement on Saturday, the EFCC accused him of attempting to arm-twist the commission with the ex parte order.

The spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, said court documents indicated that Obiano, on March 11, 2022 ahead of his handover, filed a motion ex parte dated March 10, 2022 before Justice Nganjiwa.

Among others, he prayed for an interim injunction stopping the EFCC from arresting or preventing him from travelling abroad for his medical treatment.

Uwujaren noted that while the court asked the applicant to put the commission on notice on why order should not be granted, it equally ordered the EFCC not to stop Obiano from travelling abroad and adjourned till March 23.

“On March 31, the Commission was served an originating motion on notice for the enforcement of the applicant’s fundamental rights. Curiously, the motion was filed on March 11, 2022, the same date as the motion for ex parte order.

“This was followed by another motion on notice on April 4, putting the Commission on notice to release Obiano’s passport to enable him travel abroad for his medicals with hearing fixed for April 6, and instructions that proceedings shall be conducted virtually via Zoom”, the EFCC said.

Uwujaren said before the hearing, the EFCC petitioned the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court asking that Justice Nganjiwa recuse himself from the fundamental rights action because he is a party in the commission’s appeal at the Supreme Court in the corruption case, H. A. Nganjiwa VS. FRN.

The spokesman added that when the case was called, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, held the brief of his brother judge, who is bereaved.

The case where Justice Nganjiwa is expected to appear was adjourned. His counsel will be notified of the court date.

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