Fayose Takes EFCC, Zenith Bank to Court Over Account Freeze
Ekiti state governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose has instituted a suit at the Federal High Court in Ado-Ekiti challenging the action of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) which froze personal bank accounts of the governor with Zenith Bank.
The suit was instituted on behalf of the governor by Lagos-based lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) with Fayose as applicant while both EFCC and Zenith Bank were listed as defendants.
Fayose’s application was filed by a motion ex-parte and as such, both EFCC and Zenith Bank were not represented in court. Fayose’s application being to get the court’s order to revoke EFCC’s freeze order on his account
The court however refused to grant Fayose’s prayers without hearing from the defendants and therefore ordered that the EFCC and Zenith Bank should appear in court on July 4 to show cause why the prayers listed in Fayose’s application should not be granted.
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
At the end of court proceeddings, Governor Fayose’s counsel, Mike Ozekhome stated 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.”
He also added that the EFCC could not have obtained an order Exparte to freeze Fayose’s account, if they did that, it is illegal, null and void.
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