A Federal High Court sitting in Ado-Ekiti, has ordered the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and Zenith Bank Plc to appear before it on July 4, to defend its actions against Governor Ayodele Fayose.
The EFCC was reported to have ordered Zenith Bank to freeze Fayose’s personal accounts for alleged money laundering. The money, about N1.2 billion was allegedly taken from the $2.1 billion arms fund from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Col. Bello Dasuki.
Fayose, who wondered why the EFCC would take such action against a sitting governor covered by immunity. He, therefore, approached the court to seek redress, but the court deferred ruling on the mandatory order.
Fayose, through his lawyer, Mr Mike Ozekhome (SAN), had through an ex parte order deposed to on June 24, by Bimpe Olatemiju sought a mandatory order unfreezing the accounts belonging and operated by him pending the determination of his interlocutory application. Joined in the suit were the EFCC (1st defendant) and Zenith bank (2nd defendant).
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.
He noted that the anti-graft agency has no power to freeze Fayose’s account without a valid court order. Ozekhome added the action was a flagrant negation of Section 308 of the constitution, which conferred absolute immunity on the government against a civil and criminal procedure.
Delivering his ruling, Justice Taiwo Taiwo, averred 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.