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Court unfreezes Mike Ozekhome’s GTBank Account
Mike Ozekhome, SAN

Court unfreezes Mike Ozekhome’s GTBank Account

Justice Abdulazeez Anza of a Federal high Court in Lagos yesterday lifted the order  barring a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Mike Ozekhome, from accessing his Guaranty Trust Bank with the sum of N75 million.

The court had on February 7, 2017 issued an interim order stopping Ozekhome from dissipating the said N75 million on the grounds that it formed part of proceeds of alleged crime.

The EFCC claimed that the N75 million which Governor Ayodele  Fayose paid to Ozekhome was part of the N2.26bn arms procurement funds which a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd.), allegedly looted.

In a ruling on the matter yesterday, Justice Anka granted Ozekhome’s prayer and dismissed the counter-affidavit filed by the EFCC.

Delivering his ruling on Monday, Justice Anka vacated the interim freeze order, and dismissed the opposing counter-affidavit of the EFCC. The judge said that although it was not in doubt that the said sum of money emanated from the Ekiti State Gov., Mr Ayodele Fayose, Ozekhome could not be held liable.
According to him, this was because there was no restriction on the said governor’s account before payment was made to the law firm of Ozekhome. Anka said that the freeze order earlier obtained by the EFCC in respect of Fayose’s account had been vacated by Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Ado Ekiti Division of the court. The judge said that he would not be lured into sitting on appeal over counter-decisions of Justice Mohammed Idris, who ordered the freezing of Fayose’s account, and those of Justice Taiwo Taiwo, who later unfroze the account.
He held, “There is no argument whatsoever as to the source of the funds as rightly argued by learned counsel for the EFCC, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo. “The question is, can the respondent/applicant be liable for any infraction as at the time he received the amount in his account? “His evidence was not controverted that the said proceeds were unencumbered as at the time they were transferred into the account of Mike Ozekhome Chambers, as rightly argued by Chief Mike Ozekhome.
“The Federal High Court sitting in Ado Ekiti, Coram Taiwo J, ordered the unfreezing of the said account belonging to Gov. Ayodele Fayose. “In both the order and the depositions, the account was evidently and manifestly unfrozen, so such an argument, therefore, by Mr Oyedepo, Esq. cannot hold water.’’ The judge consequently held that sufficient grounds exist to reject the counter affidavit by the EFCC. He said that considering the fact that the source of the fund of the respondent/applicant was derived from an unencumbered account, since the said governor’s account had been unfrozen, the contention of the EFCC could not suffice.
The court accordingly vacated the freeze order. In his application, Ozekhome had argued that the application for an interim freezing of his account was done in bad faith by the EFCC, which he said did not comply with statutory authorities in obtaining same by a motion ex parte. According to him, the respondent allegedly suppressed material facts in obtaining the order, which therefore, rendered the action unconstitutional, as same offends Sections 36, 37 and 41 of the 1999 Constitution.

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