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Friday, 30 September 2016

Governor Fayose’s Two Private Accounts Remain Frozen...Until

The two private accounts of Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti in Zenith Bank will remain frozen until November 7.

This followed the adjournment till Nov. 7 of the suit in which the governor sued the EFCC for freezing his accounts.

At Friday’s hearing, Fayose’s lead counsel, Chief Mike Ozehkome, and that of the EFCC agreed on the adjournment date.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the accounts had been frozen since June by the EFCC.

At the resumed hearing, Ozehkome, who led 10 other lawyers, argued that the EFCC lacked the constitutional powers to so apply punitive measures on a governor that still enjoyed immunity until the end of his tenure in 2018.

He argued that the freezing of the governor’s accounts based on mere hearsay and unsubstantiated allegations of fraud lacked the backing of the law.

The counsel said only a declarative evidence of court of competent jurisdiction could act in the way of EFCC.

He said blocking the governor’s accounts without being found guilty by a court amounted to convicting the governor before putting him on trial.

The counsel said the exparte order which the EFCC claimed to be relying upon in blocking Fayose’s two accounts had been grossly abused, adding that such an order was not expected to last longer than few weeks.

“My Lord, my client’s accounts were frozen in June and we are now in September, making a total of four months altogether.

“As far as we know, the principle of exparte order which is meant to last for a while has been grossly abused here.

“This is because as you can see, my client has been unjustly subjected to both psychological and mental torture, as if to say judgment must come before trial,’’ he said.

He demanded that a sum of N5 billion be paid by the EFCC to the governor as aggravated damages.

The counsel also asked the court to vacate an earlier order of a similar court which empowered the anti-graft body to block the governor’s accounts.

But EFCC lead counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, insisted that the decision of the anti- graft agency to freeze Fayose’s accounts followed due process.

He pleaded with the court to give him enough time to study the counter argument of Fayose’s lead counsel which was presented to the court for more than three hours.

Justice Taiwo consequently adjourned ruling in the case till November 7.

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