By Nkoli Opara (AGENDAWATCHDOG) – The appeal filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) challenging the order to unfreeze the accounts of Mike Ozhekome, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, has been dismissed by the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos.
According to the appellate court, in a ruling by Justice Chidi Nwaoma Uwa, EFCC ‘s appeal lacked substance. Other members of the panel are Justice Tunde Awotoye and James Abundaga.
Justice Abdulaziz Anka of the Federal High Court, Lagos , had at the instance of the EFCC on the April 3rd 2017, lifted a restraining order he earlier placed on the Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) account of Ozekhome.
The EFCC had obtained the interim ex parte order of forfeiture to freeze the money for 120 days, arguing that the sum of N75 million transferred to the account was proceed of unlawful activity, as it was paid to Ozekhome by the then sitting Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, whom it said it was investigating.
Ozekhome on his part had argued that the action of the EFCC was unconstitutional, had no legal justification and was a gross violation of sections 36, 37 and 41 of the 1999 Constitution, proceeding to file a motion before the Federal High Court in Lagos, urging it to set aside its earlier order freezing his chambers’ account.
Justice Anka, after hearing arguments from Ozekhome and Mr Rotimi Oyedepo for the EFCC, vacated the ex parte order and unfroze his account with Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), following which the EFCC filed an appeal before the Court of Appeal alleging miscarriage of justice by the lower court.