A Court of Appeal in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State has given the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC the go-ahead to freeze the bank account of Ayo Fayose, governor of the state.
Justice J.S. Ikeyegha, who read the ruling of the three-man panel, directed the freezing of Fayose’s Zenith Bank account.
It will be recalled that Justice Taiwo Taiwo of a Federal High Court, Ado-Ekiti had in December 2016 ordered the EFCC to defreeze the bank accounts frozen as a result of investigations into the money in the account, which were believed to be proceeds of illegal activities.
The EFCC, dissatisfied with the ruling had approached the Appellate Court to set aside the ruling of the lower court. The agency had argued that the order contradicted that of Justice M.B. Idris of a Federal High Court in Lagos, which gave the Commission the legal backing to freeze the accounts until investigations were concluded.
The Appellate Court has now ruled in the favour of the EFCC.
Meanwhile, Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, sitting in Maitama, Abuja, on April 19, 2018, dismissed an application filed by a former spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Olisa Metuh, seeking for an order to release his international passport to enable him travel to the United Kingdom, UK for medicals.
The application, which was made through his counsel, Emeka Etiaba, SAN, on March 16, 2018, was refused on the grounds that similar applications have been made on May 25, 2016 and February 23, 2017 respectively, with similar grounds contained therein. The trial judge thus wondered if truly Metuh was ill.
Justice Abang said: reference is hereby made to ground 5, ground 6, ground 7, ground 8, ground 9, ground 10, in the application filed by the first defendant, dated May 16, 2016.
“These grounds are the same grounds relied upon by the first defendant in ground 3, ground 4, ground 5, ground 6 in the instant application.
“These are the same grounds that the applicant relied in the application dated February 23 2018. See ground 4, ground 5, ground 9, 10, 12, 13 of the instant application.
“It is my humble view that nothing has changed in this application that was not mentioned in the earlier applications. The central issue in the two earlier applications that is similar or the same in the instant application being the release of the first defendant’s international passport to enable him go for surgery at Willington Hospital.
“I agree with the learned counsel for the prosecution, Silvanus Tahir entirely, that the only thing that has changed is that a third application is being filed in court. But, it is the same relief, same fact, same issues that arose in the earlier application that arise in the instant application.
“It is not the first time that the applicant said he lost sensation in his lower limb. He said exactly the same thing in ground 5 and 6 of his earlier application dated May 16, 2016, except that he used different words to express the same situation.”
The court, thus agreed with the prosecution, that “this instant application is a reckless abuse of judicial process”.
He said: “If indeed the defendant is really sick to warrant him to come in a stretcher or to warrant him to come in a wheelchair as it is in the previous adjournment, why is it that the first defendant did not appeal the decision earlier made?
“My lords, having failed to appeal the earlier decision and with all sense of responsibility, I have my doubt if the first defendant is indeed sick as he wants the court to believe. If indeed the first defendant was and is sick, the defendant ought to have timeously appealed to the court of appeal to enable the court of appeal review the facts of this case and the decision of this court and to see if this court was right or wrong”.
The matter was thereafter adjourned to April 20, 2018, for continuation of trial.
Metuh is standing trial for allegedly receiving N400million from the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, in 2014 to run advocacy campaign for former President Goodluck Jonathan ahead of the 2015 general elections.