CSO Accuses EFCC Of Violating Law Over Indorama Petrochemical Cooperative  


BY KUNLE AWONIYI, ABUJA – A Civil Society Organization has called on the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa to revisit the case of Eleme Petrochemical Cooperative and Credit Society of INDORAMA petrochemical in rivers state.

The convener of the civil society, Mr Sam Adah told journalist that following the Federal Government privatization which approved the sale of ten percent of its equity shares in INDORAMA Eleme Petrochemicals ltd, Port Harcourt, Rivers State to the host community and interested staff of the company, the EFCC has refused to allow due process in spite of a Federal Court ruling on the matter.

Adah said the ten percent equity shares was shared with 7.5% allotted to the host community while the remaining 2.5% was allotted to the staff of Inforoma Eleme Petrochemicals.

He said that interested staff came together under the Eleme Petrochemicals Cooperatives in compliance with the Federal Government directive that a special purpose vehicle be formed where all members will belong to enable them buy the shares.

He also said that in 2013, ten staff who initially subscribed to the purchase of the 2.5% equity shares had their jobs terminated from the employment of Indoroma Eleme Petrochemicals.

According to him; “When the shareholding became an issue, the laid off staff approached the Rivers State Ministry of Commerce and Industry to arbitrate between it and the cooperative. The ministry gave an arbitral Award in favor of the laid off staff and consequently the exited staff of the cooperative approached the Federal High Court to enforce the arbitral award as required by law. It was granted and the award became a judgement of the Federal High Court.

“The judgement affirmed the laid off staff as the authentic owners of the shares and it is of importance to note that the judgement has not been appealed to this day,” he said.

The convener noted that the EFCC started investigation on the ownership of the shares of the cooperative after the case was concluded at the Federal High Court, adding that no any higher court has yet set aside the judgement.

Adah said the EFCC claimed that fraud was committed in the process of acquiring the 2.5% shares after the High Court has confirmed due process and rightful owners, stressing that the EFCC has since then continued to intimidate the officials of the cooperatives.

He also said that instead, the EFCC went behind to get an interim order from another high court of coordinate jurisdiction to temporarily freeze the account of the cooperative.

Adah said that the EFCC mislead justice N.E. MAHA by refusing to disclose to the court of the case against them already before justice TAIWO. O. TAIWO, adding that the judgement lifting the restriction on the cooperative account number with First Bank has remained as all cheques by the Cooperative are not being honoured.

He therefor said; “In the light of this details, we are making the following demand for the members of Eleme Petrochemical Cooperative and credit society.

“That the new chairman of EFCC, Abdulradheed Bawa revisit the case and make sure that certain elements in the agency promoting abuse of court orders be arrested and dealt with accordingly.

“That the EFCC should also raise to its mandate and responsibility and desist from been used by influential and powerful Nigerians to intimidate poor Nigerians.

“The EFCC must also desist from the act of trying to pervert the course of justice and must be seen to respect all court orders.

“That First Bank without further delay honour the order of the court and grant access to the funds in its custody. First bank must realise that this very act has cost many loss to the members of the cooperative especially the deceased ones whose widows’ only livelihood depends on the funds in their custody.

“If the impunity continues, we will have no option than to commence legal actions against First Bank,” Adah warned.

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