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EFCC, ICPC can’t probe me – Obasanjo

Posted by Tobi Soniyi, Abuja on 2005/06/07 | Views: 215 |

EFCC, ICPC can’t probe me – Obasanjo


President Olusegun Obasanjo on Monday said that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission and the Code of Conduct Bureau could not probe him in connection with any alleged wrongdoing.

President Olusegun Obasanjo on Monday said that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission and the Code of Conduct Bureau could not probe him in connection with any alleged wrongdoing.

In a preliminary objection to a suit by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, at the Federal High Court, Abuja, challenging the legality of the fund raising for the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, the President said he enjoyed immunity under Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution.

He therefore asked the court to strike out the suit.

Obasanjo, who also challenged the locus standi of Fawehinmi to institute the action, argued that the human rights activist did not sue the proper parties to the dispute.

Fawehinmi had, in the suit filed on May 24, argued that the project was illegal.

The Lagos-based lawyer said the act of receiving money from Federal Government contractors and beneficiaries amounted to corrupt practice and an abuse of power.

He added that the act was also a flagrant disregard of the Code of Conduct for public officers as contained in item 6(1)(2) of the Fifth Schedule, Part 1 of the constitution.

No less than N6billion was raised at the fund raising which Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, described as “executive extortion.”

In the preliminary objection, Obasanjo pointed out that the library did not belong to him but to a legal entity called Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library Foundation registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission as incorporation limited by guarantee.

He argued that Fawehinmi confused Obasanjo as a person with OOPL Foundation, the organisers of the fund raising and the recipient of the donated funds.

Besides, Obasanjo stated in the objection filed by Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) that Fawehinmi’s suit was a gross abuse of court process and fraught with fundamental irregularities.

Fawehinmi, according to him, failed to show that he (Obasanjo) had any fiduciary relationship or duty with the OOPL Foundation.

Obasanjo also urged the court to strike out the suit because the proper procedure for initiating it was not followed.

A-35-paragraph affidavit deposed to by a director of the foundation, Dr. Onaolapo Soleye, was attached to the objection.

Soleye, in the affidavit, claimed that he was the promoter of the library.

He said that he had personal interest in establishing libraries and that he had one called, “Ile Ogbon.”

The former Minister of Finance also claimed that he was the proprietor of the newly approved The Bells University of Technology.

He stated that paragraphs six to 25 deposed to by Fawehinmi in his originating summons were false.

Paragraph 14 of the affidavit in support of the objection stated, “That contrary to the averment in paragraph 12, 13, 14 and 19 of the affidavit in support of the motion, the launching of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library was organised by the registered company known as Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (Limited by Guarantee).”

Other claims by the deponent are:

* that it was the foundation that invited people to donate money and not Obasanjo as a person;

* that all donations made at the launching of the library were in favour of the foundation and not in favour of Obasanjo as a person;

* that Obasanjo had never been a director of the foundation and that he (Obasanjo) had no personal interest in the foundation;

* that Obasanjo was invited just like any other dignitaries to the library’s fundraising ceremony :and

* that the donations made at the ceremony would not go to Obasanjo but would be used for the library’s project.

He claimed that Fawehinmi’s action was motivated by malice.

Obasanjo, Soleye stated, had no interest in The Bells University of Technology, which at the time Fawehinmi filed his suit had not been granted a licence to operate.

A certificate of incorporation dated 14th day of November 2002 was attached to the objection.

The case has not been assigned.

The Punch, Tuesday June 7, 2005

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.