A High Court has barred the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) from arresting the former Secretary of the defunct Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM), Charles Bissue.
Charles Bissue has been declared wanted after the OSP noted that he has refused to honor its invitation to aid in an ongoing investigation into allegations of corruption that occasioned the dealings of the committee.
Justice Nicholas Abodakpi, who presided over the case has ordered the OSP not to make further applications for warrants with the purpose of arresting Mr. Bissue.
The counsel of Mr. Bissue argued that the OSP has failed to provide the basis for which he is to be arrested. Therefore, arresting his client would be unlawful, unreasonable, and unfair and would go contrary to the provisions of L.I. 2374 and Article 23 of the Constitution 1992.
“That by failing to make available a copy of the Petition and for that matter, the particulars of the complaint forming the basis of the investigation for which the Ist Respondent (OSP) had invited the Applicant, the 1st Respondent is acting in a manner which is unfair, unreasonable and unlawful and thus, contrary to the provisions of the aforementioned L.I. 2374 and Article 23 of the Constitution 1992.
“That the Applicant was reliably informed sometime on or around the 7th of June 2023, that the 1st Respondent had applied to the 2nd Respondent and had been granted an Arrest Warrant against him, notwithstanding the fact that the aforementioned Motion for Interlocutory Injunction remained pending.”
The lead counsel for Mr. Bissue further argued that the notice of Mr. Bissue being wanted is not only illegal, but the notice is also a product of an Arrest warrant which was procured in contravention of the Criminal and Other Offences (Procedure)Act, 1960 (Act 30).
Mr. Bissue’s counsel also made available evidence in the form of documents indicating interactions between Mr. Bissue and the OSP on the case of alleged corruption related to the Inter-Ministerial Committee.
In effect, the court ruled that the OSP is unable to act on any warrant it has secured. It further barred the investigative body from applying for any other warrant and publishing any notice on Mr. Bissue until the case is determined. The order will be in effect for 10 days.
Meanwhile, after the rule, the OSP has noted through its official Twitter handle that its outfit does not require a warrant to capture any person believed to be involved in corruption or corruption-related activities.
According to the body, a person published as wanted only means that the person has refused or neglected summons to aid investigations.