A coalition of civil society groups under the aegis of Civil Society Organizations in Defence of Justice have petitioned the Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa to flush out personnel who are fond of abusing court orders, saying the commission should be seen as obeying the rule of law and not perverting justice.
The group also call out First bank Ltd over its refusal to honor the court judgement directing the bank to allow access to the funds of Eleme Petrochemical Co-operative and credit society
Convener of the Coalition, Comrade Sam Adah gave the charge on Friday in Abuja at a media interface.
He cited the plight of some members of the Eleme Petrochemical Cooperative and Credit Society in Rivers State who he said have been seeking justice over issues regarding equity shares in the company.
He said; “On February 26, 2009, the federal government through the National Council on Privatization had approved the sale of 10% of its equity shares in Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals Ltd, Port Harcourt, Rivers State to the host community and interested staff of Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals Ltd. The 10% equity shares was shared as 7.5% was allotted to the host community while the remaining 2.5% was allotted to the Staff of Indoroma Eleme Petrochemicals.
“Interested Staff came together under Eleme petrochemical co-operatives in compliance to the federal government directive that a special purpose vehicle be formed where all members will belong to enable them buy the shares.
“In 2013, 10 staffs who initially subscribed to the purchase of the 2.5 equity shares had their jobs terminated from the employment of Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals.
“This led to the beginning of a legal battle as to whether the laid off staff can continue to enjoy the dividends since they were not longer staff in the company.
“When the shareholding became an issue the laid off staff approached the River State Ministry of Commerce and Industry to arbitrate between it and the cooperative, the Ministry gave an Arbitral Award in favour of the laid off staff and consequently the exited staffs of the co-operative approached the federal high court to enforce the arbitral award and as required by law it was granted and the award became a judgment of the Federal High Court.
“The judgement affirmed the laid off staffs as the authentic owners of the shares. It is off important to note that this judgement has not been appealed to this day.
“This act continued until Justice Taiwo .O.Taiwo of the Federal High Court in Suit FHC/ABJ/SC/1222/2020 granted an Order stopping the EFCC from arresting, inviting, detaining and prosecuting or inquiring into the acquisition of shares of Indorama Petrochemicals
“EFCC went behind to get an interim order from another high court of coordinate jurisdiction to temporarily freeze the account of the co-operative”.
The activists asked Mr Bawa to revisit the case and “make sure that certain elements in the agency promoting abuse of court orders are arrested and dealt with accordingly”.
While also threatening court action against First bank Ltd.