Court Freezes Mike Ozekhome’s Account Over Allegations Of Money Laundering

Mike Ozekhome SAN

Justice Abdulaziz Anka of the Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday ordered the temporary forfeiture of the sum of N75 million discovered in the bank account of human rights lawyer, Mike Ozekhome (SAN) by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The judge gave the order that the money in his found in Ozekhome’s account domiciled with Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) be frozen after listening to Motion Ex-parte filed by the EFCC.

The anti-graft agency had in the application filed by its counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, claimed that the sum of N75 million deposited in his account on December 15, 2016, was suspected to be a proceed of crime.

While arguing the application, the lawyer who represented the EFCC in court on Tuesday, Idris Abdulahi informed the court that the application was brought before the court under section 29 of EFCC Act.

Idris further informed the court that three exhibits marked Exhibit 01, 02 and 03 were attached to the motion in addition to an affidavit of urgency sworn to by an investigator of the agency, Tosin Owobo.

The lawyer then urged the court to grant the application by ordering temporary forfeiture of the account for 120 days.

In a short ruling, Justice Anka ordered that Ozekhome’s account with the sum of  N75 million be forfeited for 120 day.

The judge however ordered that any party that is not satisfied with the ruling can appeal.

A source at the EFCC told leadership that that the commission filed the exparte application after it discovered that the N75 million was allegedly transferred into Ozekhome’s account by the Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose from his Zenith Bank account which was frozen by the EFCC in June last year.

The commission had frozen Fayose’s accounts after allegedly tracing N4.7bn from the office of the National Security Adviser to the accounts.

It will be recalled that Justice Taiwo Taiwo of Federal High Court in Ado Ekiti on December 13, 2016 ordered that Governor Fayose’s accounts in Zenith Bank be defrozen with immediate effect.

Justice Taiwo had described the EFCC action as illegal, wrongful, unlawful and unconstitutional.

The judge said the EFCC’s action breached the governor’s fundamental rights to fair hearing, as the commission did not make him a party to the proceedings for the interim freezing of the account.

According to our source, who don’t want his name mentioned because he was not authorised to speak on the matter, after the judgment the governor began to transfer out the money from the account into other accounts including that of Ozekhome.

Our source also alleged when the anti-graft agency discovered the plot it decided to approach the court to secure an order to temporary freeze the lawyer’s account to prevent the disappearance of the money.

According to the source, the commission need the order to give it time to conclude its investigation.

But in a telephone conversation with Leadership, Ozekhome maintained that the money was part payment of his professional fees for matters which he is handling for Governor Fayose.

Source:Leadership


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