The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has awarded the sum of N10 million against the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC as general damages for malicious prosecution of a Director of Finance and Administration of Police Service Commission, Emmanuel Ibe.
The judgement was given by Justice Inyang Ekwo on Wednesday.
ICPC had in 2015 charged Ibe to court on 9-count charge claiming that he had fraudulently paid some selected staff of the PSC N11.8 million as airport, taxi allowance that never happened.
The case lasted for about three years but the High Court of Justice in Abuja had in 2019 discharged and acquitted Ibe on all the counts.
Ibe, through his lawyer, Tamuno Ekundayo, had in suit no: FHC/ABJ/CS/379/2019, urged the court to award N500m against ICPC for taking him to court out of malice.
Ibe’s case was that some members of staff who were not happy with his promotion as Finance Admin “resorted to aggressive, bitter and acrimonious campaign of calumny against him(plaintiff), employing faceless and fictitious persons to author negative publications and press releases against him.”
ICPC, without due diligence on those reported allegations, was said to have arraigned Ibe, prosecuted him in court and gave its prosecution of Ibe wide publicity through newspaper publications and press interviews, but for the high court verdict which later found he committed no offense in that regard.
In his judgement, Ekwo held that a 2015 petition by a staff of PSC had alleged acts of corruption to swindle the commission to the tune of N275,525,000, leading the ICPC to carry out a probe on the matter.
Ekwo further observed that Ibe was not named in the petition and that the ICPC, in its investigation, “did not indict or make any reference to the plaintiff” but “they hurriedly charged the plantiff” without any fresh probe or report.
The judge noted that the plaintiff lost his promotion to the post of permanent secretary because of the act of the ICPC.
He said the ICPC “acted beyond the scope of its statutory duty when it filed a charge against the plaintiff and proceeded to put him through three years of prosecution which ended in his discharge and acquittal at the conclusion of the proceedings.”
The judge added: “I find that the case of the plaintiff succeeds on merit, and I so hold.
“I make an order awarding the sum of N10 million against the defendant(ICPC) as general damages for malicious prosecution of the plaintiff.”