Victory for Fayose as court throws out EFCC’s suit

Ayodele Fayose
Ayodele Fayose

The Appeal Court sitting in Ado Ekiti has dismissed an application for a motion for an injunction by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seeking to restrain Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State from operating his account with Zenith Bank Plc.

The motion was filed by the EFCC without a motion for appeal against a judgement by the Federal High court, which suspended the suspension placed on the account by the EFCC last year.

The EFCC had filed the motion following the lifting of the suspension and sought to restrain Fayose from operating the account but the court berated the EFCC for the move, describing it as “lacking in merit.”

The Appeal Court said “EFCC did not come with clean hands on the application for injunction it filed because it suppressed material facts, for example that a similar application the EFCC filed was earlier refused by Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, Ado Ekiti.”

They justices agreed with Governor Fayose’s Counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) that the entire application filed by EFCC’s counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, was “entirely unmeritorious.”

The panel of Justice Ahmad Belgore, Justice Fatima Akinbami and Justice Paul Elechi, said: “No valid appeal has been made against the judgement of the lower court which un-freezed the account. Again the judgement the EFCC was appealing against was not attached to this application.

“EFCC also failed to show sufficient evidence that the money in the account was a proceed of crime as claimed. In doing this, we expect the EFCC to have showed evidence that the plaintiff has been tried for criminal offence before for it to assume that he can receive proceed of crime.

“We also found that there was suppression of facts to get the account frozen in the first instance. It was also noted that Governor Fayose in line with Section 308 enjoys immunity and his personal account can’t be frozen.

“Having not done all these as demanded by law and equity, as those facts were facts that would assist in exercising the court’s discretion either for or against as it is an application that is predicated on discretion of the court. The application is hereby thrown out.”

Reacting to the judgement, Fayose’s Lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), described it as “landmark and conveyed a clear message that the EFCC is gradually becoming a lawless organisation.”

Ozekhome said the anti-graft agency would continue to lose cases it filed against suspects in courts until it divorces itself of selective justice work on the side of justice.

He said the judgement “portrayed judiciary as the sentinel on the door of the poor, defenceless and oppressed. Governor Fayose and myself had again been vindicated that EFCC’s operations have not been based on law but on emotion.”

On December 13, 2016, Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, Ado Ekiti had ordered the EFCC to immediately un-freeze the accounts of Governor Fayose, saying the action of the EFCC was against due process and that the anti-graft agency did not follow the laid down regulations in freezing the governor’s accounts.

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