Pastor Drags EFCC To Court

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In a bid to forestall further arrest by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), a Lagos-based pastor, John Asoki, who also claims to be a businessman, has dragged the anti-graft agency before a Federal High Court in Lagos.

Also joined as co-respondents are two officers of the EFCC, Mr. Nurudeen Bello and one Edwin as well as another Lagos pastor, Iyke Onyekwuluje.

In an affidavit in support of his fundamental right enforcement suit and filed before the court, Pastor Asoki averred that sometimes in 2007, he was introduced to the business of supply of petroleum products but had no financial base to fund the business and consequently, Pastor Onyekwuluje volunteered to fund it.

The pastor and two other persons, Lucky Apatanmini and Emmanuel Asoki, entered into an agreement that the proceeds from the supply shall be shared and thereafter, Onyekwuluje paid N2 million to the applicant to be used to transport the product from Warri to Lagos.

The amount was alleged to have been paid to one Captain John.

Asoki averred further that due to unforeseen circumstances, the product was not supplied and consequently, Onyekwuluje demanded refund of N4 million being money paid to hire the vessel and the barge.

Onyekwuluje later petitioned the EFCC and Asoki was arrested and ordered to refund the N4 million out of which he said he has paid N520,000.

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The applicant is now urging the court to restrain EFCC from further arrest or detention. In a counter affidavit sworn by Nurudeen Bello, an investigating officer of EFCC, it was averred that the agency acted on the petition written by Pastor Iyke Onyekwuluje alleging that sometimes in October, 2007, John Asoki lured him into an oil business and collected N4 million from him with the understanding that he will supply oil and gas to his customers and that all efforts to get the products or recover his money were to no avail.

Bello averred further that the EFCC commenced investigation into the case and it was discovered that the applicant in the case obtained the money fraudulently from Pastor Onyekwuluje under the guise of supplying oil to him.

Investigation further revealed that the applicant floated a company known as Karina Integrated Services Limited to perpetrate the fraud.

Contrary to the applicant’s claim, there was no allocation, bill or document from any company on the oil for the existence of the fraudulent transaction which he led Pastor Onyekwuluje into.

Asoki was alleged to have refunded N240,000 out of the N4 million, leaving a balance of N3,760 million and therefore, he was not harassed or detained as he was granted bail, adding that there is he may likely be charged with obtaining money by false pretence soon.

He then urged the court to refuse the applicant’s application.

Justice Binta Murtala Nyako has adjourned till 19 October for further hearing.