Law

Investigation obstruction: FCCPC slams criminal charge on Hull Blyth boss, others

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has slammed an 11-count criminal charge on a shipping firm, Hull Blyth Nigeria Limited, its Managing Director, Christian Holm and six others over alleged obstruction of investigation.

 

The charge marked FHC/ L/316C/2021 filed before Justice Daniel Osiagor of a Federal High Court in Lagos was accompanied by an affidavit of Execution of Warrant, dated 8th of October, 2021.

 

Others listed in the charge as defendants were: Abass Olufemi Oluyinka; Philip Obobo; Levi Awum; Peter Kotze; Lain Lindsay and Paul Brettel. In an affidavit sworn to by the Assistant Chief at FCCPC, Emeka Udom, it was averred that the commission obtained a search warrant from the court on October 8, 2021 to be executed on Hull Blyth Nigeria; Hapag-Lloyd Nigeria Shipping Limited; Cisco Shipping Nigeria; Lansal Shipping Company and CMA CGM Nigeria Shipping Limited.

 

The search warrant was said to have been executed between Monday, October 18 to 22, 2021 at the various office locations of the companies, following which documents, articles and items were removed and retrieved.

 

A total of 7,506 terabyte of electronic evidence as well as documents, articles and items were said to have been retrieved by FCCPC from the companies in the course of executing the search warrant.

 

It was averred that information retrieved showed that at least one of the companies was involved in the shipment of Charcoal from Nigeria in contravention of the extant law and prohibition policy.

Besides, it was further averred that FCCPC’s operatives were hindered from carrying out their duties by employees of Hull Blyth. Consequently, a criminal charge was filed by the Commission against the company and some of its employees.

Defendants’ arraignment has been fixed for February 1, 2022. Some of the counts against the defendants reads: “That you, Hull Blyth Nigeria Limited and Christian Holm (M) on or about the 18th day of October, 2021 at 34 Wharf Road, Apapa, Lagos State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did impede and obstruct the investigation by the Authorized Officers of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) by failing to provide the said Authorized Officers all facilities, assistance and cooperation required for the effective discharge of their functions during the execution of a search warrant issued by an Order of the Federal High Court, Lagos Judicial Division made in Suit No: FHC/L/CS/1371/2021 on October 8, 2021, which Warrant was issued pursuant to Sections 27, and 28, of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act; 2018 and which conduct is contrary to Section 31 of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act, 2018 and thereby committed an offence punishable under the same Section 28(5) of the same Act.

 

“That you, Hull Blyth Nigeria Limited and Christian Holm (M) on or about the 18th day of October, 2021 at 4 Creek Road, Apapa, Lagos State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court willfully obstructed and or impeded authorized officers of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission by permitting employees of Hull Blyth Nigeria Lim-  ited and others unknown within its premises to obstruct and impede the execution of the search warrant issued by an Order of the Federal High Court,Lagos Judicial division made in Suit No: FHC/L/CS/1371/2021 on October 8, 2021, and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 28 (5) of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act, 2018 and punishable under the same Section 28(5) of the same Act.

 

“That you, Hull Blyth Nigeria Limited, and Christian Holm, on or about the 18th day of October, 2021 at 34 Wharf Road, Apapa, Lagos State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did impede and obstruct the Authorized Officers of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (“the Commission”) in the performance of their duties under the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act, 2018 by failing to provide reasonable facility for, and ensure compliance in the execution of the search warrant issued by an Order of the Federal High Court, Lagos Judicial Division made in Suit No: FHC/L/CS/1371/2021 on October 8, 2021, which was a component and part of an investigation being conducted by Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 110 of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act, 2018 and punishable under the same Section 110 of the same Act.

 

“That you, Hull Blyth Nigeria Limited, Abass Olufemi Oluyinka (M) and Levi Awum (M), on or about the 18th day of October, 2021 at 34 Wharf Road, Apapa, Lagos State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did, with intent to prevent or impede an investigation, destroy records and or evidence relevant to the investigation being conducted by the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (Commission) during the execution of a search warrant issued by an Order of the Federal High Court, Lagos Judicial Division made in Suit No: FHC/L/CS/1371/2021 on October 8, 2021, which Warrant was issued pursuant to Sections 27, and 28, of the Federal Competition and Consumer Act, 2018 and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 36 of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act, 2018 and punishable under the same Section 36 of the same Act.

 

“That you, Hull Blyth Nigeria Limited, Abass Olufemi Oluyinka (M), Philip Obobo (M), Iain Lindsay (M) and Paul Brettel (M) on or about the 18th day of October, 2021 at 34 Wharf Road, Apapa, Lagos State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did refused to provide information which information is subject to disclosure pursuant to a search warrant to the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, by declining Authorized Officers access to information contained in official devices within their custody and control during the execution of the search warrant issued by an order of the Federal High Court, Lagos Judicial Division made in suit FHC/L/ CS/1371/2021 on October 8, 2021 and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 80 of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act,2018.and punishable under Section 80(1) of the same Act.

 

“That you, Hull Blyth Nigeria Limited, on or about the 18th day of October, 2021 at 34, Wharf Road, Apapa, Lagos State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did refused to produce documents and information required by the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and intentionally withheld the production of information contained in official devices within your custody and control which information and devices are subject of disclosure and or surrender, pursuant to a search warrant, which information and devices included and or contained work-product, official communication, and or data, processed and or stored on the devices and which information is relevant to an investigation being conducted by the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, including pursuant to the search warrant issued by an Order of the Federal High Court, Lagos Judicial Division made in Suit No: FHC/L/CS/1371/2021 on October 8, 2021 and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 111 (1) (a) of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act, 2018 and punishable under Section 111 (2) (b) of the Act”.

 

 

 

 

 

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