The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in a statement has said it has no reason to threaten or apologize to Sulyman Abaya, a lawyer and one of the suspects being investigated in a N20 million property fraud case by the Ilorin Zonal office of the Commission.
Abaya was arrested along with two other lawyers, Salman Rafiu and Saka Hammed, for alleged illegal acquisition and sale of a property belonging to Mr Adetunji Adedoyin, valued at about N20 million (Twenty Million Naira).
Adedoyin alleged in a petition that the suspects fraudulently obtained a court judgment with which they claimed and sold his property without his knowledge and consent. In getting the judgement, the suspects ensured that their victim, the petitioner did not get summons. Instead, they went ahead and provided defence lawyers for him, with whom he never had any discussion.
According to him, “I was informed that I was served summons all through the court proceedings, whereas it was R.A. Salman who put up his colleagues: Abaya Sulyman and Saka Hammed to stand for me and these lawyers forged my signature on some documents purporting my consent in court to the sale of my hostel”.
Adedoyin further stated that “the truth of the matter is that I never set my eyes on these people (lawyers) prior to or during the court proceedings, neither did I participate directly or indirectly in the proceedings. I also was not aware of the proceedings from the beginning to the end.”
Abaya was arrested on August 28, 2019 and released on bail after volunteering statement to the Commission. However in a twist, the suspect addressed the media in Ilorin on September 2, 2019, claiming he was innocent of the allegations against him and that operatives of the Commission, having realized their mistake, had apologized to him. He also added that he was profiled at gun-point.
To all intent and purposes, these are bouquet of lies packaged to elicit public sympathy and portray the Commission as inefficient, reckless and draconian.
In the first place, there is no reason for anyone to apologize to Abaya who remains a suspect under investigation. Apparently, Abaya has mistaken or deliberately wants to construe the administrative bail offered him by the Commission as exoneration of criminal complicity in the alleged fraud. The facts of the case suggest otherwise. He was merely offered bail to preserve his rights pending the conclusion of investigation.
Without prejudice to the facts of the case, it is puzzling that a lawyer of Abaya’s standing would take a brief from third parties on behalf of a client who is not incapacitated and that lives in the same city with him.
For the record, it is not the practice of the EFCC to force suspects to be profiled. Taking mug shot of suspects of crime is standard procedure in criminal investigation. It beats the imagination why Abaya would want to be treated differently.