Reprieve came the way of the Peace Corps of Nigeria on Tuesday as Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja ordered banks to un-freeze the 24 accounts of the organisation, which were previously frozen at the instance of the Police though an ex parte order it secured on June 23, 2017.
Disturbed by the order freezing the organisation’s order, its counsel, John Ojogu filed a motion on notice on July 5, 2017, praying the court to vacate its post-no-debit order freezing 24 accounts belonging to the Peace Corps in various courts.
Delivering ruling on the organisation’s motion on notice, the court relied on the sole issue formulated by counsel, to the complainant/respondent (Police), James Idachaba, which is, “Whether the ex parte order made by the court on June 23, 2017 is not liable to be discharged or vacated by the court”.
Justice Tsoho described the submissions of counsel to police, Idachaba in urging the court to dismiss the application of the Peace Corps as “Great effort without effect” and also held that the motion ex parte dated June 13, 2017 was filed in bad fate and amounted to a gross abuse of court process.
According to Justice Tsoho, the Police did not controvert the affidavit evidence of the Peace Corps that facts were suppressed and issues misrepresented by the Police to obtain the ex parte order.
The trial Judge held that the Police suppressed facts and misrepresented issues before securing the ex parte order, adding that the affidavit in support of the motion ex parte was deposed to by one Sergeant Philip Tumba from the CIIB, FCT Police Command, whereas the charge against the Peace Corps was filed by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation.
The court further stated that counsel to the Police failed to show in his affidavit in support of the motion ex parte how the AGF authorised him to act on his behalf.
“This inconsistent posturing of the Police adversely affected the validity of the ex parte order granted by this court on June 23, 2017, Justice Tsoho said.
The court agreed with the submissions of counsel to Peace Corps that an “interim order” must be short.
“I therefore hold that if the Police desired anything more, it should not have come to this court by way of motion ex parte but through motion on notice seeking an injunction, Justice Tsoho said and added, “that in view of this, “The interim order made by this court on June 23, 2017 has been discharged; the order is set aside. Prayers one and two of the defendant/ applicant are hereby granted”.
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