Olakiitan Victor in Ado Ekiti
The battle of wit between Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State and the federal government over the N1.299 billion allegedly used by the governor to fund his governorship campaign in 2014 seems to be assuming a new twist, as the state High Court sitting in Ado Ekiti has declined to grant an ex parte order sought by the governor to restrain the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from investigating the finances of the state.
Delivering his ruling, Justice Cornelius Akintayo refrained from granting the order on the grounds that all the defendants in the case should be put on notice to prepare for their defence at the court.
The judge consequently adjourned the suit to August 23 and ordered all parties in the suit to appear before him when the motion on notice would be heard.
The suit was filed by the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Owoseni Ajayi, to stop the impending investigation of the accounts of the state government by the EFCC.
Another relief sought by the plaintiffs was an order stopping the arrest of the Commissioner for Finance, Accountant General and the managers of the affected banks.
Defendants in the suit including the Speaker of the House of Assembly, EFCC, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Department of State Services (DSS), Commissioner for Finance, Accountant General and five banks doing business with state government and the managers of those banks.
The plaintiffs were represented by Ejelonu, a lawyer in the chambers of the Attorney General who held brief for Ahmed Raji (SAN) who argued the motion ex parte.
A senior lawyer, Kolade Ilesanmi, who came for another matter in the same court commended Justice Akintayo for rejection the motion to prevent the anti-grant agencies from investigating Ekiti government accounts.
Ilesanmi said: “Myself and another counsel, Abubakar Ajibade, who came for different matters stood up as friends of the court and commended the judge for the ruling.
“We also adverted the minds of the court to similar case before the Akwa Ibom High Court in which the judge granted a motion Exparte which has now landed him trouble with the National Judicial Council (NJC).
From the legal point of view, any matter involving federal institutions is usually heard by the Federal High Court save for the matters that border on fundamental rights enforcement in which both the Federal High Courts and State High Courts are seized with jurisdiction.