THE Court of Appeal yesterday ordered two accounts of Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose domiciled with the Zenith Bank to be frozen.
The court gave the order having been convinced by the argument of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that they were used to keep proceeds of crime.
The three-man panel, led Justice Joseph Shagbaor Ikyegh, allowed the EFCC appeal and upturned the judgment of the Federal High Court, Ado-Ekiti, which was delivered about one year and four months ago.
Other members of the panel are Justice Boloukurumo Moses Ugo and Justice Mohammed Mustapha.
The judgment of the lower court, which unblocked the governor’s two accounts, was delivered by Justice Taiwo Taiwo on December 13, 2016.
Fayose withdrew N5 million from one of the accounts immediately and transferred the sum of N75 to his lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN).
Dissatisfied with the Ado-Ekiti Federal High Court’s verdict, the EFCC filed an appeal at the appellate court on three grounds.
The anti-graft agency contended that the immunity enjoyed by the governor did 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, Mike 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.”
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.
In total the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has recovered property and cash worth N2.273 billion from Governor Ayodele Fayose, ex-Deputy Governor Iyiola Omisore and a former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, out of the N4.685 billion allocated to them by the Office of National Security Adviser (ONSA)