A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has handed Festus Keyamo, the Former Minister of State for Labour and Employment a N10 million fine over a lawsuit he brought against Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission.
Justice James Omotosho on Monday described the suit marked FHC/ANJ/CS/84/2023 as “frivolous, vexatious, and an abuse of court processes,” and subsequently awarded a N5 million fine each in favour of Abubakar and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), making a N10 million against Keyamo.
Justice Omotosho directed that the fine should be paid “at 10 per cent per annum until the cost is finally liquidated.”
The order followed an oral application by counsel for Atiku, Benson Igbanoi, and that of the ICPC, Oluwakemi Odogun, asking for cost after the matter was dismissed.
In January 2023, the then Minister of State for Labour and Employment, and also a spokesperson of the dissolved Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, dragged the PDP’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar to court over allegation of fraud using the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to divert fund between 1999 and 2007.
He joined the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants respectively.
He sort a declaration of the court that the 1st Defendant (Atiku) is under a legal obligation to make available to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Defendants, for the purpose of aiding their investigation, information available to him in respect of a certain bank account belonging to a company named Marine Float and other accounts of two undisclosed companies, which information he disclosed to a certain close aide of his called Michael Achimugu, as to how the said accounts were used as a “Special Purpose Vehicles” to secretly divert and misappropriate public funds between 1999 and 2007 when the 1st Defendant served as Vice President of Nigeria.
In reaction to the Monday ruling, John Ainetor (Esq), Assistant Head of Festus Keyamo Chambers, Abuja Office, issued a statement saying that an appeal against the decision of the Court with the Court of Appeal.
Punch reported that the statement read;
“Earlier today, a Federal High Court in Abuja dismissed the case filed by Festus Keyamo, SAN, CON, against the candidate of the PDP in the last Presidential Election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar over the SPV saga principally because the court was of the opinion that the law-enforcement agencies were not given enough time to commence investigations before the suit was filed, amongst other sundry reasons.
“Our client respectfully disagrees with the reasons for the said decision because the law-enforcement agencies did not indicate their willingness to commence investigations, even if they were given more time. We want to establish a legal principle that the society cannot wait as infinitum for law-enforcement agencies to do their statutory duties.”
“The suit was designed to prompt the agencies to show their readiness to investigate. We are immediately filing an appeal against the said decision to the Court of Appeal as the struggle on this issue continues.”
Nnamdi Maduakor is a Writer, Investor and Entrepreneur