An Abuja based legal practitioner and a human rights activist, Hameed Ajibola Jimoh, has petitioned Economic And Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over the mandatory payment of 10% increase in the filing fees without any justification for such payment.

This mandatory 10% is provided in the Rules of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory.

In a 10 paragraph petition dated 5th November 2018 made available to THENIGERIALAWYER, the petitioner Hameed Ajibola Jimoh requested that the EFCC should investigate the allegation and bring those involved in this financial crimes to book if found wanting.

The allegation in the petition reads: “The mandatory payment of 10% increase in the filing fees provided in the Rules of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory- Abuja-herein after referred to as FCT High Court- has been on since the 22nd day of August, 2016, for the purpose of E-filing / Court Case Management System Platform, as contained in a public notice issued and signed by the Management of the Court to all lawyers and the general public, which is pasted within the Court’s premises at the Court’s Headquarters in Maitama, Abuja.

“I have observed that upon several payments of the said 10% made by either lawyers or litigants, including me myself, there has been no single process that has been E-Filed as undertaken by the Management of the Court. For instance, I have paid 10% since 2017 and up till recent, I have continued to pay the sum but none of my processes has been E-filed.

“Furthermore Sir, I have observed from each of the tellers that the said 10% has always been paid to private limited liability company’s bank account through the ASO Savings & Loans PLC, with the account number ‘0126244817’, the company which is known as ‘YWC TECHNOLOGIES LIMITED’ with the registration number ‘648972’, and having its details as contained in a public search that I conducted via the Corporate Affairs Commission’s public search platform.

“However, I observed that in the year 2017, as shown on some of the tellers, the account number of the YWC into which I paid was ‘012002179848013’.

“Furthermore, just of recent, I discovered that the said YWC has also been collecting 10% of all affidavits for either change of name, etc, (where an affidavit is supposed to be N500.00 only and no more) without any legal justification and or basis, as the said public notice only permits the said 10% only for the purpose of E-filing of court’s processes. I then wrote a complaint to the Chief Registrar of the Court challenging the illegal fees.

“I have found it very unbearable that the management of the Court would contract such services to a private company to render electronic services of E-filing of court’s processes but has only been receiving and generating funds from the unsuspecting members of the public, lawyers and litigants without having rendered the required services.

“Also, on a personal assessment as to how much that would have been generated illegally, I estimated that where 100 persons pay the sum of N50.00 each on a day, for 20 days a month and for a year, it totals the sum of N24, 000,000.00, whereas, in this case, the sum of 10% paid by any payer is not fixed at any particular sum rather, it is based on 10% of whatever the prescribed fee payable.

“Sir, I have considered this act of generating money from the members of the public without rendering services undertaken as an extortion, exploitation, financial corruption, etc., hence the writing of this petition to the Commission to investigate into this allegation and to bring any person corruptly involved and or found to have been engaged and or involved in financial crimes to book and for the illegal fees or all generated fees to be retrieved whatever that has been illegally gained back to the government’s treasury, as no services have been rendered.”

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