The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Lamorde, was on Tuesday, found guilty of contempt by an Abuja High Court.
He was however given a two weeks’ grace within which to purge himself of the contempt, failure of which he would be remanded in prison .
Precisely, the presiding judge, Justice Peter Kekemeke, asked the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, to arrest Lamorde and an EFCC operative, Friday Ebelo, and send them to prison if they fail to apologise to a lawyer whose rights were violated by the commission within two weeks.
The court had on March 8 and December 5 of 2012 ordered Lamorde to release the Call-to-Bar certificate of Mr. Innocent Onwu, apologise to him through a national newspaper and pay him the sum of N50, 000 compensation.
Onwu, an Abuja-based lawyer filed fundamental rights enforcement proceedings on October 31, 2011 after he was detained by the EFCC between June 27 and July 1, 2011 without order of court following a petition by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) accusing him of fraud in a case he was investigating for a client.
He had also demanded N300 million as compensation for the unlawful search of his house and office and the trauma he suffered in the hands of the EFCC.
The lawyer claimed that his then ailing mother was admitted at the Garki General Hospital on the day he was first invited. He further said the EFCC failed to release him to attend to the woman after she died three days later.
However, the court, on June 4 and June 24, dismissed two applications by EFCC counsel, James Onu, seeking to vacate the contempt proceedings and for stay of proceedings respectively.