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Contempt: Court of Appeal grants EFCC’s stay of proceedings

The Court of Appeal in Abuja has granted an ex parte motion by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for a stay of proceedings…

The Court of Appeal in Abuja has granted an ex parte motion by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for a stay of proceedings of the contempt proceedings commenced by a former governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello against the commission’s chairman, Ola Olukoyede. 

The panel, presided by Justice Joseph O.K. Oyewole, on Friday directed the EFCC to serve the processes of the appeal on Bello by substituted means.

The appellate court fixed May 20 for the hearing of the motion on notice. 

Following the contempt proceedings before the Kogi State High Court in Lokoja, the EFCC chairman was summoned to appear before the court on May 13 to show cause why he should not be committed to prison for disobeying the orders of the court.

He then filed the appeal against the ruling of the court and sought a stay of the proceedings. 

The EFCC boss is facing a contempt charge for carrying out “some acts upon which they (the EFCC) have been restrained” by the court on February 9, 2024, pending the determination of the substantive originating motion. 

Justice I. A. Jamil, delivering a ruling in suit number: HCL/68M/2024 and motion number: HCL/190M/2024, ordered that “the said act was carried out by the respondent (EFCC) in violation of the order, which was valid and subsisting when they carried out the act. That same act of the respondent amounts to contempt.”

EFCC operatives had laid siege on the residence of the immediate past governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, as early as 8am on April 17, 2024, with a bid to arrest him despite a court order restraining them from taking such action, pending the determination of the originating motion. 

Justice Jamil’s order was based on a motion ex-parte filed by Yahaya Bello through his lawyer, M.S. Yusuf, where he prayed the court for an order to issue and serve the respondent (EFCC chairman) with Form 49 Notice to show cause why an order of committal should not be made on him.

 

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