The Federal High Court, Ado-Ekiti division, has dismissed an appeal filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for a stay of the judgment delivered on December 13, 2016, ordering the agency to unfreeze the accounts of Governor Ayo Fayose.
The EFCC had on June 21, 2016 placed restrictions on two accounts belonging to Governor Fayose with Zenith Bank in connection with funds traced to a former national security adviser, Sambo Dasuki.
Fayose challenged the action in court, insisting that the accounts had nothing to do with funds from the former NSA’s office.
The judge, Taiwo Taiwo, on December 13, 2016 had ruled against the EFCC on grounds that the EFCC’s actions contravened Section 308 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution as amended.
Subsequently, the court ordered the agency to unfreeze the governor’s accounts “with immediate effect.”
The governor went on to withdraw N5 million from the accounts on the strength of the judgment.
But the EFCC’s lead counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, opposed the ruling, and filed a motion for stay of execution of judgment to among other reasons, allow the anti-graft agency preserve the funds in the accounts.
But Justice Taiwo, while dismissing the appeal on Monday, held that the appeal was made in bad faith.
“The ruling is functus officio, so the EFCC application was instituted in bad faith. Initially, there was a suppression of facts particularly in the way the plaintiff brought in judgment of other courts on the issue,” he said.
If you examined critically, no proof of facts that appeal has been entered, and again, proceed of crime not a subject matter in the substantive suit, coupled with the fact that the matter was not instituted as a criminal suit.
“The court can’t go on voyage of discovery to fish for fact to grant equitable remedy when the respondent averred that he has defendants and ready to refund the money if found liable at trial after his tenure.
“The court can’t stay a judgment already executed and the whole exercise in freezing the governor’s accounts amounts is a breach of the provisions of Section 308, 1999 CFRN (amended),” he ruled.