By Ise-Oluwa Ige
ABUJAâ€“ The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN last night, kept sealed lips over the suit filed by former Managing Director of Oceanic Bank, Mrs Cecilia Ibru who at the weekend dragged the CBN and its governor, Mr Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, before a Federal High Court in Abuja over her removal from office.
Vanguard was reliably told last night that, â€œthe legal department of the bank is yet to receive the summons at the weekend but it is certain that anytime it comes it will be given the desired attention.â€
She demanded N50 billion for exemplary, punitive, aggravated and general damages.
Although, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) claims the former boss of Oceanic Bank was not in its custody, prominent lawyers including an Abuja based legal practitioner, Chief Emeka Ngige (SAN) and an Ibadan-based member of the inner bar, Chief Adeniyi Akintola (SAN) yesterday cautioned both the CBN and the EFCC over the arrest of Managing Directors of five banks for allegedly mismanaging the banksâ€™ funds.
The lawyers who though agreed that there is nothing wrong in arresting anybody suspected to have committed any crime, said their grouses had to do with the way both CBN and EFCC were going about the issue.
According to Chief Emeka Ngige (SAN), the arrest of the banksâ€™ MDs â€œis not out of place because criminality is involved.
â€œBut the only stage where it becomes wrong and wrongful is where you donâ€™t grant them bail
â€œI must admit that the arrest is in accordance with our criminal law and constitution. But if they are arrested, they should be charged to court.
â€œI do not share in the view that they should be detained more than the time allowed by law before they are taken to law court.â€
But ChiefÂ Akintola carpeted the CBN and the EFCC.
Hear him: â€œI am not saying what I want to say because I represent one of the affected persons but I must say that the operation of the Nigerian security agencies and the CBN leaves much to be desired.
â€œFor EFCC, theyÂ tend to operate more on the pages of newspapers than getting involved in forensic investigation. It is more of motion without movement
â€œTheir counterparts abroad investigate alleged criminals for years without those being investigated knowing. But the reverse is the case here.
â€œInstead of investigating crimes, they would have done all the prosecution on the pages of newspapers.
â€œThey are not a serious body. If you are talking about arresting, must you talk that on the pages of newspapers.
â€œBut all they do here is to blow off steam. Ten months before arrest, they are already shouting of what they intend to do. And those to be arrested will try to cover their tracks or flee.
â€œAnd when those arrested are eventually taken to court, nothing will come out.
â€œAnother thing is that if you arrest, you charge the accused to court within 24 hours
â€œI read in the papers that they got an order from a magistrate court to remand those in their nets indefinitelyÂ to finish with their investigation. I donâ€™t know the magistrate that will grant such order.
â€œBesides, they are saying they are going to prosecute debtors of the banks involved as if it is a crime to borrow money from the bank.
â€œWhy must you criminalise those who borrowed monies from the bank. â€˜My fear is that very soon, they will have many lawsuits in their hands.
â€œFor instance, they did not get the consent of the shareholders of the banksÂ before they are doing what they are doing. This is against sections 33 and 35 of BOFA.â€