Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Lamorde, has dragged The Sun Publishing Limited, publishers of the Daily Sun newspapers, before a high court in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, over what he called a malicious and false publication meant to disgrace him.
The Daily Sun had on October 8, 2015, published an article with the title, Lamorde: EFCC chair in soup over N1trn ‘looted funds’, alleging that the EFCC boss is under investigation by the presidency following an allegation by a whistle blower, George Uboh, that he misappropriated recovered loots from convicted persons to the tune of a mind-boggling N1trillion.
Lamorde has denied the allegations.
In a suit filed by Festus Keyamo, counsel to the plaintiff, Lamorde is seeking N1billion compensation, a published apology to be given the same prominence as the damaging story, retraction of the said publication and a restraining order from further such publications.
In his statement of claim, Lamorde said that his reputation, which he has successfully built over the years due to his work as an anti-corruption campaigner, has been tarnished by the widely circulated newspaper.
“The Plaintiff has had a distinguished career having joined the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission as the pioneer Director of Operations in 2003 and by dint of hard work and integrity rose to be the Chairman of the anti-graft agency.
“The Plaintiff further avers that as a result of his exceptional career, he has received several awards and commendations from organizations across the world and is recognized by international organizations as a leading light on Nigeria’s fight against corruption,”Lamorde’s counsel said in the statement of claims.
The plaintiff accused the newspaper of not availing him the opportunity to state his side of events, choosing to portray him as corrupt civil servant and a hypocritical anti-graft leader that encourages his agents to collect bribes in exchange for letting criminals off the hook.
According to him, the publication resulted in him receiving several calls from relations, friends, professional colleagues, donor agencies both within and out the country who were worried about the content of the publication.
Lamorde also averred that “the spurious allegations made by the Defendant are untrue and actuated by malice with intent to malign and undermine the Plaintiff’s reputation” and that he had “been seriously injured in his character, credit, reputation and integrity and had been brought to public scandal, odium and contempt and has suffered damage.”