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Appeal Court Rules EFCC To Unfreeze Fayose’s Account

The Appeal Court sitting in Ado Ekiti on Tuesday, dismissed an application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for an injunction restraining the Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, from operating his accounts in Zenith Bank Plc, describing the application 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”.

On December 13, 2016, Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, Ado Ekiti had ordered the EFCC to immediately unfreeze 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.

EFCC had appealed the judgment and sought an injunction, restraining the governor from operating the accounts pending the determination of the appeal.

Dismissing the appeal Tuesday, the Appeal Court, in a unanimous ruling delivered by Justice Fatima Omoro Akinbami, said the EFCC did not attach notice of appeal and the Federal High Court, Ado Ekiti judgment of December 13, 2016, which ordered the anti-graft agency to unfreeze the governor’s account that the EFCC appealed against.

The court also said the alleged damning intelligence report by the EFCC, which it claimed to have received concerning money purportedly paid into Governor Fayose’s account by a former minister, Musiliu Obanikoro, was not provided nor attached for the court to see.

The appeal court agreed with Governor Fayose’s counsel, Mike Ozekhome that as a sitting governor, Mr. Fayose, covered with immunity, had not been tried and found guilty by any court of law for his bank accounts to be tagged as “proceeds of crime.”

The court described EFCC’s claim on the receipt of an intelligence report concerning money purportedly paid into Governor Fayose’s account by Senator Musiliu Obanikoro as mere speculation, saying; “the
court does not embark on speculation.”

The appeal court also held that since the EFCC had admitted that N80 million had already been withdrawn from the accounts, saying that Mr. Ozekhome was right to say that an injunction could not be granted for an act already completed.

Describing the judgment as another victory over tyranny, Mr. Ozekhome hailed the judiciary for standing firm in protecting rule of law in the country.

He said EFCC must learn to act within the laws of the country and stop hiding under anti-corruption fight to commit illegalities.

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