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Yahaya Bello: Appeal Court dismisses contempt charge against EFCC, Olukoyede

THE Court of Appeal has dismissed the contempt proceedings initiated by former Governor of Kogi Stae Yahaya Bello against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and its Chairman, Ola Olukoyede.

The unanimous ruling was delivered by a judge of the court Joseph Oyewole on Thursday, June 13.

The court invalidated the proceedings and rejected the Respondent’s initial challenge due to technical issues.

The Court of Appeal noted that the trial judge failed to include the directives drafted in the orders dated February 9 into its conclusive ruling issued on April 17.

The Appeal Court held that the trial judge failed to extend the Orders of February 9 in its final Judgment of April 17.

He said the second issue presented by the former governor on the temporary order had become an academic exercise.

The Appellate Court had earlier granted an ex-parte motion for a stay of contempt proceedings filed against Olukoyede, by ex-governor Bello.

The Court granted the EFCC’s application to serve the processes in the appeal by substituted means on the former Governor.

The court consequently adjourned the hearing of the motion on notice to May 20.

The appellate court in its ruling on Thursday held that “a court of law cannot preclude the EFCC or any Law Enforcement Agency from investigating and prosecuting crime.

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“This is a fundamental jurisdictional point that cannot be shoved aside as it borders on the doctrine of separation of powers. The argument of the Respondent that no ground covers this point cannot stand given the instant circumstance.”

Besides, the Commission also challenged another order of the court restraining it from harassing, arresting or detaining Bello pending the determination of the substantive suit.

The appellate court on Thursday allowed the EFCC’s appeal and overruled Bello’s preliminary objection.

The ICIR reported that the EFCC Chairman had earlier been summoned to appear before the Kogi State High Court in May to show cause why he should not be arrested.

The court ordered Olukoyede to appear before it on May 13. 

The EFCC boss was charged with a contempt charge for carrying out “some acts upon which they (the EFCC) have been restrained” by the court on February 9, pending the determination of the substantive originating motion but he had appealed the ruling of the trial court and desired a stay of the proceedings of the court.

The Kogi State High Court based its ruling on the premise that the EFCC Chairman carried out “some acts upon which the EFCC have been restrained” by the Court on February 9, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive originating motion.

The judge of Kogi State High Court I. A. Jamil, in a ruling, had ordered that “the said act was carried out by the respondent (EFCC) in violation of the order, which was valid and subsisting when they carried out the act.

The ICIR reported that the Regional Director of the EFCC in Benin, Edo State, Effa Okim, has given reasons why the agency is yet to arrest former Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, months after declaring him wanted.




     

     

    He said the EFCC had been unable to arrest Bello due to the protection he is receiving from certain people.

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    Okim said this on Wednesday, June 12, at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Delta State Council while fielding questions from journalists on why the EFCC had yet to arrest Bello weeks after he was declared wanted.

    The EFCC had earlier declared Bello wanted over alleged N80.2 billion fraud.

    The anti-corruption agency revealed this on its verified Facebook handle on Thursday, April 18. 

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    Bankole Abe
    Reporter at ICIR | [email protected] | Author Page

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