Forfeiture: Sun Newspaper appeals to AGF
The management of the Sun Publishing Limited on Saturday appealed to the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Minister of Justice to stop the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from sealing the company’s corporate headquarters.
It will be recalled that EFCC officials marked the company’s headquarters for seizure, on Saturday, in compliance with the court ruling.
The Sun’s appeal is contained in a statement issued by the management of the media outfit titled: ‘EFCC visit to The Sun office with armed policemen: Our Stand’ and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN ) on Saturday.
The media organisation said the AGF should advise the EFCC appropriately on the legal consequences of such an action if implemented.
It said that the appeal became necessary following the visit by three officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with four heavily armed policemen on Saturday, December 15, 2019 at about 10.00 a.m. to its corporate headquarters in Lagos.
“They arrived the corporate headquarters of The Sun Publishing Limited at 2, Coscharis Street, Kirikiri Industrial Layout, Apapa, Lagos and put up a notice for the 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,” the statement stated.
The management of the media outfit stated in the statement that they did not understand the legal basis for the EFCC’s 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 May 22, 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.
“It was also advised to stay action in the matter pending the hearing of the Motion for Stay of execution and the appeal,” the statement said.
The management of the Sun Publishing Limited also said, “it is instructive to state that The Sun Publishing Limited is 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.”
The publishing company said that it was aware that both Orji Kalu, a senator recently jailed for fraud, and Slok Nig. Limited had 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 Sen. Orji Uzor Kalu.
“Therefore, the recent Judgment against Sen. 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,” the statement stated.
Earlier, the EFCC released a statement justifying its action. The agency said it was simply implementing the ruling of the court that properties belonging to Slok, Mr Kalu’s company, be forfeited to the federal government.