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    Thursday, June 20, 2024

    Binance Chief Loses Suit Against NSA, EFCC

    Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, dismissed the fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by the Africa Regional Manager of Binance Holdings Limited, Nadeem Anjarwalla (on the run), against the National Security Adviser and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

    Justice Ekwo, in a short ruling, dismissed the suit for lack of diligent prosecution.

    The judge said on March 28, which was the date of the previous sitting in the matter, Anjarwalla’s counsel, Tonye Krukrubo (SAN), had sought leave to withdraw his appearance in the matter and the application was granted.

    He said the matter was adjourned until Wednesday for mention but no lawyer appeared for the applicant.

    The Binance executive and his colleague, Tigran Gambaryan, had filed separate human rights enforcement suits against the NSA and EFCC, seeking an order to release them from detention.

    The two crypto-exchange executives, in the suits marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/355/24 and FHC/ABJ/CS/356/24, sued the ONSA and EFCC as first and second respondents.

    Kukrubo, whose appearance on Wednesday was solely for Gambaryan, moved a motion seeking to amend his client-originating process, a request the EFCC lawyer, Olarewanju Adeola, opposed.

    Justice Ekwo, however, granted Krukrubo’s request to amend his application.

    He held that parties, by law, were entitled to amend their processes before judgment.

    “I am minded to grant this amendment,” he said.

    The court, however, fined Gambaryan the sum of N50,000 to be paid to the EFCC for joining issues in the matter.

    Justice Ekwo held that the fine must be paid before the next adjourned date of July 9.

    Both Anjarwalla and Gambaryan, in their separate fundamental rights enforcement applications, sought a declaration that their detention and the seizure of their international travel passport contravened Section 35 (1) and (4) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

    They claimed the act amounted to a violation of their fundamental rights to personal liberty as guaranteed by the constitution, among others.

    Anjarwalla and Gambaryan are both United States citizens working for Binance, a crypto exchange platform.

    The duo and their company are facing charges bordering on money laundering with the EFCC and tax evasion with the Federal Inland Revenue Service.

    When they were first arrested, they were kept in the custody of the NSA, however, Anjarwalla absconded from lawful custody on March 22, 2024, to Kenya.

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