Connect with us


Court strikes out EFCC’s suit of assets forfeiture against Gov Bello



Spread the love

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, on Wednesday nullified an interim order of forfeiture granted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), upon which the commission is seeking to confiscate 14 properties purportedly linked to Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State.

The presiding Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Nicholas Oweibo, in his judgement struck out the EFCC  suit, noting that Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution grants immunity to Governor Bello, and, accordingly, restrains the institution of any criminal or civil case against a sitting Governor or the President.

Justice Oweibo held that, given Section 308 of the Constitution, which provides immunity to a sitting governor from any civil/criminal prosecution, the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

The Judge, accordingly, struck out the suit for lack of jurisdiction.

Justice Nichola Oweibo had on February 22 granted temporary forfeiture order, in a judgment on an exparte motion filed by the EFCC seeking to forfeiture of 14 properties located in Lagos, Abuja and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), including N400 million recovered from one Aminu Falala.

The Court further ordered the  EFCC to make publications in two national dailies for any interested parties to show cause why the order should not be made absolute.

Counsel to Governor Bello, Abdulwahab Mohammed   SAN,      responded to the publications by filing a Notice of Intention to oppose, and an application seeking the vacation of the interim forfeiture order.

The Governor in his application, argued that the property listed were not proceeds of unlawful act, saying that they were acquired long before he became Governor of Kogi State. The Governor argued, therefore, that they could not have been acquired from Kogi State funds.

Mohammed also argued that by Section 308 of the Constitution, the EFCC is restrained from instituting any civil or criminal suit against Governor Bello.

He also protested the illegality in the filing of the suit by the EFCC on the ground that the case was in flagrant disobedience to a state high court order, which restrained the EFCC from investigating any account of the Kogi State Government pending the determination of the Motion on Notice.

He stated that the interim forfeiture order was obtained by either suppression or misrepresentation of facts by the Commission.

The Governor also said that the Proceeds of Crime Act could not take effect in retrospect as the properties in dispute were acquired before he became Kogi State Governor.

He said the validity of the Proceeds of Crime Act, 2022 was being challenged at the Supreme Court.


Regarding jurisdiction, the Governor stated that the properties listed were in Abuja, Kogi and UAE, and the personality involved is based in Lokoja, adding that the suit ought to have been instituted either in Abuja or in Kogi State. He, therefore, asked the court to vacate the case for lack of jurisdiction.

In his response, the EFCCs lawyer, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Rotimi Oyedepo said that the applicant had brought nothing before the court to convince the court to vacate the order.

He said, contrary to the submissions of the Applicant, the Kogi State High Court or any other court in Nigeria had not stopped the EFCC from carrying out its constitutional duties.

Channels TV

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.