Management of Sun Publishing Limited, publishers of Daily Sun newspaper, has reacted to the sealing of its Lagos office by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Armed policemen and officials of the EFCC had on Saturday stormed the office located at 2, Coscharis street, Kikikiri Industrial Layout, Apapa, Lagos, marking the building “EFCC, keep off”.
The EFCC had in a statement issued after the operation, attributed their actions to the recent judgement delivered against Slok Nigeria Limited by the Lagos state High Court.
But reacting in a statement sent to media in Abuja, the Sun Publishing said its newspaper was not a party to the case of EFCC vs. Orji Kalu & 2 others, wondering why its premises should then be marked.
It, however, said that Slok and Senator Orji Kalu had filed an appeal against the High Court judgement and a hearing date given, wondering why the EFCC would not wait until the matter has been dispensed with at the Supreme Court.
The Sun insisted that it is a corporate limited liability company and its shares owned by various individuals distinct from Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, saying the court judgement should therefore not bind on them.
The Newspaper, therefore, called on the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to urgently intervene in the matter and advise the EFCC appropriately on the legal consequences of its actions.
“EFCC VISIT TO THE SUN OFFICE WITH ARMED POLICEMEN: OUR STAND
“Three officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with four heavily armed policemen on Saturday, December 15, 2019 at about 10.00 am arrived the corporate headquarters of The Sun Publishing Limited at 2, Coscharis Street, Kirikiri Industrial Layout, Apapa, Lagos and put up a notice for staff and the general public to keep off the premises. The EFCC officials, who came in a white Toyota bus with registration number, ABUJA BWR-644GA, wrote on The Sun’s fence, “EFCC, keep off.” They also advised our staff to collect their personal belongings from the office as they will come back to seal the premises completely.
“We do not understand the legal basis for this EFCC action. It is on record that there is a pending appeal at the Supreme Court with Suit No: SC/546/2018 wherein The Sun Publishing Limited appealed against the Judgement delivered by the Court of Appeal on the interim forfeiture order made against it by a Federal High Court in 2007 based on ex parte proceeding. The Notice of Appeal and Motion for Stay of Execution were duly served on EFCC by the bailiffs of the Court.
“It is also pertinent to state that EFCC vide a letter written by Counsel to The Sun Publishing Limited, dated 22nd May, 2018 and duly received by one Caleb Peter on behalf of Rotimi Jacobs & Co. was further put on notice of the pending appeal at the Supreme Court and advised to stay action in the matter pending the hearing of the Motion for Stay of execution and the appeal.
“Again, it is instructive to state that The Sun Publishing Limited was not a party to the case of EFCC vs. Orji Uzor Kalu & 2 Others, so we do not see why the Judgment in that case should lead to attempt to seal The Sun Publishing Limited premises.
“Further more, we are aware that both Senator Orji Uzor Kalu and Slok Nig Limited have since appealed the Judgment delivered by Justice Mohammed Idris and a hearing date given.
“We wish to reiterate that The Sun Publishing Limited is an ongoing corporate limited liability company and its shares are owned by various individuals distinct from Senator Orji Uzor Kalu. Therefore, the recent Judgment against Senator Orji Uzor Kalu should not be used to disturb the operations of the company and the proprietary rights of its innocent shareholders until the matters are dispensed with at the Supreme Court.
“In view of the foregoing, we call and appeal to the Attorney General of the Federation and the Minister of Justice to urgently intervene and advise EFCC appropriately on the legal consequences of its actions.”