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Court orders IGP to remove Indians’ names from INTETPOL’s most wanted list

Robert Egbe

 

A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the police to remove the names of an Indian businessman Prem Chand Garg and his son Dev Ashish Garg from Interpol’s most wanted list.

Justice I. E. Ekwo held that the police had no authority to place the duo’s names on the interpol data base without first obtaining a court order.

The judge made the order while delivering judgment on July 3, 2019 in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/C5/463/2019.

Garg senior and junior filed the suit as first and second plaintiffs, while the Inspector-General of Police and the Commissioner of Police (Interpol) Abuja were the first and second defendants.

Both plaintiffs told the judge that following a commercial dispute between their firm, Metal Africa Steel Products Ltd (MASPL) and Access Bank, the police illegally included their names on the Interpol list on the strength of a false petition.

“The plaintiffs have never been charged with nor tried for any criminal offence in any court of law, nor have they ever jumped bail for any offence howsoever in Nigeria and can therefore not be declared wanted administratively by the police without any prior order or leave of court,” they said, through their counsel, D.A. Awosika.

They prayed the court to declare the police’s action as illegal, among other reliefs.

Upholding their prayers, Justice Ekwo held a the police’s failure to obtain leave of court was “unlawful, wrongful, ultra-vires,” and violated the Constitution and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights Act, 2004.

He said that it “constitutes a gross infringement of the plaintiffs’ fundamental rights.”

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The judge noted that the police, represented by F.G. Gabriel and Wisdom Madaki, did “not controvert the case of the plaintiff that the transaction in the centre of this complaint is founded on private commercial dispute.”

Justice Ekwo added: “The act of the defendants in placing the plaintiffs’ names in the Interpol’s Red Notices and Diffusion Notices Database (of world’s most WANTED PERSONS) on the strength of a petition from Access Bank Plc bothering on strictly commercial dispute is contrary to and in violation of the Interpol’s Constitution and Rules on processing of data.

“An order is hereby made directing the defendants to forthwith remove the plaintiffs’ details from the Interpol’s Red Notices and Diffusion Notices database as same was improperly & invalidly placed and processed into the said Interpol database.”

 

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