A Federal High Court sitting in Enugu State, has struck out the lawsuit filed against the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and four others by one Festus Ozonwanji.
Ozonwanji who was earlier docked before Hon. Justice A.A. Nwobodo, by ICPC in a criminal trial and later acquitted, had initiated a lawsuit and a claim of Forty Million Naira (N40, 000,000. 00) against the Commission, its operatives and other witnesses who testified against him, as special and general damages for what he termed “frivolous, baseless and malicious prosecution” in the criminal trial.
The Commission after the court processes were served on it, prepared and filed its defence processes as well as effected service on the plaintiff which set the tone for another legal battle.
However, after the plaintiff’s first appearance in court he seemed to have developed cold feet and abandoned the suit as the matter which came up six consecutive times had him appearing only once.
When the matter came up again on 15thMay, 2019, neither Mr. Ozonwanji nor his counsel showed up in court.
It was in view of the above that the counsel to ICPC and one of its operatives as well as 1st and 2nd defendants sought the relief of the court to strike out the suit for lack of diligent prosecution and also prayed the court to award the sum of Hundred Thousand Naira (N100, 000. 00) cost against the plaintiff in favour of the defendants.
Hon. Justice Nwobodo in his ruling, struck out the suit and awarded a cost of Fifty Thousand Naira (N 50, 000. 00) in favour of the 1st and 2nd defendants against the plaintiff.