Politics

Ozekhome floors EFCC, gets his N75m account unfrozen

Ozekhome joins fight over Mrs Jonathan's $15m, challenges guilty plea of 4 companies

The Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday ruled in favour of Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) in the case between him and the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over a N75million legal fee Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose paid his law firm.

Following an interim order obtained from the court on February 7, 2017, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had stopped Ozekhome from accessing the N75million in his Guaranty Trust Bank account.

The anti-graft agency had claimed that the N75million paid to the Lawyer by Fayose was part of the N2.26billion arms procurement funds, a former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), allegedly looted.

EFCC had alleged that N1.22billion of the N2.26billion supposedly looted by Dasuki was traced to Fayose’s account.

Sequel to that claim, Justice Abdulaziz Anka had on February 7 frozen Ozekhome’s account for 120 days.

But the lawyer, who frowned at that act, went took legal action urging the court to vacate the interim order.

Ruling on the matter on Monday, Justice Anka said he saw no reason why the lawyer’s account should be frozen and granted Ozekhome’s prayer to dismiss the counter-affidavit filed in opposition by the EFCC.

Trial Justice Anka said, “There is no argument whatsoever as to the source of the funds as rightly argued by the learned counsel for the EFCC, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, but the question is, can the respondent/applicant be liable for any infraction as of the time he received the amount in his account?

“His evidence was not controverted that the same proceeds were unencumbered as of the time they were transferred into the account of Mike Ozekhome Chambers as rightly argued by Chief Mike Ozekhome.

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“The Federal High Court sitting in Ado Ekiti, Coram Taiwo J, ordered that the unfreezing of the said account belonging to Governor Ayodele Fayose.

“…considering the order above quoted and the depositions, I do not understand or comprehend why the applicant/respondent’s counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, would still argue and stand his ground that the same account has not be unfrozen by the Federal High Court sitting in Ekiti State.

“In both the order and the depositions, the account numbered 1000312625, was evidently and manifestly unfrozen, such an argument, therefore, by Mr Oyedepo Esq cannot hold water.”

In his final submission the judge held that he found sufficient grounds to reject the EFCC’s counter-affidavit, including the fact that Ozekhome had already dissipated the N75million which the EFCC sought to stop him from touching.

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