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Court Unfreezes NIPC Accounts

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Court Unfreezes NIPC Accounts
Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission

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A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has vacated an order restraining the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) from appropriating and spending its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).

Hon. Ali Sani, a member of the Governing Council of NIPC, had last year instituted a suit against the agency and secured an interim order barring the Commission from expending its IGR till the determination of the case.

Ruling on the suit yesterday, the presiding judge, Justice A. I. Chikere dismissed it on the grounds that the plaintiff lacked the locus standi to institute the suit, and that it was also statute barred.

NIPC said in a statement on Thursday in Abuja that Sani instituted the action on November 25, 2019, and had sought to restrain NIPC, its Chairman and the Executive Secretary from appropriating and spending funds realized as IGR for 2018, 2019 and 2020.

According to the Commission, Justice A. I. Chikere had on 17 December 2019, granted an interim order restraining NIPC from appropriating and spending the IGR pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for injunction.

The statement reads: “Following the grant of the interim order, NIPC was unable to fund most of its activities and meet a large percentage of its third party contractual obligations. But counsel to the Defendants, Messrs Afe Babalola & Co, through the lead counsel Kehinde Ogunwumiju, SAN, filed a preliminary objection to the suit and a counter-affidavit against the motion for interlocutory injunction arguing that the plaintiff had no legal right to file the suit as he was part of the Governing Council which approved the expenditure of the IGR.

The defendants counsel also argued that the plaintiff cannot ask the Court to restrain NIPC from exercising its statutory powers to spend funds duly approved for spending in accordance with extant laws. The counsel asked the Court to strike out the suit on the ground that it was statute barred and that the plaintiff lacks the locus to file the suit.

In its ruling on the motion for injunction, the Federal High Court held that the plaintiff had no legal right to file the suit as the Court cannot grant a relief to restrain an executive body from exercising its statutory powers. The Court held further that in any case, the application was seeking to restrain the spending of an IGR that had already been duly spent in 2018 and 2019.

On the preliminary objection filed by the defendants, the Court struck out the name of the Chairman of NIPC, which is non-existent on the ground that the said name is a non-juristic person in law. The Court then struck out the substantive suit on the ground that it was statute barred having been filed more than a year after the accrual of the cause of action in line with the provisions of Section 2 (a) of the Public Officers Protection Act and as such, the Court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the Suit”.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

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