The Federal High Court in Abuja, on Monday, declined a suit seeking to mandate the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate several corruption allegations raised against the National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC) Adams Oshiomhole.
Oshimhole has been accused of misappropriation of public funds while in the office as the Edo state governor.
An Edo-based cleric, Bishop Osadolor Ochei, in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/628/2018, had alleged Oshiomhole, who was sued as the 2nd respondent, of acquiring property in the United States of America, South Africa and Dubai worth billions of US dollars and far in excess of his legitimate income.
The applicant also explained to the court that Oshiomhole erected a mansion that was worth more than N10 billion in his home town, Iyamho, while he was the Edo state governor.
“The said building was constructed by Verissimo, a South African architectural outfit. The said house of the 2nd respondent has swimming pools, water fountains, multiple theatres for cinema and live performances, huge event halls, bridges, manmade lake, lodges of different sizes, among others.
“The said cost of building the mansion is well outside the 2nd respondent’s legitimate income”,
The 2nd respondent’s lifestyle and extent of the said property were not justified by his source of income.”
According to the applicant, he had on November 4, 2016, sent a petition to the EFCC, detailing some corrupt practices he said the ex-governor was involved in.
He contested that EFCC’s refusal to act on petitions containing “weighty allegations” against Oshiomhole, ran contrary to Section 15(5) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which enjoined the State to abolish corrupt practices.
However, in a judgment delivered by Justice Anwuli Chikere, the court ruled that though EFCC has a statutory obligation to investigate corruption allegations, it held that the case that was brought against Oshiomhole had become statute barred.
The court held that the applicant ought to have approached the court for an order of mandamus, three months after EFCC refused to act on his petitions.
Justice Chikere maintained that having failed to institute the action within the statutorily allowed period, the applicant, therefore, lacked the locus standi to sustain the suit. Consequently, the court said there was no need to consider the merit or otherwise of allegations and affidavit evidence that was tendered against the APC Chairman.
It upheld separate preliminary objections that both Oshiomhole and the EFCC lodged against the suit.
“In conclusion, this suit lacked merit and it is accordingly dismissed,” the court held.
However, the Applicant, through his lawyer, Mrs. Uju Chukwura, vowed to appeal against the ruling,insisting that he has a strong evidence to prove that the APC chairman corruptly enriched himself with funds he diverted from the public treasury.
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