Court throws out Binance executive’s suit against NSA, EFCC

The Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed the fundamental rights lawsuit brought forth by Binance executive Nadeem Anjarwalla’s against the National Security Adviser (NSA) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Justice Inyang Ekwo’s verdict came about due to the absence of legal representation for the applicant during the proceedings.

Anjarwalla sued the NSA and the EFCC, alleging that they violated his fundamental human rights by detaining him and seizing his travel documents, citing Sections 35 (1) and (4) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). His colleague, Tigran Gambaryan, had also filed a suit seeking the same resolution. However, Anjarwalla’s representative withdrew from the case.

T.J. Krukrubo, SAN, Anjarwalla’s lawyer, withdrew his representation before the most recent court appearance in March 2024. Krukrubo urged the court in his notice of withdrawal to “take notice that we, Messrs Aluko & Oyebode, do hereby withdraw our legal representation for Nadeem Anjarwalla, the applicant in this suit,” but did not state why.

This occurred after Anjarwalla fled custody despite having his travel documents seized, leaving Gambaryan behind. Nigerian authorities detained both in February 2024. Following this, Anjarwalla was reportedly seen in Kenya, while Gambaryan was held in Kuje Correctional Centre, Abuja. Even when Anjarwalla was reportedly arrested in Kenya, his wife and some Kenyan officials debunked the news.

During the most recent proceeding, the court issued an order dismissing the case for lack of diligent prosecution, citing Anjarwalla’s lack of a representative.

Meanwhile, the court has scheduled a hearing for Gambaryan’s suit for July 9, 2024.

In a separate suit filed by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) against Binance, the crypto exchange, and its executives for tax evasion, Gambaryan and Anjarwalla were dropped as defendants, leaving Binance as the sole defendant. This was after FIRS confirmed Ayodele Omotilewa as Binance’s representative.

This decision followed Binance’s plea that Gambaryan should not be held responsible while the matter continues with the Nigerian government.

Despite FIRS’ actions, Gambaryan and Anjarwalla are still named in the EFCC’s lawsuit against Binance, which includes allegations of money laundering. However, following FIRS’s latest move, Binance expressed hope that the Commission would follow suit.

(Techpoint Africa)

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