Court Dismisses NATFORCE Boss Suit Against ICPC

Justice Adeyemi Ademola of the Federal High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja has dismissed the suit filed by the Director-General of the National Task Force on Combating Illegal Importation of Goods, Small Arms, Ammunition and Light Weapons (NATFORCE), Dr. Emmanuel Okereke. The suit was to stop Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) from investigating alleged employment scam leveled against his organisation.

In 2013, ICPC had received a petition through the Bauchi State Office of the Commission that NATFORCE was defrauding the public through an employment scam.

The petitioner alleged that under the leadership of Dr. Okereke, unsuspecting members of the public were made to believe that NATFORCE was recruiting, and desperate Nigerians looking for employment parted with money for the recruitment exercise.

In the course of its preliminary investigations, the Commission invited the man to defend himself.

Rather than honour the invitation of ICPC to clear the allegations, Dr. Okereke went to court to challenge the powers of the Commission to invite and/or summon him for investigation on the activities of his organisation.

He also asked the court to restrain the Commission from further summoning, attempting to arrest, detain or investigate him in connection with the alleged employment scam.

The counsel of ICPC, Mr. Ezeana Sunny, filed a preliminary objection challenging the competence of the plaintiff to sue the Commission based on the grounds that “the suit is vague, speculative and academic, misconceived, bereft of live issues, diversionary, lacking merit and ought to be dismissed as an abuse of court process”.

After listening to arguments of both counsel, Justice Ademola decided the case in favour of ICPC saying the court cannot stop the Commission from performing its statutory duties.

With this decision, ICPC could continue its investigation of the allegations against NATFORCE.