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Explain Why You Freeze Fayose’s Account, Court Orders EFCC, Zenith bank.

efccFCCThe Federal High Court, Ado-Ekiti has ordered the Economic and
Financial Crimes Commission and the Zenith Bank plc to show cause why
an Order Exparte to defreeze Governor Ayodele Fayose’s accounts, filed
yesterday to the court by the governor’s legal team, should not be
granted.

The judge gave Monday July 4 for the anti-graft agency and Zenith bank
Plc to appear in court with the said evidence.

Mr Mike Ozekhome (SAN), had through an exparte order deposed to on the
24th of June, 2016 by Bimpe Olatemiju sought a mandatory order
de-freezing the accounts belonging and operated by him pending the
determination of his interlocutory application.

Joined in the suit are the EFCC (1st defendant) and Zenith bank (2nd
defendant). The order was supported by 18-paragraph affidavit , a lone
Exhibit, which was a letter issued to Governor Fayose by Zenith bank
confirming that the EFCC actually placed a restriction order on the
accounts and a written address .

He also sought the leave of the court for the service of the
originating summons on the defendants in their various addresses
outside the jurisdiction of the court as contained on the order
papers, supported by 17-paragraph affidavit.

Ozekhome said the order was brought pursuant to order 26 rule 8(1) of
the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rule 2009 and Section 44(1) of
the 1999 constitution which gives the court the discretionary powers
to adjudicate on such matter.

Citing the case of Abdulaziz Nyako Vs EFCC to buttress his position
that the anti-graft agency has no power to freeze Fayose’s account
without valid court order, Ozekhome added the action was a flagrant
negation of the Section 308 of the constitution, which conferred
absolute immunity on the government against civil and criminal
procedure.

He said it was appalling that the EFCC could play ostrich to these
valid constitutional requirements and took cognizance of the African
Charters on Human and People’s Rights before taking the punitive stand
against Fayose, adding that these infractions had rendered the action
unconstitutional, wrongful , null and void .

Delivering his ruling, Justice Taiwo Taiwo, said that he quite
understood that the applicant (Fayose) enjoys immunity and that the
court can adjudicate on this matter as canvassed by the counsel to the
plaintiff, but he pointed out that the relief he basically sought was
a mandatory order of the court.

“I quite agree that the applicant has immunity pursuant to provisions
of the constitution, but it is glaring that the application he is
requesting for is a mandatory order to undo what had already been done
and the court can’t abdicate its duty under this circumstance.
“I am of the opinion that this mandatory order is better granted with
the interlocutory order being sought through an application pending
before the court , because the applicant has filed all papers to this
effect.

“I hereby ordered the 1st and 2nd respondents to appear before this
honourable court on July 4, 2016 and show cause why the order should
be refused.

“This is not a refusal of the order, I have not refused it, but I only
put it in abeyance which I said without prejudice to what will be the
position of the respondents .

“But a leave is granted for the service of the defendants with the
originating summons in their respective addresses as contained on the
order papers”, the Judge ruled.

Describing the presiding judge as very at home with the law and a
highly experience lawyer, Ozekhome said told newsmen that: “our motion
was an exparte for the de-freezing and removal of restriction placed
on citizen Ayodele Fayose ‘s two accounts with the Zenith Bank Plc.

“The bank claimed through a letter made available to our client that
it acted on the instructions of the EFCC and we are here by way of
originating summons to say that the EFCC has no powers, whether under
the EFCC Act, money laundering Act, under the constitution or any
other known law to freeze the accounts of a sitting governor who
enjoys immunity under section 308 of the Constitution of Federal
Republic of Nigeria, 1999as altered because that section makes it
clear that for the time that person is in that office, the President,
Vice-President, Governor and Deputy-Governor he enjoys absolute
immunity from any civil or criminal procedure and that no court
process can issue against such person.

“So, EFCC could not have obtained an order Exparte to freeze his
account, if they did that, it is illegal, null and void. It could also
not have frozen his accounts without having an order Exparte, ” he
said.

Asked what would be the the legal team’s next step should the EFCC
fails to honour the court’s order on Monday, July 4, Ozekhome said the
government agency cannot dare a Federal High Court’s order.

In a related development, the same court today, vacated an Order of
Exparte sought by the factional Ekiti State chapter of the Peoples’
Democratic Party (PDP) allegedly loyal to Senator Buruji Kashamu
restricting the executives of the party in Ekiti, loyal to governor
Fayose, from parading themselves as authentic Excos of the party.

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