Home Columnist Court fines Keyamo N10 million for filing ‘frivolous’ suit against Atiku

Court fines Keyamo N10 million for filing ‘frivolous’ suit against Atiku

Court fines Keyamo N10 million for filing ‘frivolous’ suit against Atiku

The Federal High Court in Abuja, on Monday, dismissed the suit filed by Festus Keyamo, a former minister of state for Labour and Productivity, against the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the last presidential election, Atiku Abubakar.

Mr Keyamo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), had sought Atiku’s arrest and prosecution by Nigeria’s anti-corruption agencies for alleged corruption.

The former minister, who served as a spokesperson for the presidential campaign organisation of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), had filed the suit in the build-up to the 25 February election.

But the judge, James Omotosho, dismissed the suit at the preliminary stage for being frivolous, and awarded a total of N10 million against Mr Keyamo on Monday.

The judge ordered Mr Keyamo to pay N5 million to each of Atiku and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC).

The court also added a 10 per cent interest rate per annum until full liquidation of same.

The judge dismissed Mr Keyamo’ suit after upholding the preliminary objection filed against the suit by Atiku’s lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, also a SAN, and ICPC’s lawyer, Oluwakemi Odogun.

He ruled that the suit was frivolous, vexatious and constituted an abuse of court process.

Mr Keyamo had in the suit through his counsel, Festus Ukpe, sought an order of the court to compel the Code Of Conduct Bureau (CCB), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and ICPC to invite or arrest Atiku, Nigeria’s former vice president.

He asked the court to order the agencies to investigate and prosecute Atiku based on the claims contained in an affidavit deposed to by one Michael Achimugu, alleging that Atiku used a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to corruptly enrich himself while he was Vice President of Nigeria.

In response to the suit, Atiku, through his counsel Mr Ozekhome, raised a preliminary objection to the suit, contending that Mr Keyamo lacked the basis to institute the said suit, having failed to disclose what he suffered over and beyond other members of the public.

Mr Ozekhome further contended in his written brief that Mr Keyamo did not disclose any wrong done to him by Atiku or what damage he had suffered. He described the former minister as a busybody and meddlesome interloper, as the entire suit disclosed no reasonable cause of action whatsoever.

Arguing the matter before the judge, Benson Igbanoi, a lawyer from Mr Ozekhome’s law firm, also argued that the suit constituted a gross abuse of office, the plaintiff being a public officer occupying a public office and using public funds to file and prosecute same.

He further contended that the suit was instituted in bad faith; frivolous; vexatious and therefore a waste of judicial time.


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