The Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) yesterday, is finally seeking to file its defense to the claim by Pinnacle Communications, out of time. Pinnacle communications are accusing the anti graft body of illegally freezing its bank account in Zenith bank without a court order.
Pinnacle sued ICPC to the tune N1bn in damages in July 2018. Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, adjourned the case till the 27th June 2019 for the hearing of the application filed by ICPC.
In December 2018, the Federal High Court in Abuja had ordered ICPC to unfreeze the account of Pinnacle Communications Limited and counseled anti corruption agencies of government against taking drastic action that could prevent private enterprises from flourishing prior to concluding investigations to justify such action.
Reacting to the development, the National President of the League of Civil Society Amb. Mukhtar Akoshile Express chock on the recent operation of the ICPC by neglecting professionalism to uphold personal vendetta in the discharge of their duty.
It is unimaginable for an ICPC to freeze a Company account without a cogent court order and knowing that the Said company are too wise to be brainwashed now rushes to get a court order after 5 days. Interesting to know was that a court of competent jurisdiction later direct the ICPC to unfreeze the account as it negates all Known in the land and that of the international corrupt practices law.
Speaking further, The Civil Right activist further advice the ICPC to retrace their steps and save the country from international embarrassment and borrow conduct of professionalism from the Efcc and other related government agencies.
Recall Justice Nnamdi Dimgba Delivering ruling in the interlocutory application by Pinnacle Communications Limited maintained that the anti corruption war was as beneficial to the society as flourishing private enterprises pointing out that scuttling the operations of major private organizations like Pinnacle Communications Limited also sends negative signals to the international community about Nigeria’s business environment.
Justice Dimgba described ICPC’s action against Pinnacle Communications Limited as “an overkill just like using a sledgehammer to kill a fly” considering that even after six months since the case was instituted by Pinnacle Communications and despite the leeway provided by many court adjournments, ICPC could not file any charges against the company, emphasizing that it should not have frozen the account without establishing a prima facies against it.
The judge remarked that anti-corruption agencies should not base their actions on rumours or “beer parlour stories” but on thorough investigations that could sustain judicial scrutiny.