Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Abuja | 26 February 2016 | 2,278 times
Following the decision of the Senate, yesterday, for the arrest of former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Lamorde, his lawyer has asked the Nigeria Police to disregard the order, adding that his client would not appear before the Senate or any of its committees until the court decides against him.
In a statement issued last night, Festus Keyamo said the police and other law enforcement agencies should resist the invitation to drag themselves into what he described as an “illegal scheme”, while he pleaded with the Police to await the outcome of the matter which is still pending in court.
His words: “The conducts of the Senate and the committee amount to legislative rascality, as they seek to usurp the powers of the judiciary and to undermine its authority. We most respectfully urge the Nigeria Police Force to await the outcome of the matter pending in court before deciding one way or the other about the enforcement of the said warrant of arrest, if eventually issued. If the court decides otherwise against our position, our client is prepared to appear before the Senate or any of its committees.”
During its plenary on Thursday, the Senate issued a warrant for the arrest of Alhaji Ibrahim Lamorde, because of his refusal to appear before its Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, over a petition filed by one Mr George Uboh, which alleged that he had diverted about N1 trillion proceeds from corruption cases recovered by the agency. This prompted the relevant Senate committee to commence an investigation.
It was gathered that the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions had invited the former EFCC chairman four different four times, last year, but he reportedly failed to appear. Along the line, the upper chamber sources noted rather than responding to the committee’s invitation, his lawyer said “he was out of the country on his three-month terminal leave.”
In his Thursday’s statement, Keyamo recalled: “Both the Senate and the committee were served with the originating summons and a motion seeking an interlocutory injunction restraining the Senate from continuing with their investigations, pending the determination of the suit. The processes were served on them on 20th November, 2015, but since then, they have refused, ignored and failed to file any process in defence of the suit.
“In any event, the Senate Standing Rules are clear to the effect that matters pending before a court of law should not be deliberated upon or discussed on the floor of the Senate or any of its committees. This is the reason why our client’s case is clearly different from the case of other citizens against whom warrants of arrest have been issued by competent courts of law. Whilst there is no restriction on the powers of a court of law to issue a warrant of arrest against anybody who fails to honour its summons, the Senate’s own rules forbid it to do anything in respect of matters that are pending in a court of law.”
•Photo shows Lamorde.
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