Account freezing: Fayose knows fate on Dec 2

Governor Ayodele Fayose

THE Federal High Court sitting in Ado Ekiti has fixed Monday, December 2, 2016 for judgment on a case brought against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, for the freezing of his bank accountants.

Justice Taiwo Taiwo gave the order on Monday, following the adoption of written addresses and other evidences by parties in the suit.

Governor Ayodele Fayose had dragged the EFCC to court for the freezing of his two accounts with Zenith Bank and his lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) had, among others, asked the court to order the de-freezing of the accounts.

Ozekhome, in the suit with number FHC/AD/CS/27/2016, had argued that the placing of embargo on Fayose’s personal bank accounts by the EFCC was illegal, unconstitutional and amounted to an infringement on the fundamental rights of his client.

He told the court that the EFCC acted contrary to Section 308 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended, which he said granted immunity to a sitting governor not to be prosecuted in either civil or criminal matters.

While adopting his written address and 10 paragraphs affidavit, counsel for the EFCC, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court that the commission acted within its statutory and constitutional power, citing Section 6(5) (b) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011.

He also argued that the action was in accordance with Sections 19, 34 of the EFCC Establishment Act.

Oyedepo said: “By the provision of these Sections, EFCC has power to instruct Zenith Bank to place “Stop Order” on the account suspected to be proceeds of alleged crime.

“After the expiration of the 72 hours stop order by Section 6 of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, the first respondent timorously obtained a court order through an expert originating summon.

“Justice M B Idris of the Lagos Division on June 24 granted an order to freeze the accounts of the applicant as shown by Exhibit EFCC 09.

“I submit that the argument of the applicant that the court should set-aside the order, that Federal High Court sitting in Ado-Ekiti lacks the jurisdiction to set-aside Order of Interim Attachment made in pursuant to EFCC Act.”

Oyedepo contended that the prayer to set aside the order made by the applicant, “is construed by EFCC to mean that your lordship sit on an appellate of your learned brother.”

According to him, the order gotten by the EFCC was to preserve the rest funds, so that the investigation of the first respondent would not be prejudiced by the conduct of the applicant that is Governor Fayose.

Oyedepo urged the court to dismiss the submission of the applicant, and prayed that the interim order obtained to stop any transaction on the frozen accounts be upheld.

Governor Fayose’s two personal bank accounts domiciled with Zenith Bank Plc, Ado Ekiti were frozen on June 20, 2016, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).