An Akwa Ibom State High Court sitting in Uyo, the state capital has ordered the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to pay the sum of N40 million as damages to one Ubong Williams, a bussinessman, for illegally detaining him.
Williams in suit number: HU/FHR.67/2021, petitioned the court for his illegal arrest and detention by the operatives of ICPC.
The presiding judge, Justice Nsemeke Daniel in his ruling held that the arrest, torture, harassment and intimidation of Mr. Williams by operatives of the ICPC, was illegal and infringed his fundamental rights as contained in the 1999 Constitution as amended.
He also held that the detention of the applicant from March 18, 2021 till April 8, 2021, a period of 22 days was illegal, unlawful and an infringement of his fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution.
The court also ruled that the notice of seizure issued by the ICPC to freeze the bank account of Mr. Williams was illegal, unlawful and an infringement on his right of interest in a movable property, even as it ordered the ICPC to withdraw the notice of seizure dated March 25, 2021 on Mr. William’s account while also nullifying the lien placed on the account by the anti-graft agency.
The suit read in parts, “That the respondents are hereby restrained by an order of perpetual injunction, either by themselves, agents, servants or privies from further arresting, harassing, intimidating and detaining the applicant in any manner whatsoever in connection with the subject matter of this suit.
“That the sum of N40 million damages is awarded against the respondent for the infringement of the applicant’s fundamental rights.”
It was gathered that the ICPC operatives led by the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner, Shola Shodipo, had arrested Mr. Williams — a consultant with the state government, from his office on Thursday, March 18 and took him to Abuja where he was detained for two weeks without trial.
But in an ex-parte motion filed on behalf of Mr. Williams by his lawyer, Andem Andem in Suit Number: HU/FHR.67/2021, the applicant prayed the court to hold that the action of the anti-graft agency violated his fundamental rights.
In the suit, the ICPC, its Director of Operations, Akem Lawal and the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner, Shola Shodipo are listed as first, second and third respondents, respectively.
Mr. Andem argued that the anti-graft agency had failed to inform Mr. Williams of the particular offence for which he was arrested.
He added that keeping his client in custody without charging him to court is unconstitutional and a breach of his fundamental rights.