A Federal High Court in Ado Ekiti has lambasted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over the freezing of Governor Ayodele Fayose’s Zenith Bank accounts and ordered it to immediately defreeze them.
The EFCC had in June this year frozen the Ekiti State governor’s bank accounts with Zenith bank despite the fact that he enjoys immunity.
However, Justice Taiwo Taiwo, in his ruling on the matter, described the EFCC action as illegal, wrongful, unlawful and unconstitutional, adding that the commission breached the governor’s fundamental rights to fair hearing, as it did not make him a party to the proceedings for the interim freezing of the accounts.
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According to Taiwo, 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 a Governor who enjoys total constitutional immunity.
He also submitted 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.
While the judge held that being a person covered fully by Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution, no legal proceedings can be instituted against Governor Fayose, he said 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.
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