Court dismisses Binance Executive fundamental rights suit against EFCC

Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on June 19, 2024 dismissed the fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by the Africa Regional Manager of Binance Holdings Limited, Nadeem Anjarwalla (at large), against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and the National Security Adviser.

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

At the last court’s session, March 28, 2024, Anjarwalla’s counsel, Tonye Krukrubo (SAN), had sought leave of the court to withdraw his appearance in the matter and the application was granted.

He said the matter was adjourned till Wednesday, June 19, 2024 for mention but no lawyer appeared for the applicant.

The Binance Executive and his colleague, Tigran Gambaryan, had filed separate human rights enforcement suits against the EFCC and NSA, seeking an order to release them from detention.

The two crypto-exchange executives, in the suits marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/355/24 and FHC/ABJ/CS/356/24, sued the ONSA and EFCC as first and second respondents.

At the last court’s session, March 28, 2024, Anjarwalla’s counsel, Tonye Krukrubo (SAN), had sought leave of the court to withdraw his appearance in the matter and the application was granted.

He said the matter was adjourned till Wednesday, June 19, 2024 for mention but no lawyer appeared for the applicant.

The Binance Executive and his colleague, Tigran Gambaryan, had filed separate human rights enforcement suits against the EFCC and NSA, seeking an order to release them from detention.

The two crypto-exchange executives, in the suits marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/355/24 and FHC/ABJ/CS/356/24, sued the ONSA and EFCC as first and second respondents.

Krukrubo whose appearance on Wednesday was solely for Gambaryan, moved a motion seeking to amend his client-originating process, a request the EFCC lawyer, Olarewanju Adeola, opposed.
Justice Ekwo, however, granted Krukrubo’s request to amend his application.

He held that parties, by law, were entitled to amend their processes before judgment.

The court, however, fined Gambaryan the sum of N50,000 to be paid to the EFCC for joining issues in the matter.

Justice Ekwo held that the fine must be paid before the next adjourned date of July 9.

Both Anjarwalla and Gambaryan, in their separate fundamental rights enforcement applications, sought a declaration that their detention and the seizure of their international travel passport contravened Section 35 (1) and (4) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

They claimed the act amounted to a violation of their fundamental rights to personal liberty as guaranteed by the constitution, among others. Anjarwalla and Gambaryan are both United States citizens working for Binance, a crypto exchange platform.

The duo were arraigned on a 5-count charge bordering on alleged tax evasion, currency speculation and money laundering to the tune of $34,400,000 (Thirty-Four Million, Four Hundred Thousand United States Dollars).

When they were first arrested, they were kept in the custody of the NSA, however, Anjarwalla absconded from lawful custody on March 22, 2024, to Kenya.

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