From: WOLE BALOGUN, Ado-Ekiti
The Federal High Court, sitting in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State capital, has dismissed an Appeal filed before it by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for Stay of Execution of the judgment delivered on December 13, 2016 ordering the EFCC to defreeze the governor’s accounts.
The EFCC had on June 21, 2016 frozen Governor Fayose’s two accounts with Zenith Bank, alleging that they were proceeds of crime from the arms funds allegedly siphoned by former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dansuki.
Fayose had fought back the same month through his legal team, led by constitutional lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, who challenged the legality of the anti-graft’s seizure of his funds and attempt to investigate him while he remains a sitting governor.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the court, on December 13, 2016 ruled against the EFCC on grounds that the anti-graft agency’s actions ran foul of Section 308 of the Nigerian Constitution as amended in 1999 which accords immunity to a sitting governor. He therefore ordered the agency to un-freeze the governor’s accounts with immediate effect.
Fayose then withdrew N5 million out of his money from the accounts two days after the ruling.
EFCC’s lead counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, while reacting to the ruling, filed a motion for stay of execution of the ruling of December 13, 2016 to among other reasons, allow the anti-graft agency preserve the funds in the accounts.
Responding to EFCC’s appeal, counsel to Fayose, Bimpe Olatemiju had sworn to a counter affidavit praying the court to dismiss the EFCC’s appeal.
Justice Taiwo of the court who dismissed the EFCC’s appeal, on Tuesday, said the appeal was made in bad faith and gave other reasons for the court’s ruling as; “Court is functus officio, the EFCC application was instituted in bad faith, the initial suppression of facts brought in judgment of other Courts on the issue, no prove of facts that Appeal have been entered, proceed of crime not a subject matter in the substantive suit, the matter was not instituted as a criminal suit, court can not go on voyage of discovery to Fitch for fact to grant equitable remedy when the Respondent averted that he has defendants and ready to refund the money if found liable at trial after his tenure. 8. Can not stay a judgment already executed and the whole exercise in freezing the governor’s accounts amounts to breach of the provisions of Section 308, 1999 CFRN(amended).”