The Federal High Court sitting in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State has ordered that Governor Ayodele Fayose’s accounts in Zenith Bank be de-frozen with immediate effect.
The accounts were frozen by the EFCC in June, this year.
In his judgment, Justice Taiwo Taiwo described the EFCC action as illegal, wrongful, unlawful and unconstitutional.
The judge said the EFCC action breached the governor’s fundamental rights to fair hearing, as the commission did not make him a party to the proceedings for the interim freezing of the account.
He said the EFCC suppressed facts by not disclosing to the court that granted the interim freezing order that the two accounts that were frozen belonged to the Governor who enjoys total constitutional immunity.
Justice Taiwo also said the EFCC did not provide any credible evidence empowering it to carry out the freezing of the accounts using Zenith Bank as a proxy, whereas, Zenith Bank is a mere custodian and not the owner of the accounts, which evidence has shown belong to the Governor.
The judge ruled that being a person covered fully by Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution, no legal proceedings can be instituted against Governor Fayose.
He also said any law including some sections of the EFCC acts like Sections 28, 31, and 44 that expropriate citizens rights must be construed strictly and usually in favour of citizens whose properties have been confiscated.
Governor Fayose’s Counsel, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), hailed the judgment, describing the judge as courageous and firm.
He said the judge by the judgement laid to rest all the abracadabra of the EFCC in illegally, wrongfully, unlawfully and unconstitutionally going about on a rampage freezing Nigeria citizens accounts with reckless abandon.
Ozekhome also said that Justice Taiwo further restored the hope of Nigerians in the judiciary as the last hope of the common man and woman and the guardian sentinel of the civil rights, liberties and freedoms of Nigerians.