An Abuja High Court sitting in Maitama, on Tuesday quashed the charges filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against Hon. Nze Chidi Duru.
In his two hours ruling on the preliminary objection filed by Duru, Justice Peter Affen described the suit filed by EFCC as an abuse of court process, vexatious, annoying and meant to embarrass Duru.
Justice Affen found that the charges were predicated, connected with and related to the Director General of National Pension Commission (PenCom) Target Examination on First Guarantee Pension Limited which had been previously nullified, voided and vitiated by a court of competent jurisdiction.
The judge also found that the EFCC had earlier withdrawn a similar charge in a Lagos High Court with a clear statement that there was nothing criminal against Duru.
He ruled that it was therefore preposterous and only meant to embarrass the respondent (Duru) for the plaintiff (EFCC) to resurrect before the court the case which, in all ramifications, is similar to the one nullified by a court of competent jurisdiction.
Commenting on the judgment, counsel to Duru, Smart Iheazor, said: “This particular case, as in the other charges against my client, is simply a ploy by the sacked PenCom DG, Mrs. Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, to unlawfully snatch from him the First Guarantee Pension Limited (FGPL) in the last six years.”
Accusing the sacked DG of PenCom of bad faith, the learned counsel said Justice Donatus Okorowo of the Abuja High Court had dismissed the same charges on June 18, 2012 and upbraided PenCom for acting above the law and ordering that the interim management set up by the regulatory agency be removed.
Duru, founder and promoter of FGPL, one of the Pension Fund Administrators (PFA) licensed under the Pension Reform Act of 2004, has had a protracted legal battle with PenCom which is allegedly using EFCC and some disgruntled FGPL shareholders to actualise some vested interest.
Duru had accused PenCom and three other shareholders of collaborating with the regulatory body and working jointly to take away the company from him and 34 other shareholders.
Justice Donatus Okorowo of the Federal High Court Abuja, had on August 11, 2011and June 18, 2012 quashed fraud charges filed against Hon. Nze Duru by PenCom and EFCC.
PenCom had alleged that Duru defrauded FGPL, a company he founded and nurtured to good financial health until it paid its first dividend to shareholders in 2010 over which PenCom rated it in a commendation letter as the most improved Pension Fund Administrator (PFA) but later turned around to vilify the company founders.