Judge Orders DSS To Produce Ifeayi Ubah In Court On Friday

 Justice Muhammed Idris has ordered the Department of State Security (DSS) to produce Patrick Ifeayi Ubah, a businessman and Managing Director of Capital Oil and Gas Limited, at the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Friday, May 12, 2017, to show why he (Ubah) should not be released unconditionally.

The judge gave the ruling in favour of the ex-parte application, filed by the Mr. Ubah’s counsel, Mrs. Ifeoma Esom, to compel the release of Ubah from the DSS’s custody where he had been since Saturday, May 6, 2017.

According to the affidavit deposed to by George Oranuba, the secretary of Capital Oil and Gas Limited, it claimed that DSS acted in disregard for the “the constitutional doctrine of separation of power and sanctity of the judicial process”.

The court document claimed that Ubah’s arrest was in respect of the allegations made by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), which are already encumbered by a lawsuit.

“Notwithstanding the pendency of this suit and the service of the originating process as aforesaid the 3rd (EFCC) and 4th (DG, DSS) respondents again invited the 1st applicant to report to their offices in respect of the same allegations made by the 7th (NNPC) to 9th (AMCON) respondents which is the subject matter of the instant suit” the document claimed.

Mrs. Esom argued that unless the court orders the applicant to be produce in court within 48hrs, EFCC and DSS will continue to keep him in their custody where they may “coerce him into acceding to whatever conditions they impose on him in exchange for his freedom”.

Meanwhile, the court document acknowledged that the controversial businessman was detained from March 24 to April 14, 2017, a report that Dr. Ubah had earlier denied, claiming it was mere fabrication.

Upon the arrest of Mr. Ubah, DSS claimed that he was arrested over “economic sabotage” and diversion of petroleum product at the tune of N11 billion. 

It was reported that petroleum products, belonging to NNPC Retail, stored in the Capital Oil farm in Lagos under a throughput agreement, went missing under controversial circumstances.
However, his company secretary, said the throughput agreement allows “conversion and diversion of IT products by “operators” so long as the operator is prepared to re-deliver the products within 7 days of demand by the products owner or to pay a penalty for non-re-delivery”.

He went further to explain that failure to re-deliver is a “mere” breach of contract, remediable by the payment of penalty to the owner, adding that there can be no issue of crime in conversion or diversion of product, and does not call for the intervention of any law enforcement agency.

“The Throughput agreement expressly states that any penalty due for non-re-delivery is to be treated as a debt and I verily believe that law enforcement agencies are not allowed to operate as debt collectors” Capitol Secretary and Legal adviser deposed.

Mr. Oranuba also said NNPC is indebted to Capitol Oil and Gas Limited in sum in “excess of 13 Billion Naira”, yet the company did not call law enforcement agencies to collect the debt, despite the length of time NNPC has held on to the money.

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