The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Tuesday refused the application of Ekiti State Gov. Mr Ayodele Fayose to vacate an order that allowed his property to be seized.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had obtained a court order through an ex- parte motion to seize about six properties owned by Fayose in Lagos and Abuja.
Trial judge, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, in a short ruling on the matter said that he would not vacate the order because it was duly procured.
“It is my considered opinion that the order of court made on June 20 on the properties of Gov. Ayodele Fayose was duly procured and does not contravene section 308 of the constitution.
“The claims made by counsel urging me to discharge the said order are very distinguishable on the facts of this case.
“One thing that must be stated is that while section 308 of the constitution is a special provision and serves a very noble purpose of isolating governors of states from the distraction of litigation, the provision cannot however, be interpreted in such a way as to defeat the fight against corruption.
“In the light of the above, I hereby refuse the relief sought by the applicant,” Dimgba said.
He, however, said that in the interest of justice and not to make a mockery of the immunity clause, the order would elapse after 45 days.
“I hold that the interim attachment order of July 20 granted by this court in favour of the respondent shall last for a period of 45 days within which the respondents must conclude its investigation in respect of those properties, at the end of which every encumbrance on those property shall immediately abate.”
According to him, in the event that the respondent may wish to renew the order as they are entitled to, they must serve a motion to that effect to the applicant not later than five days.
Counsel to Fayose, Mr Mike Ozekhome (SAN) had prayed the court to vacate the order saying that the seizure was an affront on the 1999 Constitution.
Ozekhome told the court that section 308 of the constitution gives Fayose immunity adding that the action of the EFCC was unconstitutional, incompetent and a gross abuse of court process.
He further said that the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain or grant the interim order made as there were no parties named.
Counsel to the EFCC, Akoja Akoja prayed the court to dismiss the application on the grounds that the EFCC had not contravened the law.
He said that the law allowed the agency 45 days within which to hold the properties while carrying out its investigation and so far it has not exceeded the required days.