One Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the federal high court sitting at Ado Ekiti State is reported to have ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to defreeze and return to Mr. Ayo Fayose, the governor of Ekiti State the sum of N300 million traced to the Zenith bank. Mr. Fayose had claimed that the money was part of the campaign fund donated to him by the management of Zenith bank. The cock and bull story of Mr. Fayose was vehemently denied by Zenith Bank. To corroborate the denial of the bank, the EFCC has revealed how the sum of N1.2 billion was taken to the Ado Ekiti branch of the zenith bank from the office of the National Security Adviser under the retired Col. Sambo Dasuki.
Since another federal high court presided over by Justice Mohammed Idris sitting in Lagos had authorized the freezing of the same account the order of Justice Taiwo Taiwo is illegal and ought to be ignored by the EFCC. In the course of the proceedings before him, it was disclosed to Justice Taiwo Taiwo that the N300 million was part of the N1.2 billion traced to Mr. Fayose from the Dasukigate. Apart from Mr. Musiliu Obanikoro who has admitted that he handed over, he said the sum of N1.2 billion to Mr. Fayose the criminal trial has commenced in respect of the stolen fund. Since Mr. Fayose currently enjoys immunity and cannot be arrested his agent, Mr. Abiodun Agbaje is now standing trial for keeping part of the loot. Why then was Justice Taiwo Taiwo in a hurry to transfer the proceed of crime to Mr. Fayose? Did he establish the legitimate ownership of the money?
With the facts of the Dasukigate which are within public knowledge, what was the basis of the order of Justice Taiwo Taiwo to the effect that part of the loot be returned to Mr. Fayose? Was it meant to destroy the evidence of the proceed of crime so as to exonerate Mr. Fayosr? Since Justice Taiwo Taiwo is not unaware of the illegality of his order, he has set out to destroy the evidence of Mr. Fayose’s criminality so that upon leaving office he cannot be tried. Unfortunately for Justice Taiwo Taiwo all the agents of Mr. Fayose including Abiodun Agbaje have implicated him. Mr. Obanikoro has also nailed him. In fact, the former minister has refunded part of his own share of the loot. Mr. Iyiola Omisore has equally made a refund of part of the N1.3 billion traced to him from the same illicit transaction.
Some human rights organizations have challenged Justice Taiwo Taiwo for converting his Court to a Court of Appeal over another federal high court which had ordered that the disputed account be frozen. Once again, the federal high court presided by two judges have given conflicting orders on the Fayose loot. Justice Idris had earlier ordered the freezing of the account. Justice Taiwo has now ordered that the same account be defrozen! Since the order of Justice Idris was tendered before Justice Taiwo Taiwo it is clear that he deliberately set out to ridicule the Nigerian judiciary which is currently enmeshed in corruption. The National Judicial Council should investigate the circumstances surrounding the issuance of the order of Justice Taiwo Taiwo .
Furthermore, Chief Mike Ozekhome SAN, the lawyer of Mr. Fayose should be asked to explain why he engaged in forum shopping by filing a fresh suit before Justice Taiwo Taiwo instead of taking steps to set aside the order of Justice Idris or appeal against it to the Court of Appeal. This lawyer should be disciplined for setting the two courts of coordinate jurisdiction against each order. The disgraceful conduct of Justice Taiwo Taiwo and Chief Mike Ozekhome SAN should be not be allowed to go unchallenged. We just cannot continue to expose the country’s judiciary to avoidable embarrassment for pecuniary interests.