The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has said that it will appeal the order of Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, Ado Ekiti, Ekiti state which asked it to defreeze the accounts of Governor Ayo Fayose in Zenith Bank.
EFCC in a statement by its head of media, Wilson Uwujaren, said that while the Commission awaits the certified copy of the ruling, “it is important to point out that this order contradicts another order by Justice M. B Idris of the Federal High Court, Lagos which gave the Commission the nod to freeze the accounts pending the conclusion of investigation.
“This order from a court of coordinate jurisdiction was not set aside by Justice Taiwo. In spite of this, the Commission has taken immediate step to appeal the order by Justice Taiwo, it said.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo described the EFCC action as illegal, wrongful, unlawful and unconstitutional, stating that the EFCC 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 said that the EFCC suppressed facts by not disclosing to the court that granted the interim freezing order that the two accounts that were frozen belonged to Governor who enjoys total constitutional immunity.
Justice Taiwo also said that the EFCC did not provide any credible evidence empowering it to carry out the freezing of the accounts using Zenith Bank as a proxy, whereas, Zenith Bank is a mere custodian and not the owner of the accounts, which evidence has shown belong to the Governor.
The judge ruled that being a person covered fully by Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution, no legal proceedings can be instituted against Governor Fayose.
He also said that any law including some sections of the EFCC acts like Sections 28, 31, and 44 that expropriate citizens rights must be construed strictly and usually in favour of citizens whose properties have been confiscated.
Fayose’s Counsel, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), hailed the judgment, describing the judge as courageous and firm, stating that the judge, by the judgement laid to rest all the abracadabra of the EFCC in illegally, wrongfully, unlawfully and unconstitutionally going about on a rampage freezing Nigeria citizens accounts with reckless abandon.
Ozekhome also said that Justice Taiwo further restored the hope of Nigerians in the judiciary as the last hope of the common man and woman and the guardian sentinel of the civil rights, liberties and freedoms of Nigerians.