ICPC desperate to create any conceivable crime against me, UNICAL professor tells court

ICPC desperate to create any conceivable crime against me, UNICAL professor tells court
February 23 14:01 2024 Print This Article

Prof. Cyril Ndifon, the suspended Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Calabar (UNICAL), says the ICPC is desperate to create or search for any conceivable crime to nail him.Prof. Ndifon told Justice James Omotosho of a Federal High Court, Abuja in a no-case submission filed by his lawyer, Joe Agi, SAN, against the ICPC’s amended four-count charge preferred against him and his lawyer, Mr Sunny Anyanwu.

The suspended dean told the court that contrary to the anti-corruption commission’s allegations, the evidence before the court showed that WhatsApp messages between the ICPC’s witness, a female diploma student, identified as TKJ, and him were that of “emotional feelings between two lovers and did not in any way put either of the party under fear.”

He argued that there was incontrovertible evidence that he was arrested and investigated on an alleged offence, currently being prosecuted by the commission, in the year 2015 when he later proved to the ICPC that he had been cleared of the allegations by the police.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ndifon was, on Jan. 25, re-arraigned alongside Anyanwu on an amended four-count charge bordering on alleged sexual harassment and attempt to perverse the cause of justice.

Anyanwu, who is one of the lawyers in the defence, was joined in the amended charge filed on Jan. 22 by the ICPC on allegation that he called TKJ, the star witness, on her mobile telephone during the pendency of the charge against Ndifon to threatened her.

ICPC had, on Feb. 14, closed it case after calling four witnesses.

Counsel for the commission, Osuobeni Akponimisingha, had earlier informed the court that the anti-corruption commission had about seven witnesses and also planned to amend the charge to increase the witness number in proving their case against the defendants.

But in the last adjourned date, the commission announced the closure of its case and the defendants told the court if their plan to opt for a no-case submission.

The duo, through their lawyer, said there was no evidence adduced by the prosecution on which the court could convict them.

Meanwhile in the no-case submission dated and filed Feb. 19 on behalf of Ndifon and Anyanwu but sighted on Friday by NAN, Agi argued that the “unwholesome and illegal intrusion” into the professor’s phone by the ICPC had put before the whole world what TKJ and Ndifon intended to make a personal and private communication.

He said the act had injured and negatively impacted their (TKJ and Ndifon’s) characters and persons.

“The commission who at this time was desperate to create, search for any conceivable crime seized the telephone of the 1st defendant (Ndifon), who was under their custody and without obtaining an order of the court as required by Section 45 of the Cybercrime Act,” he said

The senior lawyer further argued that the ICPC action was also in breach of Ndifon’s fundamental right as guaranteed by Section 37 of the 1999 Constitution by breaking into his phone and started going through his phone in search for an offence and without respect to his right to privacy.

“Then on seeing nude and pornographic pictures in the 1st defendant’s phone jumped at the Cybercrime Act to investigate the so-called offence of cyberstalking.

“This is not only exposing them as an ungovernable monster but like a knight—errant that goes about looking for skirmishes and battles all over the mace.

“My Lord if this is allowed to stand then we are all in trouble and this cannot be the intention of the lawmakers or the law,” he said.

Agi equally argued that during cross examination of the 1st prosecution witness (PW1), Ogechi Chima, an ICPC investigator, she admitted that though they received several oral and written complaints against Ndifon, TKJ was never mentioned as one of those complainants.

The lawyer, who described the commission’s act as an afterthought, added that TKJ was not even listed as a witness in the original charge but “surfaced after the amended charge was filed.”

He also wondered why the registrar of UNICAL, who was listed as a witness in the original charge, was dropped in their amended charge.

He said in the light of the above, count four, which alleged that the defendants threatened TKJ not to honor ICPC’s invitation, in the amended charge was not commenced by due process of law thereby robbing the court of jurisdiction.

Besides, Agi contended that in the instant case, counts one and two “which deal with sending and receiving nude videos and count three of the charge, are not within the jurisdiction of the court.

“This Honourable Court must and should keep the ICPC within the scope and their legally demarcated boundaries as clearly provided in the statute that created them,” he said.

He, therefore, prayed the court to decline jurisdiction.

NAN reports that the defendants’ no-case submission would be heard on Feb. 27.

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