Austrian Businessman Initiates Contempt Proceeding against EFCC Boss 

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Tobi Soniyi in Abuja

An Austrian businessman, Wolfgang Reinl,  ‎detained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has asked an Abuja High Court to commit the Acting Chairman of the commission, Ibrahim Magu for allegedly refusing to comply with a court order directing the commission to release his (Reinl) international passport and other personal effects to him.

Reinl’s lawyer, Afam Osigwe, on Thursday filed   form 48 which is a notice of consequences of the disobedience to court’s order.

The court had ordered the commission to pay Reinl  the sum of N10 million for his unlawful detention by the EFCC for over two months.

 Justice Peter Affen had on April 20, 2016 held that the detention of the applicant at the EFCC (respondent) office at Wuse 2 Abuja from December 28, 2015 to February 5, 2016 was unlawful, unconstitutional and constituted a gross violation of his fundamental right to dignity of the human person and personal liberty which is contrary to Section 34(1) and 35(1) and (6) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

 The court also declared that the seizure of the applicant’s passport by the EFCC constituted a gross violation of his right to freedom of movement contrary to Article 12(2) of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights.

 The judge consequently ordered: “the respondent (EFCC) shall release forthwith the applicant’s international passport seized or confiscated in the wake of his arrest and detention and de-list him from their watch list or no fly list.

“The respondent shall pay forthwith to the applicant the sum of 10,000,000 as compensatory damages for the violation of his fundamental rights to dignity of human person and personal liberty.”
In applying for Form 48, Osigwe said almost two weeks after the court’s decision the commission had bluntly and flagrantly refused to either release the applicant’s international passport or pay the N10million compensation as ordered by the court.

 Reinl was arrested and detained from December 28, 2015 to February 5, 2016 on the allegations of receiving money from the office of the embattled former National Security Adviser (NSA) Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) without executing any contract but upon investigation it was discovered that  his company Geonel Intergrated Services and A and R Security Solutions Limited actually executed the jobs for which they were engaged.

The EFCC had before the court filed a counter affidavit denying ever arresting him but the court in its judgment later found out that he was arrested and detained by the EFCC and went on to award N10million damages and ordered the immediate release of his passport.