By Alex Enumah in Abuja
Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, on Monday ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to unseal a property of immediate past Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, located in Maitama, Abuja.
Justice Taiwo who gave the order in a ruling on an exparte application filed by the former governor, held that the action of the Commission was illegal since it was not backed by law.
Yari, had last week prayed the court, to direct the EFCC to unseal his property located at Maitama, Abuja.
In an exparte application brought on his behalf by his Counsel, Mahmud Magaji, SAN, the ex- governor said the EFCC sealed the property contrary to the provision of the law.
Delivering ruling on the motion, Justice Taiwo held that the applicant had a constitutional right to bring such application before the court, since the respondent carried out the act of sealing applicant’s property without a court order.
Haven held that the EFCC cannot seal a property without an order of the court, Justice Taiwo accordingly ordered the anti-graft agency to remove the red paint on the property.
He also ordered the applicant to serve the originating motion on the EFCC within 48 hours.
However, Justice Taiwo said that he will not make any further order as it concerns its earlier order freezing the accounts of Yari.
According to him, the order freezing Yari’s accounts were made before the motion ex – parte was brought.
Justice Taiwo also refused a prayer seeking an order for parties to maintain status quo and adjourned further hearing till September 6.
Justice Taiwo had last week granted the ICPC’s request to freeze some funds in Yari’s Zenith and Polaris Bank accounts.
In arguing the motion exparte on August 16, Magaji SAN said that the application was to ensure that each government agencies operates within the confines of the law and urged the judge ”to invoke his power to direct the EFCC to go and remove the red inscription pasted in the house.”
He cited a previous case in which a court delivered judgment to the effect that the commission cannot seal a property without a court order.
He submitted that the application was supported by 11-paragraph affidavit and also supported by a written address dated August 16.
”We adopt same in urging your Lordship to grant our application as prayed,” he said.
Magaji also told the court that he was with a motion exparte dated August 15 and filed the same day, and brought in accordance with the provisions of the fundamental human rights.
“It is supported by a 17-paragraph affidavit. We also have affidavit of urgency with nine paragraphs.”
The counsel argued that in as much as the applicant did not intend to prevent any government agency from performing its function, due process of the law must be followed in carrying out such duty.
”We urge your Lordship to direct parties to maintain status quo pending the determination of the suit,” Magaji said.