Justice Abdulazeez Hanka of the Federal High Court, Lagos has upheld Chief Mike Ozekhome [SAN]’s suit in court challenging the freezing of his chamber’s Account.
Ruling, Justice Hank described EFCC’s act of freezing the account as diabolical and wondered what right EFCC has to freeze a lawyer’s professional fees.
What angered the judge the more was the fact that the said sum was paid from an account that was ordered defrozen by court, a fact EFCC could not controvert.
The controversial N75 million was paid by Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti state.
They formed part payment of his professional fees for 8 cases the lawyer is currently handling for the governor, his friends and aids.
The Court held that the action of the EFCC was illegal, unconstitutional and unorthodox, for freezing the lawyer’s Chambers account.
Justice Hanka held that he cannot sit on appeal over the judgement of justice Taiwo who defroze the account, nor over the proceedings of the Court of Appeal to which EFCC has since appealed.
He agreed with Ozekhome’s submissions who appeared for himself and dismissed the submissions of Mr Rotimi Oyedepo who appeared for the EFCC and held that all the authorities cited by Oyedepo were not applicable.
In vacating his earlier order obtained ex parte by the EFCC on 7th February, 2017, the judge held that a party against whom an ex parte order has been made is perfectly entitled to have the order vacated and that such does not amount to shielding his client from prosecution.
The court also held that there is evidence that the payment of the professional fees was not proceeds of crime or of money laundering.
The court, after reviewing all submissions and authorities cited therefore ordered the attached account defrozen and made operational immediately.
SAN Ozekhome praised the judge for exhibiting rare courage and upholding the rule of Law and the fundamental rights of Nigerian citizens, even in the face of clear intimidation of the judiciary and browbeating of judges.
He later lambasted the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption [PACAC].
He accusing it of serially misleading President Muhammad Buhari government through low quality anti-people advice.
The advice, he argued, has in turn led the government to take draconian and despotic actions against Nigerian citizen.