Olakiitan Victor in Ado Ekiti
The Ekiti State High Court sitting in Ado Ekti on Tuesday refused the ex-parte motion brought by the State government to stop the anti-graft agencies from probing into the finances of Governor Ayodele Fayose’s government.
Defendants in the suit are 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 state government, represented by Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Owoseeni Ajayi and Ahmed Raji (SAN), had earlier filed the application, seeking to halt the impending probe of the state’s accounts by the EFCC and ICPC.
Another relief sought by the plaintiffs was an order stopping the arrest of the Commissioner for Finance, Accountant General of the state and the managers of the affected banks.
During the probe of some accounts belonging to Fayose in some banks allegedly containing the N1.299 billion emanating from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki to fund governor’s governorship election, the EFCC also accused Fayose of taking kickbacks from some contractors handling major projects in the state.
The anti-graft agency accused the governor of using the proceeds to purchase multi-million assets in Lagos and Abuja.
On that premise, the anti-graft agency wished to conduct
a comprehensive probe into the financial transactions of the Fayose’s government.
When the matter was mentioned on August 16, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice brought the ex parte motion , to restrain the anti-graft agencies from arresting and or detaining any accounting officer of the state for the purpose of carrying out the impending probe.
But during yesterday’s proceedings, the presiding judge, Justice Cornelius Akintayo blatantly turned down the application.
Justice Akintayo ordered the applicant to convert the ex parte motion to motion on notice and that all the parties in the matter should be served accordingly .
The judge averred that the conversion the ex-parte motion to motion on notice would give all the parties the opportunity to be heard in the matter, so that justice could be served.
However, when the plaintiff’s counsel insisted that the motion on notice had been served on all the parties as an alternative way of ensuring expeditious trial of the matter, the counsels to the respondents had sought for adjournment to be able to file their counter-affidavits appropriately.
Specifically, the ICPC’s lawyer contended that she has just been served the motion on notice and that she needed time to peruse the application to be able to file the reply accordingly.
Granting the application, Justice Akintayo adjourned the matter to August 29 for further hearing, saying the date falls within the seven days the constitution mandated the defendants to file their counter-affidavits.