The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it can arrest anyone without a warrant.
Chile Okoroma, director, legal and prosecution of the EFCC, said this on Wednesday at a hearing organised by senate anti-corruption committee.
The committee had invited the agency over the arrest of Innocent Chukwuma, chairman of Innoson Group.
In December, operatives of EFCC arrested Chukwuma at his Enugu residence. They were said to have manhandled his wife.
Chukwuma had accused Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) of being behind the encounter with the EFCC but the bank denied it.
A motion was brought to the senate in respect of the matter and the lawmakers resolved to investigate it.
At the hearing, Okoroma said the EFCC could intervene in a matter if it had detected anything criminal in it.
“We can arrest a person with or without a warrant. I want to correct an impression, EFCC did not invade the residence of Innoson,” he said.
“I want to know the extent of this hearing because this is a case filed on 12th December 2012.”
When asked if the EFCC invited Chukwuma before going to his house, Okoroma said yes. But the committee members said he had no proof.
Asked if the operatives went with a warrant, Okoroma said he would get back to the committee.
On his part, Joseph Mbadugha, representative of Chukwuma, argued that the matter between GTB and Innoson had nothing to do with financial crime.
Mbadugha said Chukwuma was not involved in any illegal transaction.
“If you look at the EFCC act, the subject matter between GT bank and Innoson does not fall under financial crimes and EFCC knows that,” he said.
“Innoson did not approach GTB to obtain wealth illegally. The EFCC operatives that came to arrest him slapped his wife. Of course, she asked them of their warrant of arrest. They also beat up one Chidozie who was living with him. They used tear gas on him for failing to tell them where he was. The EFCC operatives maltreated him as well.”
The committee led by Chukwuka Utazi said the senate would not allow the rights of Nigerians to be trampled.
The hearing was adjourned indefinitely.