By Yakubu Ahmed
Akwa Ibom State High Court, Thursday, ordered the release of Ubong Williams, a businessman held by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
Mr. Williams, a consultant with Akwa Ibom State Government was arrested by the ICPC in a similar petition he is currently in court with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
ICPC operatives led by the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner, Shola Shodipo, had picked up Mr. Williams from his office on Thursday, March 18 and took him to Abuja where he was detained for two weeks without trial.
But in an ex-parte motion filed on behalf of Mr. Williams by his lawyer, Andem Andem in Suit Number: HU/FHR.67/2021, the applicant prayed the court to hold that the action of the anti-graft agency violated his fundamental rights.
In the suit, the ICPC, its Director of Operations, Akem Lawal and the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner, Shola Shodipo are listed as first, second and third respondents, respectively.
While kicking against the prolonged detention of his client, Mr. Andem argued that the anti-graft agency had failed to inform Mr. Williams of the particular offence for which he was arrested.
Mr. Andem also held that keeping his client in custody without charging him to court is unconstitutional and a breach of the applicant’s fundamental rights.
But ruling on the application, the presiding Judge, Nsemeke Daniel ordered that “the applicant, Ubong Williams shall be released forthwith from detention pending the determination of his application for enforcement of fundamental rights in this court.”
Justice Daniel, however, adjourned the case till April, 28, 2021 for Motion on Notice.
The court order has since been served on the ICPC headquarters by Abdulrahaman Momoh, a court bailiff in Abuja.
Equally, the Akwa Ibom State office of the commission has also been served with the order.
Meanwhile, Mr. Williams had dragged the EFCC to court on allegation that the anti-graft agency was using intimidation to try to extort money from him.
The case with suit Number: HC/FHR/197/2020 is currently before Justice Charles Ikpe of the Akwa Ibom State High Court No 3.
The respondents include the EFCC, its Uyo Zonal Head, Edeh Uchenna and the Case Officer, Segun Richard.