As the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission’s embarrassing entanglement with Pinnacle Communications Limited over the National Broadcasting Commission’s duly approved Digital Switch Over payment of N2.5 billion approaches the end of the road, it has been dragged to a new road leading to further flogging via Pinnacle Communications Limited’s earthquaking N1 billion suit filed at another Federal High Court in Abuja for “unlawful, injurious and unconstitutional” freezing of its account with Zenith Bank Plc.
This second leg of the crippled witch hunting of Pinnacle Communications Limited by ICPC was also launched to achieve unwarranted extrajudicial assault on the unblemished corporate reputation of the undoubted industry leader in world class broadcast technology, equipment and knowhow similar to the infamous media trial vendetta that ICPC has been unleashing against the company in a vain and vulgar effort to disparage Pinnacle Communications Limited.
Contrary to all procedures, protocols and due process governing its supposedly anti-corruption mandate, the ICPC resorted to all manner of deceptive manoeuvres and dubious ploys to disrupt Pinnacle’s operations by unjustly freezing its Zenith Bank account ostensibly as a result of its “investigation” of the NBC N2.5 billion payment purportedly by court order.
It however turned out that ICPC never obtained such an order from any court but instead deliberately took advantage of a court order permitting it to access Pinnacle’s Zenith Bank account to concoct an instruction on its official letterhead asking the bank to freeze the account. Banks can only freeze accounts on the basis of court orders!
ICPC went further to exploit the bogus “Post No Debit” order by exceeding the temporary tenure of such orders until Pinnacle Communications Limited dragged the anti-corruption agency before Federal High Court, Abuja after six months of inexplicable pussy-footing by the ICPC without coming up with any justification for freezing the account.
Justice Dimgba Igwe, the presiding judge in revoking the freeze order on Pinnacle’s account, berated the ICPC for frivolously jeopardizing the legitimate business operations of Pinnacle Communications Limited far beyond the temporary terms of such orders and not being able to justify the action despite several adjournments that provided ample opportunities for it to obtain such if any existed.
The judge chided ICPC for relying on hear say and “pepper soup joint banter” to take hostile actions against investors who set up thriving firms employing many Nigerians as this was bound to discourage much needed foreign investors from responding positively to Federal Government’s repeated appeals to invest in the country.
October 8 is the next date of hearing in the N1 billion suit Pinnacle Communications Limited slammed on ICPC and Zenith Bank Plc at an Abuja Federal High Court.
. Tanko writes from Kano.