Court Awards N10m Against EFCC, Arthur Eze Over Illegal Detention of Olisa Eze

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Abuja High Court presided over by Hon. Justice S. B. Belgore has awarded Ten Million naira (N10, 000,000) against EFCC and Prince Arthur Eze “jointly and severally for flagrant and oppressive contravention of Prince Olisa Eze’s fundamental human rights”.

Delivering his judgment on June 23, 2021, Justice Belgore based his verdict on “An Originating Motion number M/1289/2020, dated 9/12/20,” which was filed on the same day by Prince Olisa Okwuchukwu Eze and Mrs. Amarachi Chinonso Eze (applicants), suing Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, and Prince (Engr) Arthur Eze (Respondents) for violation of their fundamental human rights.

Also in his judgment, Justice Belgore ordered EFCC to unfreeze the bank accounts of Prince Olisa Eze with Ecobank, Fidelity Bank Ltd and Guaranty Trust Bank Plc. In the same way, the court grants “an order of injunction restraining both EFCC and Prince Arthur Eze from deploying the anti-grafts agency to infringe, howsoever, on the fundamental human rights Olisa Eze to “fair hearing, freedom of movement, right to privacy/family, right to personal liberty and freedom from compulsory acquisition of property on the account of Prince Arthur Eze’s fabled suspicion of misappropriation of funds.”

Similarly, Justice Belgore gave an order “compelling both EFCC and Prince Arthur Eze to immediately release to Olisa Eze his International Passport and personal chantel, including phones, laptops and jewelries”. 

Lastly, the court awarded the “Sum of N10,000,000 (Ten Million Naira) against EFCC and Prince Arthur Eze jointly and severally being exemplary damages for flagrant and oppressive contravention of fundamental human rights of Mrs. Amarachi Chinonso Eze, Prince Olisa Eze’s wife.

As it will be recalled, Prince Arthur Eze has been embroiled in a battle with two sons of Alfred Eze, his late brother, Princes Olisaebuka Eze and Onyeka Eze. They were arrested by the officials of the EFCC on Wednesday November, 11, 2020 as a result of a personal letter written by Price Arthur Eze to Mr. Mohammed Umar, then Acting EFCC Chairman of the Anti-graft body on November 6, 2020. 

In the letter, Arthur Eze alleged breach of trust by his nephews against him and his company finances. Based on this, they were illegally in the EFCC custody for months on trumped up charges of embezzlement which were yet to be proven in any court of law anywhere in Nigeria till date.

In another development, Prince Onyeka Nnadozie Eze, younger brother of Olisa, is currently seeking one billion naira (N1, 000,000,000) against EFCC and Prince Arthur Eze also as exemplary damages for flagrant and oppressive contravention of his fundamental human rights through his lawyer, Mr. A.B Anachabe, SAN. 

His lawyers were in the court in Abuja last Thursday to seek compensation from the anti-graft commission and his uncle, Prince Arthur Eze, through the Abuja High Court. Apart from his prayer for the award of one billion naira against EFCC and Arthur Eze, he also sought the unfreezing of his accounts with Ecobank Nig. Ltd., Fidelity Bank Ltd., Keystone Bank, Access Bank, UBA and Guaranty Trust Bank.

Lastly and among other things, Prince Onyeka Eze prayed for an Order compelling EFCC to immediately release his International Passport, personal chattel including title Deeds and phones namely Samsung phone and iPhone. Obviously, Onyeka’s court proceedings and ultimate judgment has been affected by the 64-day Industrial Action by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria-JUSUN

As it will be recalled, Prince Arthur Eze has been embroiled in a battle with two sons of Alfred Eze, his late younger brother, Princes Olisaebuka Eze and Onyeka Eze. They were arrested by officials of the EFCC on Wednesday, November 11, 2020, as a result of a personal letter written by Price Arthur Eze to Mr Mohammed Umar, then Acting EFCC Chairman of the Anti-graft body on November 6, 2020. 

In the letter, Arthur Eze alleged a breach of trust by his nephews against him and his company finances. Based on this, they were illegally clamped into the EFCC custody for months on trumped-up charges of embezzlement which were yet to be proven in any court of law anywhere in Nigeria to date.

Meanwhile, due to interventions by many people close to the family, Prince Arthur Eze is quoted to have given four conditions for peace to reign again between him and his late younger brother’s sons. These conditions, which according to close associates of younger Ezes, were allegedly instigated by one Lucy Amaka Oraka, (Nee Igu) supposedly Arthur Eze’s girlfriend and the woman alleged to be behind the crisis that has engulfed the Eze family of Ukpo in Anambra State, including the following:

  1. Unreserved public apology from Prince Olisa Eze and his brother, Prince Onyeka Eze, before a capacity crowd at the Palace where Arthur Eze’s elder brother is the king in their Ukpo town in Anambra State just like in December 2020 when a huge crowd came to the place in solidarity with the nephews of Arthur Eze. 
  2. That the public apology demanded above shall be recorded and broadcast using the same medium of social and electronic media deployed by Prince Olisa Eze and his brother, Prince Onyeka Eze, to report the news of their unjust incarceration by EFCC at the prompting of Arthur Eze on yet to be proven trumped-up allegations of misappropriation of his company’s funds.
  3. That both Prince Olisa Eze and his brother, Prince Onyeka Eze, shall forfeit their properties legitimately acquired in their long years of business association with their embattled uncle, Prince Arthur Eze, and,
  4. That all the legitimately acquired monies in the accounts of Arthur Eze’s nephews, which he (Arthur Eze) has severally accused them of embezzling, but, which has not been proven in any competent court of law in Nigeria till date, should be forfeited and surrendered to him–Prince Arthur Eze.

As it seems however, it may take a longer time for peace to reign in the Eze Family of Ukpo village, Dunukofia Local Government Anambra State in spite of moves by well-meaning people to resolve the internal crisis which has practically grounded Arthur Eze’s business empire locally and continentally since last year as both Princes Olisa and Onyeka Eze constituted the engine-room of his Oranto-Atlas Oil Group and other ventures. 

Only last week, the younger Ezes surprisingly learnt about an interim forfeiture of their properties in Enugu through an advertorial placed in The Guardian, specifically on Thursday, July 8, by the EFCC, while the cases between them EFCC and Arthur Eze were still on-going in Abuja.

The puzzle in the interim forfeiture Order given by one Justice I.M Buba of the Federal High Court Enugu is that the case was never in the original charges against Princes Olisa and Onyeka Eze by EFCC which was instigated by a personal letter written by Arthur Eze to Mr. Mohammed Umar, former Acting Chairman of the anti-graft body, on November 6, 2020.

The other puzzle according to the younger Ezes is that none of the supposedly forfeited properties belongs to Arthur Eze and none of them has any link with his Oranto-Atlas Oil Group, rather, they are legitimately acquired properties by Olisa and Onyeka

Meanwhile, the two brothers have vowed to fight through legitimate means to quash what they termed “Veiled Kangaroo Order” by Justice I.M Buba.

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