Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo of an Ikeja High Court, Lagos, has berated the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over attempted arrest of Chief Robert Clarke (SAN), within the court premises.

The officials of the commission had on April 16, harassed Clarke over the refusal of the lawyer to allow the operatives to arrest his client, Funmi Ademosun, after a court hearing.

Ademosun, a former director of Bank PHB, is standing trial for allegedly stealing N4.1 billion from the bank.

The judge expressed this view on Monday after he was informed by Clarke of the incident which happened after the court's last adjournment.

Onigbanjo said:” I have no qualms with the police or EFCC performing their duties.

“But as far as I am concerned, the whole of the court premises, including my courtroom, is my jurisdiction.

“If truly those operatives attempted to arrest him, I find that it is very wrong.

“I have a duty to protect the integrity of the court and will not allow anybody to do anything that will bring the dignity of the court to disrepute”, he said.

The judge advised the lawyer to take necessary action to prevent future occurrence.

Clarke had earlier told the court that he objected to the arrest of Ademosun because his client was on bail and that the EFCC operatives had no warrant of arrest.

The senior advocate said that he was forced to drive Ademosun to the EFCC office in Ikoyi, with a convoy of armed policemen trailing him.

He said:” What happened had everything to do with today's proceedings.

“It affects everybody. If it has not been about Robert Clarke, it could have been another junior lawyer and it is within your Lordship's jurisdiction.

“I only brought this report to the court not because I want to take action but because what happened was a breach of my fundamental human rights.”

EFCC Prosecutor, Mr Kemi Pinheiro, while condemning the action, told the court that Ademosun's arrest was unrelated to the present case before the court.

Pinheiro said Ademosun was wanted by the EFCC for interrogation over 27 petitions written against him by several bureau de change operators.

“He has refused to honour the EFCC invitation and that is why they decided to arrest him in the court.

“The fact that somebody has been granted bail by the court does not grant him immunity from further arrest if he commits another offence,” Pinheiro argued.

Meanwhile, an EFCC operative, Miss Ngunah Kakwagh, on Monday claimed that Atuche sold 241 million units of Afribank shares belonging to Caverton Helicopters without authorisation by the shareholders.

Kakwagh, who was being led in evidence by Pinheiro, alleged that the shares, worth N4.1 billion, was transferred into the account of Home Trust Savings and Loans Limited, owned by Ademosun.

NAN reports that the matter was adjourned to Wednesday for continuation of trial. (NAN)