Court Adjourns EFCC Director’s Suit Challenging Demotion

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By Alex Enumah in Abuja

Justice Sanusi Kado of the National Industrial Court, Abuja, on Wednesday adjourned till November 12, 2018, hearing on the suit instituted by a Director of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ayo Olowonihi, challenging his suspension and subsequent demotion by the commission. 

Justice Kado adjourned the matter for parties in the suit to commence their addresses at the end of cross examination of the last witness for the EFCC, Sambo Mayana, who had  informed the court that he was surprised to hear that the claimant, Olowonihi  had been on suspension since 2015. 

Mayana, the fourth and final witness (DW4) brought by the EFCC testified yesterday in the ongoing hearing of Olowonihi’s suit challenging his suspension without salary and subsequent demotion by the EFCC since December 30th, 2015.

At the resumed hearing yesterday, the witness, led in evidence by counsel to the EFCC, Ibrahim Audu, adopted his statement on oath as his evidence in the case. 

He informed the court that he was a member of the team that carried out investigations on a criminal matter which had to do with malicious publications against the EFCC and some of its staff. He also stated that during investigations, he interrogated a certain Mr. Umaru Dembo who was a Coordinator of the Buhari Support Group during the 2015 elections. 

However, during cross-examination by the claimant’s counsel, Professor Joash Amupitan (SAN), the witness told the court that the publications were made by some bloggers. 

Asked who the bloggers were, the witness named one Abu Sidiku. The SAN then asked the witness if blogger Abu Sidiku told investigators that the claimant was responsible for the publications to which the witness said no. 

The witness under cross examination further told the court that forensic examination of the claimant’s phones did not reveal any involvement with the publications.

When shown the letter written by Umaru Dembo which is an exhibit before the court, the witness again told the court that Umaru Dembo did not say that the claimant had anything to do with the publications. He said they went to interrogate Dembo in his house and that they did not take his statement on the Commission’s statement form. 

Continuing under cross examination, the witness said he was not aware that Mr. Olowonihi’s phones had not been returned to him since 2015. He also told the court that he was surprised that the claimant had been on suspension without pay since 2015. 

The claimant, Olowonihi, a Director, had dragged the EFCC before the National Industrial Court, Abuja Division over his suspension, demotion and denials of his entitlements, rights and privileges. 

In the suit marked: NICN / ABJ /347/2017, Olowonihi is asking the court to declare the instruments and the entire processes as well as the subsequent suspension, demotion and denials of his entitlements, rights and privileges as illegal, null and void