Workshop stalls EFCC vs. Yahaya Bello case

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A two-day workshop for the Review of the 2023 Election Petition Tribunal/Court and Appeals held on Monday in Abuja, stalled the hearing of an ex-parte motion for a stay of proceedings, filed by the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr Ola Olukayode.

Olukayode, through his team of lawyers, led by Jibrin Okutepa, had filed a stay of execution at the Court of Appeal, Abuja division, against the contempt charges filed by the immediate past Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello against the EFCC chairman.

 

Bello had filed a contempt charge, at a Kogi State High Court, before Justice Isa Jamil, against Olukayode, for carrying out “some acts upon which the EFCC have been restrained” by the state high court on February 9, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive originating motion.

 

Justice Jamil, delivering a ruling on a fundamental human rights suit filed by Bello, restrained the EFCC from arresting, detaining and prosecuting the former governor.

Justice Jamil, in a ruling in Suit No: HCL/68M/2024 and Motion No: HCL/190M/2024, held that “the said act was carried out by the respondent in violation of the order, which is valid and subsisting when they carried out the act.”

 

The judge held that the EFCC’s act amounted to contempt, having laid siege on the residence of the former governor, as early as 8 am on April 17, with a bid to arrest him despite a court order restraining them from taking such action, pending the determination of the originating motion.

 

Justice Jamil’s order was based on a motion ex-parte filed by Bello, through his lawyer, M.S. Yusuf, where he prayed the court for an order to issue and serve the respondent (EFCC chairman) with Form 49 Notice to show cause why order of committal should not be made on him.

The appellate court, however on May 3, granted an ex-parte motion for stay of contempt proceedings filed by the EFCC.

Olukayode, who was summoned to appear before the state High court on May 13, to show cause why he should not be committed to prison for disobeying court orders, appealed the ruling of the lower court at the appellate court and sought a stay of the proceedings of the court.

 

A three-member panel of Justices of the appellate court, led by Joseph Oyewole, on May 3, granted EFCC’s application to serve the processes in the appeal by substituted means on the former governor.

 

The court consequently adjourned the hearing of the motion on notice to May 20.

 

Some lawyers and litigants, who came to the court on Monday at about 9 am, were told by the registrar that there would be no sitting.

 

“We are holding a workshop, where our judges are in attendance. Therefore, there’s no sitting today.

 

“The next adjourned date will be communicated to counsel to the parties for all cases scheduled for today.

“We are sorry for the inconveniences this might have caused,” the registrar said.

 

In April, EFCC declared Bello wanted for offences relating to economic and financial crimes.

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