A group of legal practitioners under the aegis of Young Lawyers Tuesday alleged that it foiled attempt by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to implicate former Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, with some foreign currencies.
The group made the allegation in a statement by Mr. Fatai Adebanjo, Mr. Busari Olanrewaju and Mr. Samson Okuneye, noting that they stood their ground and resisted pressure from the agency.
The statement explained that officials of the commission initially told them that they would go into the house alone but they did not allow that to happen.
The statement stated that the lawyers said they were briefed that some officers of the EFCC invaded the apartment of the former governor with the intention to search the premises.
It added that the lawyers got to the scene and met with the officials of the EFCC “to inquire whether they have a search warrant to search the premises of the former governor. Having confirmed the Search Warrant, the EFCC officials told us that nobody would follow them in as they would only go in alone.”
According to the statement, we resisted as young lawyers and stated expressly that the principle of search is that the owner of the premises or his representatives must be present to observe the search.
It noted that the EFCC operatives succumbed “to our superior argument and allowed us and the people who have the key to the Ex-Governor’s house into the apartment with them. Before they entered, we searched all the officials of the EFCC who intended to go in to effect the search.
“There was a blue bag which they were holding with them, we requested to see the content of the bag before they could take it in. They got angry and said we cannot see the content.
“Having said that, we strongly resisted them to take it in since they can’t allow us to see it, which they later agreed. We later got to know that the bag contained foreign currency which they brought to plant in the house of the Ex-Governor to incriminate him.”
The lawyers explained how they handed over their phones to the EFCC team led by Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN).
“It is important to inform the public that before they entered the house, we all submitted our phones to them as they requested that the only person required to go in with phone is one of them who will record the whole process,” they said.
“Flowing from the aforesaid, they searched the nooks and crannies of the Ex-Governor’s house and they couldn’t find any incriminating documents or materials. We authoritatively assert that, they did find anything in the house and they didn’t leave the house with anything.
“We followed them as they entered from one place to the other, when our presence was intimidating them, they said we should sit down while they will do the search. We resisted that we must follow them to observe every of their activities in the premises.
“To our greatest consternation, the officials of EFCC led by Rotimi Oyedepo held on to our phones and told us to follow them to their office in Ikoyi to get our phones.
“All efforts to get back our phones was abortive as the EFCC officials led by Rotimi Oyedepo rushed into their white Hiace Bus with our phones and instructed that since we have resisted their efforts to take “the said blue bag” into the main premises of the ex -governor, they will hold on to the phone. Thus, almost six phones were forcefully taken away, iPhones inclusive.
“It is our happiness as Young Lawyers in Epe to be part of the process to legally and successfully resist the EFCC from incriminating the Ex Governor with the blue bag they brought with them from an unknown destination, and we also compelled them to conduct the search within the ambit of the law. Hence, the success.”