EFCC Appeals As Court Strikes Out Suit On Seizure Of Properties, N400m Linked To Gov Bello…

Written by on April 27, 2023

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has filed an appeal, challenging Wednesday’s ruling of the Federal High Court, Lagos which struck out its suit seeking the forfeiture of 14 properties and N400m linked to the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, citing his immunity from prosecution under the 1999 Constitution.

In the ruling, Justice Nicholas Oweibo struck out the suit on the ground that Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution prevents the institution of any criminal or civil case against a sitting governor or the president.

In its notice of appeal, filed by Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), the EFCC submitted that Justice Oweibo erred in law when he struck out the suit as the immunity conferred on the respondent against any civil or criminal proceedings during his incumbency as a Governor of Kogi State does not extend to properties reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime traced to him.

The EFCC also submitted that the court erred and occasioned a miscarriage of justice when it refused to bind itself with the decision of the Court of Appeal in EFCC V Fayose (2018) LPELR 44131 CA and the decision of the Supreme Court in Fawehinmi V IGP (2002)7 NWLR (PT767)606, on the proper interpretation of Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution.

The trial court was also said to have erred in law when it struck out a preservation order of properties reasonably suspected to have been derived from proceeds of unlawful activities notwithstanding its findings that Gov. Yahaya Bello failed to show the genuine origin of funds used to acquire the properties under the preservation order.

In moving the application which led to the interim forfeiture order, Oyedepo had stated that the properties, including “Hotel Apartment Community, Burj Khalifa lying, being and situate at, Plot 160 Municipality NO 345-7562, Sky View Building No 1, Property No 401, Floor 4, Dubai U.A.E”, were reasonably suspected to have been derived from unlawful activity.

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