A Federal High Court in Ado Ekiti, on Tuesday, rejected a fresh bid by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to freeze the Zenith Bank accounts of the Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo dismissed the motion for stay of execution filed by the commission against his judgment delivered on December 13 for lacking in merit.
The EFCC had frozen Fayose’s accounts after it allegedly traced part of the N4.7bn arms funds from the office of the National Security Adviser to the accounts.
But the judge on December 13 while delivering judgment in the suit filed by Fayose through his lawyer, Mr. Mike Ozekhome (SAN), said the action was against due process because the anti-graft agency did not follow the laid down regulations in freezing the accounts.
Justice Taiwo said the action breached the governor’s fundamental rights to fair hearing, as the commission did not make him a party to the proceedings for the interim freezing of the account.
He ordered the Zenith Bank and the EFCC to immediately unfreeze Fayose’s accounts.
Two days later, the governor went to the bank to withdraw N5m.
Jolted by the action, the EFCC returned to the court through a motion asking for the stay of execution of the judgment.
But ruling on the application on Tuesday, Justice Taiwo said, “once a judgment is being executed, you cannot stay the execution again.”
Referring to Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution which confers immunity on the governor, the judge pointed out that the applicant concealed the identity of the defendant while seeking the order to freeze the accounts.
The court said it could not sit on an appeal over its judgment because it had become functus officio.
Besides, the judge said there was no proof of facts that an appeal had been entered, noting that the proceeds of crime were not a subject matter in the substantive suit.
“A court of law does not embark on conjecture or guesswork as same can hardly produce a just and equitable decision. It is the duty of the applicant to provide materials upon which the court will grant the application.
“The matter was not instituted as a criminal suit, a court cannot go on a voyage of discovery to fish for facts to grant equitable remedy when the respondent averred that he had defendants and was ready to return the money if found liable at trial after his tenure.
“The court cannot stay a judgment already executed and the whole exercise in freezing the governor’s accounts amounts to a breach of the provisions of Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“For the reasons earlier stated and the constitutional provisions referred to, I cannot but conclude that I find no merit in the application. The order being sought is hereby refused and the application is dismissed.”
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