Chairman of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Ibrahim Lamorde, yesterday sued a national newspaper for N1 billion over an alleged defamatory story the organisation wrote against him.
The chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, has dragged a national newspaper to a Federal High Court in Abuja for allegedly publishing a false report that stated that he is being investigates for an alleged N1trillion fraud.
Lamorde instituted the case at the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja through Festus Keyamo, his counsel.
In a statement of claim filed by Keyamo, the plaintiff is claiming the sum of N1 billion “being damages for the words published of and concerning the plaintiff which are libellous by direct reference and innuendoes contained at the front page and page 6 of the newspaper which was carried on the 8th October, 2015 titled ‘N1TRN LOOTED FUNDS: LAMORDE, EFCC BOSS, IN SOUP’ and further elaborated upon at page 6 of the said publication.”
The plaintiff also demands a retraction of the story and an unreserved apology by the defendant for the publication to be published with the same bold print and on the same front page as the headline complained of.
The plaintiff is further seeking an order of perpetual injunction restraining the newspaper organisation, agents, privies or servants from further “publishing any libellous, injurious or defamatory words against the plaintiff.”
Lamorde, a Commissioner of Police, denied that he was being investigated as claimed by the newspaper story, insisting further that the story was false.
The story was that Lamorde was “being investigated over allegations of diversion of over N1 trillion from the sale of confiscated properties belonging to convicted public officials including former governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alamieyesiegha (now diseased) and former Inspector General of Police, Tafa Balogun, among many others.” According to Keyamo ,the story further said the Presidency’s searchlight had actually been on the EFCC following complaints and reports that EFCC operatives were notoriously letting some financial crimes suspects off the hook rather than prosecuting them and that the decision to investigate Lamorde followed a petition by George Uboh, Chief Executive Officer of Panic Alert Security Systems, a security firm, who had appeared before the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions on 23 August.
The statement of claim said with the story, the plaintiff had been regarded as a fraudulent and corrupt civil servant who engages in diversion of monies belonging to the government and encourages his Operatives to collect bribes from suspects or that he is a hypocrite whose fraudulent activities date back to 2003 when he was Director of Operations of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
– Chris Uba