The Abuja division of the Federal High Court has ordered that the former Governor of Edo State Adams Oshiomhole be served with court processes of an application, seeking an order of mandamus to compel the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to arrest and commence criminal proceedings against him over alleged financial fraud while Oshiomole was in office.
Justice Anwuli Chikere gave the order on Tuesday while ruling on the exparte application brought before the court by an anti-corruption crusader, Bishop Osadolor Ochei, who wants Oshiomole prosecuted for alleged diversion of state funds to personal use.
Justice Chikere, while ordering that the EFCC be also served with the same court process, stressed that the service be done within five days from October 9, 2018 when the order was made.
The ex-parte with Suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/628/ 2018, and filed by Dr West Idahosa on behalf of the plaintiff has Oshiomole and the EFCC as first and seconnd respondents respectively.
Dr Idahosa, in arguing the motion, however, urged the court to allow the respondents file their reply to the weighty allegations made against them by the applicant in support of the federal government’s anti-corruption fight.
Bishop Ochei had on October 28, 2016 petitioned the EFCC against Oshiomhole who was governor of Edo State from November 2008 to November 11, 2016.
Dr Idahosa, in praying the court to grant the request of his client, referred the court to 86 exhibits filed in support of the application and added that there are documents and electronic pictures of palatial houses of the former governor, whose earnings all his life cannot acquire and that there are evidence on how Oshiomhole allegedly diverted money for Edo State project to personal projects.
Ochei’s lawyer said that there are vouchers of exorbitant air fares that the former governor incurred, stressing that the amount of the air fares are enough to buy air carrier for the Edo State people.
Idahosa in addition said there are receipts of how the ex-governor used huge amount of states’ fund to repair his private vehicles and urged the court to grant the relief of his client, noting that EFCC has arrested and prosecuted lesser crimes and there is no reason why the anti-graft agency should ignore the petition.
The court however adjourned till 23rd October, 2018 for arguments from all the parties in the matter.
Ochei, in the motion, wants the court to declare that the anti-graft agency has the statutory duty to investigate and prosecute the former governor, upon his allegations against him in line with the Act establishing the commission.
The allegations border on the diversion of Edo State fund by the former governor, now the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to his personal use.
In an affidavit deposed to personally by the applicant, he averred that in view of the fact that corruption has become a societal ill which has eaten deep into the fabric of the society, there is the need for the EFCC to take complaints against corrupt practices serious.
He said he has severally complained to the EFCC about allegation of corrupt practices against Oshiomhole without eliciting any response or interest by the commission.
According to him, “On May 4, 2012, one Matthew Edaghese sent a petition to the EFCC, complaining that while serving as governor, Oshiomhole built mansions on a huge expanse of land worth more than N10 billion, in excess of the former governor’s legitimate means of income as governor.
”That EFCC did nothing about the petition.”
Ochei stated that he had in 2016 petitioned the anti-graft agency about Oshiomhole’s corrupt practices without any action by the EFCC.
He accused the former governor of corruptly enriching himself with the fund of the Edo State Government.