Ifeanyi Onuba, Abuja
An Abuja businessman, Mr Abdulhamid Zari, has alleged that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission operatives extorted N4m from him to release his passport.
The passport, he claimed, was seized on the directive of the Head, Economic Governance in the Commission, Abubakar Madaki.
Zari, who made the accusation while addressing journalists in Abuja on Monday, said he had petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami and the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission.
A copy of the petition titled ‘Compliant against Abubakar Madaki for illegal extortion of money, use of office to perverse and truncate the course of justice; the need for urgent intervention,” was made available to our correspondent.
Zari, who is the Managing Director, G-Complex Nigeria Ltd, claimed that on the directive of Madaki, the operatives came up with trumped-up allegations against him that were never substantiated.
He said, “The essence of the petition was to bring to the fore the conduct of Madaki, who has been using his office in the EFCC to harass, intimidate and extort money from me.
“He instigated the EFCC against me, as operatives from the Procurement Fraud Section, under him as of then invaded my house on March 27, 2017 claiming that they were investigating me for conspiracy, fraud and money laundering.
“Upon inquiry, I was told that it was on the basis of a whistle-blower that they raided my residence and carted away all my landed property documents, company incorporation documents and my international passport and money which they are still holding on to till date.
“Despite not finding anything incriminating in the course of their illegal search of my premises, they arrested me and took me to the EFCC headquarters.”
He added, “I was purportedly released on bail after the said EFCC operatives forcefully extorted N4m from me, promising to release all the documents carted away by them in the course of the illegal search on my premises.”
He said that despite the suit instituted by his lawyers from Mike Ozhekhome Chambers, which led to a Federal High Court order by Justice Binta Nyako directing the EFCC to return his documents and unseal his business premises, the order had yet to be complied with by the commission.
“It is more pathetic that the EFCC has failed to obey various court orders in respect of this matter.
“The Federal High Court presided over by Justice Binta Nyako directed parties to maintain the status quo, notwithstanding this order of court, the next morning, the EFCC sealed my house, chasing away my entire family from my home.
“It would further Interest you to know that upon the conclusion of the case, the court in its judgment, further made other orders, directing the EFCC to erase the writing on the walls of my premises, the EFCC has failed to comply with the order till date.”
Madaki however told our correspondent that the EFCC had reacted to the allegations in a statement.
“What I will say is that there is already a response from the EFCC and you can use that,” Madaki said and declined further comments.
The commission in the statement said Madaki was never a member of the investigating team handling the investigations against Zari, noting that Madaki did not demand bribes from the affected businessman.
“Zari has now changed gear by bringing up fresh allegations against the officer. Now, he would have the world believe that he was extorted N4m to be granted bail in an agency that is not known for collecting money to admit suspects on bail,” the agency claimed.
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