FILE PHOTO: A composition showing crypto currency with the Binance logo. Picture taken on Nov. 10, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Court Dismisses Fleeing Anjarwalla’s Suit Against NSA, EFCC

June 19, 2024

A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, dismissed a fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by the fleeing Binance Holdings Ltd’s executive, Nadeem Anjarwalla, against the National Security Adviser and the Economic and Financial Crime Commiss (EFCC).

Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a ruling, dismissed the suit for lack of diligent prosecution.

When the case was called, no lawyer appeared for Anjarwalla and neither was the applicant in court.

In a short ruling, Justice Ekwo noted that on March 28 when the matter came up, Tonye Krukrubo, SAN, who appeared for Anjarwalla sought a leave to withdraw his appearance in the matter and the application was granted.

He said the matter was adjourned until today for mention, but no lawyer appeared for the applicant.

Anjarwalla, the Binance’s Africa regional manager, had filed a separate right enforcement suit alongside his colleague, Tigran Gambaryan, against NSA and EFCC seeking an order releasing them from detention.

However, Anjarwalla escaped from lawful custody on March 22 and fled to Kenya.

Anjarwalla and Gambaryan’s suits were filed before Justice Ekwo.

In the suits marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/355/24 and FHC/ABJ/CS/356/24 respectively, the duo sued the Office of NSA (ONSA) and EFCC as 1st and 2nd respondents.

They had sought same reliefs.

Anjarwalla and Gambaryan, a US citizen overseeing financial crime compliance at the crypto exchange platform, in their separate applications, sought a declaration that their detention and seizure of their international travel passport, contravened Section 35 (1) and (4) of 1999 Constitution (As Amended).

They said the act amounted to a violation of his fundamental right to personal liberty as guaranteed by the constitution, among others.

Meanwhile, Justice Ekwo fixed July 9 for hearing of Gambaryan’s suit.

The judge fixed the date after Gambaryan’s lawyer, Krukrubo, moved a motion seeking to amend their originating process.

Although EFCC’s lawyer, Olarewanju Adeola, opposed the motion, the judge held that parties, by law, were entitled to amend their processes before judgment.

“I am minded to grant this amendment,” he said.

However, Gambaryan was fined a N50, 000 cost in favour of the EFCC, having joined issues in the matter.

Justice Ekwo, who held that the fine must be paid before the next adjourned date, fixed July 9 for hearing of the preliminary objection and the substantive matter.

Credit: NAN