The Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, has asked a Federal High Court, Lagos to dismiss a N10bn suit filed by Capital Oil and Gas Ltd and its chairman, Ifeanyi Uba, seeking to be shielded from any criminal prosecution.
The Special Fraud Unit of the police in Lagos in October 2012 held Uba and five of his employees in custody for 10 on the basis of investigating them for alleged N40bn fuel subsidy fraud.
Uba is by his suit seeking N10bn compensatory damages against the IG, and other respondents including, the Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank Plc, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imokhuede, for alleged illegal detention.
Counsel for the IG, Mr. Godwin Obla, on Tuesday informed the presiding judge, Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke that he had filed a preliminary objection to the suit urging the court to refuse the suit for lack of jurisdiction.
Among the IG’s grounds for seeking the striking out of the suit is that it “does not disclose a reasonable cause of action against” the police “and the court in consequence lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the suit”.
Obla also argued that the police cannot be restrained from carrying out their constitutional duty of investigating fraud, having obtained an order of a magistrate’s court to hold the suspects in custody.
He contended in his objection that the suit was an abuse of court process as the facts and parties constituting the suit had been previously litigated and judgment delivered by Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Lagos.
“This suit is an abuse of the process of this court and has been brought to unduly irritate and annoy the second respondent (the IG),” Obla stated.
Abang had in October 2012 struck out Uba’s suit seeking an order of release from the custody of the SFU which claimed to be investigating Uba, his firm, Capital Oil and four others for alleged fraud.
He was later released from the custody of SFU before the expiration of a remand order earlier granted by a Magistrate, Mr. Martins Owumi.
But Uba, who by is suit accuses the police authorities, Aig-Imokhuede and other respondents of “prosecutorial misconduct”, is seeking the court’s declaration nullifying the report made by the presidential committee on verification of oil subsidy payment to oil marketers.
He claimed that the report of the presidential committee headed by Aig -Imokhuede was tainted by malice as it had portrayed him as being involved in stealing and money laundering
Ubah therefore seeks an order of perpetual injunction, restraining the IGP, and CP SFU, from further “harassing, arresting or instituting any criminal process” against him.
Other respondents in the suit are the policeman investigating the fraud allegation against Uba and CEO Coscharis Motors, Mr Cosmas Maduka.
Justice Aneke has adjourned hearing of the objection and adoption of addresses till March 7.