A Federal High Court Judge, Hon. Justice A.R Mohammed has ruled against ruled against the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) over the publication in PUNCH Newspaper of 28th December 2017, declaring a former member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Onamusi Onadeko wanted over a N68.7million contract scam allegation.
Onamusi was docked on an 18-count criminal the ICPC preferred against him.
The ICPC, among other things, alleged that Onamusi used his private company, Haines and Baines, to execute several contracts for the National Assembly while he was working as a Senior Legislative Aide.
But Onamusi in Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/43/2018 at a Federal High Court in Abuja, sought the leave of the Justice A.R Mohammed’s court for relief of declaration that as “a Senior Legislative Aide to the 3rd defendant, Senator Buruji Kashamu” he was not a “Public Officer” within the meaning of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) as to subject him to the Code of Conduct for Public Officers.
“That the 1st plaintiff, Hon. Onamusi Onadeko, not being a Public Officer is not prohibited by law from holding interest in Stanton Engineering Limited and Hianes & Baines Limited, the 2nd and 3rd plaintiffs (being private Limited Liability Companies).
“That the award and execution of contracts with the Border Communities Development Agency in due compliance to the extant laws, the 2nd and 3rd plaintiff respectively does not amount to fraud within the provision of the Corrupt Practice and other Related Offences Act 2000 capable of being investigated by the 1st defendant.
“That it is not within the stationary powers of the 1st defendant (ICPC) to investigate the 1st plaintiff not being a public Officer on a purported allegation of fraud”.
“And that the publication and declaration of the 1st plaintiff, Hon. Onamusi Onadeko as “wanted for fraud” by the 1st defendant (Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission) in a newspaper publication without any formal letter of invitation or summons to the 1st plaintiff by the 1st defendant in gross violation of Section 29,30, and 31 of the Corrupt Practice and other Related Offences Act 2000 is unlawful, null and void and in contravention of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.”
Justice A.R Mohammed in his ruling declared that the 1st plaintiff (Onamusi Onadeko) “is not an employee of the National Assembly Service Commission and is therefore not a public Officer for the purpose of the Code of Conduct for public officers mentioned in Part II fifth schedule of the 1999 Constitution and consequently resolved in favour of the plaintiffs.”
Justice A.R Mohammed also ruled that, Onamusi, “not being a Public Officer is not prohibited by law from holding interest in the 2nd and 3rd plaintiffs being private Limited Liability Companies.”
“And that the 1st defendant ought to have issued invitation or summons to the 1st plaintiff before declaring him wanted in accordance with the ICPC Act. That the declaration of the 1st Plaintiff as wanted for fraud in the said publication leaves much to be desired and is accordingly hereby declared null and void”.