The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has begged Justice Abdulaziz Anka of the Federal High Court in Lagos not to give Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) access to his account in Guaranty Trust Bank which has a balance of N75m.
The anti-graft agency claimed that the money, which was paid to Ozekhome as legal fee by the Governor of Ekiti State, Mr Ayodele Fayose, was part of the N2.26bn arms procurement fund, which a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), allegedly looted.
The EFCC claimed to have traced N1.22bn out of the N2.26bn Dasuki loot to Fayose. The anti-graft agency claimed that Dasuki routed the money to Fayose through a former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro.
The EFCC said this in a counter-affidavit it filed in opposition to an application by Ozekhome seeking the unfreezing of his account. Ozekhome’s GTB account, having a balance of N75m, had since February 7, 2017, been frozen by the EFCC on the order of Justice Anka.
But Ozekhome had approached the court stating that the EFCC misrepresented facts to obtain the freezing order and urged Justice Anka to lift the freezing order.
The SAN had contended that the action of the EFCC was unconstitutional, had no legal justification, and was a gross violation of sections 36, 37 and 41 of the 1999 Constitution.
In response, however, the EFCC, in a counter affidavit deposed to by one of its prosecutors, Idris Mohammed, lamented that though it had earlier secured an interim order from Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court in Lagos to freeze Fayose’s account, the governor, through Ozekhome, went before Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Ado Ekiti Division of the Federal High Court to obtain an order to unfreeze the account.
The EFCC prosecutor said despite the fact that Fayose was aware that it had immediately appealed Justice Taiwo’s ruling, the governor still went ahead to dissipate part of the contentious funds, paying a sum of N75m to Ozekhome who helped him to secure Justice Taiwo’s unfreezing order.
The EFCC said Ozekhome ought to have “reasonably known that the N75m was transferred to him” from Fayose’s account, which the EFCC claimed was used to retain proceeds of crime and alleged kickbacks from some contractors in Ekiti State.
The EFCC urged Justice Anka not to unfreeze Ozekhome’s account. Justice Anka adjourned the hearing.