….Nullifies governor’s Victory at Federal High Court
After a relief of one year and four months, the hammer of the Court of Appeal has fallen on the two accounts of Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose domiciled with the Zenith Bank.
The appellate court in a judgment on Tuesday ordered that the two accounts be frozen having been convinced by the argument of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that they are used to keep proceeds of crime.
The three-man panel led Justice Joseph Shagbaor Ikyegh in allowed the appeal of the EFCC and upturned the judgment of the Federal High Court, Ado-Ekiti.
Other members of the panel are Justice Boloukurumo Moses Ugo and Justice Mohammed Mustapha in the appeal marked CA/EK/8C/2017.
The judgment of the lower court delivered by Justice Taiwo Taiwo on 13th December, 2016 which unblocked the governor’s two accounts domiciled with Zenith Bank.
Fayose withdrew N5 million from one of the accounts immediately and transferred the sum of N75 to his lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN). It was unblocked by the Federal High Court order.
Dissatisfied with the Ado-Ekiti Federal High Court verdict, the EFCC filed an appeal at the appellate court on three grounds.
The two accounts had earlier been frozen by Justice Mohammed Shuaibu of Federal High Court, Lagos in an ex-parte motion brought by the EFCC which it was consequent upon investigations that the accounts were being used to keep proceeds of crime.
On Monday, the EFCC had filed an application before the court to adduce fresh evidence but the court turned down the motion.
The briefs of the parties in the appeal, the EFCC (the appellant) and Fayose (1st Respondent) and Zenith Bank (2nd Respondent) were adopted with the court adjourning to Thursday for judgment.
The EFCC in its brief argued that Fayose is a citizen of Nigeria and his accounts could be frozen if they are found to be used to hold proceeds of crime.
The anti-graft agency contended that the immunity enjoyed by the governor does not preclude his account from being frozen.
The Appeal Court allowed the appeal and held that Fayose’s accounts which were unblocked by the Federal High Court be frozen.
The court delivered the judgment upon reading the record of the appeal and after hearing EFCC’s counsel, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, Fayose’s counsel, Ozekhome and Zenith Bank’s counsel, Mr. Oluwasegun Ayinde.
Justice Ikyegh ordered: “That the appeal is meritorious and, having resolved all three issues agitated in the appeal in appellant’s (EFCC’s) favour.
“That the appeal is hereby allowed; that the judgment delivered by Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, Ekiti Judicial Division, on the 13th day of December, 2016 granting the claims of the 1st Respondent in Suit No: FHC/AD/CS/27/2016 is hereby set aside.”