The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has refused to accept the rejection of its request to have the judge presiding over its fundamental rights cases filed against the immediate-past Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and a former Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha replaced.
The EFCC had demanded that Justice Taiwo Taiwo, of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, who the two cases were assigned to, be replaced.
But the outgoing Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Adamu Abdul-Kafarati, has rejected the request.
Justice Abdul-Kafarati rejection of EFCC’s request came after Okorocha and Saraki, had in their separate letters to the Chief Judge, urged him to ignore the anti-graft agency’s request on the ground of being baseless.
But apparently not willing to accept the rejection, the anti-graft agency has reworked all the allegations in the motion filed before the judge.
On part of the reasons it is insisting that justice Taiwo recuse himself from the cases, the EFCC through its counsel, Mr. Ekene Iheanacho said, “His Lordship (Taiwo), while sitting in the Ekiti Judicial Division of the Federal High Court, had in two previous cases involving former governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, Attorney General of Ekiti State and officials of Ekiti State Government given orders/decisions wherein the 4th respondent/applicant’s statutory powers to investigate economic and financial crimes were curtailed and gagged contrary to the established principles by superior courts.”
The EFCC further faulted the ex parte orders directing the respondents in the case, including the EFCC “to stay all actions in connection with the subject matter of this suit, to stay all actions in connection with the subject matter pending the determination of this suit.”
The commission said the orders had an indefinite lifespan “since no one can state when the main case can be determined.”
It went further to say that the orders were in the nature of interlocutory injunction “which ordinarily requires the adverse party to be put on notice.”
According to the commission, “It is a well established legal principle that no court has the power to stop the investigative powers of the 4th respondent or any agency established under the laws to investigate crimes.”
When the matter came up on Thursday, Saraki’s legal team made known their intention to oppose the application but said they needed time to respond to the motion.
The judge adjourned till September 27 for the hearing of the applications.
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