By Henry Umoru
ABUJA- THE Senate yesterday, took a swipe at the management of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC over the arrest of the Managing Director of Innoson Motors Limited, Innocent Chukwuma last year December, saying that the anti- graft body must be more cautious in its operations, especially on matters that are largely civil and not criminal in nature .
The EFCC came under serious attack yesterday during an investigative hearing on the matter organized by the Senator Chukwuka Utazi, PDP, Enugu North led Committee on Anti- Corruption and Financial Crimes.
Members of the Committee at the hearing yesterday, however expressed surprise on why the anti graft body should allow itself to be drafted into what they described as mere financial transaction between two corporate bodies to the point of effecting arrest without warrant .
Commenting on the matter, a member of the Committee, Senator Dino Melaye, APC, Kogi West after asking the EFCC’s Director of Legal Services , Mr Chile Okoroma whether the arrest was carried out with a warrant or not, said that it was wrong for EFCC to have carried out such an arrest without a warrant .
According to Melaye, since the substantive matter involving the three parties was already in court, the committee has no interest of going into that, but was however worried on human rights violation perpetrated against the Innoson boss by the EFCC during the arrest.
It will be recalled that the Innoson MD was on the 19th of December last year forcefully arrested from his residence in Enugu and whisked to Lagos for interrogation over alleged financial fraud against Guaranty Trust Bank .
Speaking further, Senator Melaye said, “The Senate by its extant rules and laws of the land will never dabble into matters already in court but would never allowed any government agency or person in power use the instrumentality of office to trample on other peoples rights.
“Based on question thrown to the EFCC man here as regards whether warrant of arrest was issued before the forceful arrest of Innoson boss last year or not to which he failed to give categorical answer, shows that the anti graft agency did not follow the laid down procedure in carrying out such an arrest .
“Acts such as these are not good for a country yearning for influx of foreign investors and must be stopped.”
In his remarks, Chairman of the committee, Senator Chukwuka Utazi ( PDP Enugu North) who shared the same view with senator Melaye, however, advised the anti graft body to be more cautious in its operations, especially on matters that are largely civil and not criminal in nature .
Earlier, the legal counsel of Innoson, Professor McCarthy Mbadiugha however, alleged that it was GTB that was owing Innoson to the tune of N20billion now and not Innoson that owes it N600million as alleged from loan of N2.4 billion collected in 2011.
Also in his submission, The GTB lawyer , Adebowale Kamoru noted that since all matters relating to the banks transaction with Innoson and involvement of the EFCC were being litigated upon in the court of law, the bank will not make any submission.