On Monday, Justice Abdulazeez Anka of the Federal High Court in Lagos ordered Mr. Mike Ozekhome’s bank account with Guarantee Trust Bank to be unfrozen.
Justice Anka had on February 7, following an ex parte application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), ordered the temporary forfeiture of about N75million found in Ozekhome’s account.
According to the EFCC, the money found in his account was proceeds of crime paid to him by Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State. The anti-graft added that it was part of the $2.26billion arm procurement fund allegedly siphoned by the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd).
However, the judge in his ruling today said that although the money was paid to him by Governor Fayose, Mr. Ozekhome could not be held liable.
He added further that since there was no restriction on Fayose’s account before payment was made, Ozekhome could not be held liable.
Consequently, he ordered the unfreezing of Ozekhome account, noting that there were sufficient grounds to reject the request by the EFCC to freeze his account.
“There is no argument whatsoever as to the source of the funds as rightly argued by learned counsel for the EFCC, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo.
“The question is, can the respondent/applicant be liable for any infraction as at the time he received the amount in his account?
“His evidence was not controverted that the said proceeds were unencumbered as at the time they were transferred into the account of Mike Ozekhome Chambers, as rightly argued by Chief Mike Ozekhome.
“The Federal High Court sitting in Ado Ekiti, Coram Taiwo J, ordered the unfreezing of the said account belonging to Gov. Ayodele Fayose.
“In both the order and the depositions, the account was evidently and manifestly unfrozen, so such an argument, therefore, by Mr Oyedepo, Esq. cannot hold water.’’